IMAN Deepens Its Bench with Talented Staff Additions

Cultivating a “deep bench” of up and coming leaders is among IMAN’s most impressive, and indeed necessary, accomplishments over the last 20 years. With a growing office in Atlanta and several staff members joining the team in Chicago, IMAN is primed to continue asserting itself as a nationally relevant model–one that many of you have helped to build.

IMAN has added qualified, holistically minded professionals to its Health Center staff, positioning the department for greater expansion after earning FQHC Lookalike status. Director of Health Center Operations Sean Burke and interim Medical Director Muna Odeh have stepped into their leadership roles during this critical moment in the Center’s growth. At the grassroots level, new “Health Navigators” have circulated throughout the community, registering residents for Medicare and educating them about healthcare access.

As Green ReEntry continues to flourish, several talented instructors have come onboard to share their occupational knowledge and inspirational stories with their students in both Chicago and Atlanta’s cohorts. Curriculum and Job Development has also been formally added as a division of the program, deepening the engagement with cohort members as they transition into the workforce.

IMAN has bolstered its operations with additions to its Communications, Finance and Development departments as well, ensuring that all of IMAN’s initiatives have the infrastructure they need to thrive. Such growth would not be possible without the continued support of the individuals, families and organizations around the country who believe in IMAN’s mission. If you or someone you know is interested in joining IMAN’s growing staff family, check out our current openings here.

‘Off The List, On The Love’ This Ramadan

Too many of our beloved sisters and brothers find themselves on all the wrong lists: on waiting lists to access desperately needed housing, mental health services and employment opportunities; on poverty and hunger indices; and on criminal registries that perpetually punish individuals, families and entire neighborhoods. These lists contribute to our lack of racial and social equity, and are ultimately rooted in a lack of love.

During the blessed month of Ramadan, IMAN embraced the theme “Off The List, On The Love”, strengthening bonds of mutual love throughout our community. Organizers, artists and leaders hosted regular Refresh the Hood engagements at local corner stores, where they promoted healthy living with cooking demonstrations and artistic expression. NowThis Media captured the excitement in a widely viewed online news segment. On Wednesday evenings, dozens of individuals and families gathered to break their fasts and engage one another through Ramadan Reflections sessions.

Both Chicago and Atlanta hosted widely attended Community Iftars, during which hundreds of community members enjoyed healthy dinner, opportunities to deepen relationships with neighbors, and night prayer under the stars. Dr. Sherman Jackson delivered a special keynote talk during a private IMAN fundraising event hosted by an Atlanta Advisory Board Member. Two young men from Chicago’s Green ReEntry cohort were on hand to hear Dr. Jackson’s remarks, and share their stories with him and other guests.

With your prayers and generosity, we were able to raise over 70% of our Ramadan Fundraising Drive goal. As we continue to raise these critical funds necessary for the growth and success of our work, we encourage you to contribute to the ongoing drive. Click here to make your zakat-eligible, tax-deductible donation.

IMAN Artist Kelly Crosby Wages Beauty

During the last week of Ramadan, IMAN Roster Artist and Sacred Cypher Creative, Kelly Crosby brought her concept of “Waging Beauty” to life during her artist residency. Kelly’s residency—the first at IMAN focused on visual arts—hosted a workshop during IMAN’s Refresh The Hood engagement at our social enterprise initiative in Englewood. Community members, who often have limited access to opportunities for formal artistic expression, worked intimately with Kelly to create art on reusable grocery bags.

Later that evening, Kelly held a sneaker art workshop at the Hip Hop Theater Festival in partnership with Kuumba Lynx. One participant, an aspiring fashion designer, stated that she had never had an opportunity like this, and that it inspired her to explore other creative forms of expression.

Kelly’s residency also engaged IMAN leaders during an intergenerational “Paint ‘N’ Iftar” gathering that included glazing ceramics and a discussion on bringing beauty to neglected public spaces, and also engaged staff during a Group Art Technique training focused on helping participants infuse artistic expression into their work.

Kelly was invited to share sentiments about Waging Beauty and her Sacred Cypher Creative journey during an interview with Radio Islam. She concluded her residency at IMAN’s Annual Community Iftar, where she shared her creative process during a live art demonstration in front of hundreds of guests.

“My personal artistic motto is taken from the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). ‘Allah is beautiful and loves beauty.’ So, I consider myself a beauty maker. Beauty is necessary to fight those committed to the ugly states of injustice, oppression and despair. I call my work ‘Waging Beauty’ for these reasons.” – Kelly Crosby

IMAN, The Warriors & A Deep Bench

When I left Chicago six years ago and moved to Oakland to serve as General Counsel and Vice President for the Golden State Warriors, I never imagined that we’d win three NBA championships in such a short amount of time.

Beyond good fortune and some extraordinary players, that success is a testament to our team’s deep bench – an effort that I’ve been blessed to be a part of over the years. “Strength in Numbers” is more than just our slogan, it is a mindset that is central to our success both on and off the court.

When I first got involved with IMAN as a hip-hop artist in 2003, few would have predicted that 15 years later it would grow into one of the most dynamic American-Muslim led grassroots organizations of its kind. Cultivating a “deep bench” of up and coming leaders is among the most impressive, and indeed necessary, accomplishments of the IMAN model over the last 20 years. With a chapter in Atlanta and collaborations across the country, IMAN is now celebrated as a nationally relevant model – one that many of us have helped to build and one whose accomplishments we should all take pride in.

If you’ve been reading the powerful emails from IMAN over Ramadan and keeping up with the ongoing challenges in our urban centers like Chicago and Atlanta, you know that IMAN’s work and reach must continue to grow and deepen to fully reach both the urgent need and its dynamic potential. Supporting their ‘Off the List, On the Love’ Ramadan Fundraising Drive is the perfect way to do that.

David Kelly
General Counsel and VP, Basketball Management & Strategy
Golden State Warriors