Atlanta Green ReEntry Graduation

Earlier this year, five returning citizens in Atlanta joined Green ReEntry, an intensive, 12-week training and education course in plumbing and project management offered by Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN). Green ReEntry offers support to formerly incarcerated individuals facing barriers to employment, and has been a cornerstone of IMAN’s work since the organization’s inception 20 years ago.

Green ReEntry manager and master plumber, Jermaine Shareef, was teacher and mentor to these five hard-working men. Four of the five completed the program. Tariq Baiyina, Qawi Clark Gerald, Malik Bradley Brantley, and Karim Andrew Vance all disprove the stigmas and stereotypes that are hurtfully attached to the formerly incarcerated. Mr. Tariq Abdullah, a community leader and the CEO of Tarchitects LLC, led seminars on project management, during which the Green ReEntry crew directly applied their newly acquired knowledge and skills to create IMAN Atlanta’s new program office located at 1007 Cascade Ave SW.

On Sunday, May 21, 2017 with a full audience, the crew successfully graduated from the Green ReEntry program and proved that they are greater than what our current criminal justice climate may have us believe. They are committed leaders and inspiring role models dedicated to transforming neglected neighborhoods into flourishing communities wherein our youth can feel safe and supported. The crew is dedicated to fostering the loving environments that were denied to them.

Family, friends, and fellow community members joined in the special graduation ceremony. IMAN Atlanta Director, Imam Mansoor Sabree, and Advisory Committee Chair, Sameera Fazili, attested to the power and strength of these extraordinary men, and the tremendous potential of Green ReEntry to push the criminal justice reform movement forward.

Other special guests in attendance were Dr. Rami Nashashibi, IMAN Executive Director , Alia Bilal, IMAN Director of Community Relations, and Mama Sol, a spoken word artist and activist from Atlanta, who elevated the spirit of #FightFearBuildPower through her poetry performances .

To learn more about IMAN Atlanta; please visit imancentral.org and ‘like’ IMAN Atlanta on Facebook to stay connected and support future Green ReEntry programs and activities.

Trump’s Forgotten Muslims & Terror–Fighting Back

While many across the US were celebrating the legacy of Malcolm X, President Trump’s speech in Saudi Arabia ironically—or conveniently—omitted the historic and dynamic role of Muslims in America. The effects of this omission were exacerbated by the recent horrific attacks in Manchester, London, and other cities carried out by violent extremists determined to perpetuate the false perception that Muslims are agents of terror and barbarity.

I continue to believe that neither a mere condemnation of these acts, nor publicly aligning ourselves with President Trump’s message to Muslim-majority countries, would do much in the way of fighting back against those who pervert our faith and seek to manipulate fear and hate against Muslim communities. Instead, I believe with great conviction that the type of work we are blessed to do at IMAN matters more now than it ever has.

This work commits itself to making a real difference on the ground in some of the hardest hit neighborhoods in Chicago and now Atlanta. This work seeks to operate in alignment and alliance with diverse communities to creatively re-imagine our communities, city and world as they could be. This work is, in every way possible, antithetical to the acts of terror that deranged individuals associate with our faith.

As IMAN celebrates its 20th year, I couldn’t be more inspired by the work that our dynamic team of leaders and staff are driving everyday. This Ramadan, IMAN publicly launched an exciting $1,000,000 Ramadan Drive. We thank our supporters of all backgrounds across the country and the globe. We ask you to keep this work in your prayers, and help us to meet and exceed our aspirations via your generous zakat-eligible and tax-deductible donations.

At a time when divisive conversations about Muslims, Islam and terror continue to circulate worldwide, I hope you believe as deeply as I do that supporting this type of work is one of the most powerful ways to push back against the pervasive forces of hate, terror and despair.

IMAN Atlanta’s Green ReEntry: A Bold Intervention

Early this year, five of Atlanta’s returning citizens joined Green ReEntry, an intensive, 12-week training and education course in plumbing and project management offered by Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN) in Atlanta. Green ReEntry offers support to formerly incarcerated individuals facing barriers to employment, and has been a cornerstone of IMAN’s work since the organization’s inception 20 years ago.

Green ReEntry manager and master plumber, Jermaine Shareef, was teacher and mentor to these five hard-working men. Four of the five completed the program. Tariq Baiyina, Qawi Clark Gerald, Malik Bradley Brantley, and Karim Andrew Vance all disprove the stigmas and stereotypes that are hurtfully attached to the formerly incarcerated. Mr. Tariq Abdullah, a community leader and the CEO of Tarchitects LLC, led seminars on project management, during which the Green ReEntry crew directly applied their newly acquired knowledge and skills to create IMAN Atlanta’s new program office located at 1007 Cascade Ave SW.

On Sunday, May 21, 2017 with a full audience, the crew successfully graduated from the Green ReEntry program and proved that they are greater than what our current criminal justice climate have us believe. They are committed leaders and inspiring role models dedicated to transforming neglected neighborhoods into flourishing communities our youth can feel safe and supported. The crew is dedicated to fostering the loving environments that were denied to them.

Family, friends, and fellow community members joined in the special graduation ceremony. IMAN Atlanta Director, Imam Mansoor Sabree, and Advisory Committee Chair, Sameera Fazili, attested to the power and strength of these extraordinary men, and the tremendous potential of Green ReEntry to push criminal justice reform movement forward.

Other special guests in attendance were Dr. Rami Nashashibi, IMAN Executive Director , Alia Bilal, IMAN Director of Community Relations, and Mama Sol, a spoken word artist and activist from Atlanta, who elevated the spirit of #FightFearBuildPower through her poetry performances.

To learn more about IMAN Atlanta; please visit imancentral.org and ‘like’ IMAN Atlanta on Facebook to stay connected and support future Green ReEntry programs and activities.

Staff, Leaders Further MLK’s Legacy Across Chicagoland

While Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life may have been tragically and violently taken on April 4th, this date has transformed into a revitalizing annual call for reflection on and deepened engagement with King’s legacy. IMAN staff and organizers spent the day playing key roles in several events across the city, responding to the call for building a truly beloved community by helping bridge various communities with a common desire for justice.

Several senior staff members attended a daylong Truth, Racial Healing, and Reconciliation session sponsored by the Kellogg Foundation. Alongside faith leaders, fellow organizers and influential members of the local philanthropic community, IMAN representatives lifted up the struggles and triumphs of those most directly affected by today’s most urgent socio-political challenges. Longtime partner Chicago Theological Seminary hosted the seminar, which concluded with a stirring artistic performance by poet and songwriter Avery R. Young.

Marquette Park’s MLK Living Memorial was the site of a powerful gathering sponsored by Hip-Hop DetoxX, an arts-centered youth empowerment organization spearheaded by Chicago music mainstay Enoch Muhammad. Dubbed “The Apology”, the event brought IMAN staff together with many residents who’d never before visited the MLK Living Memorial. This ceremonial remembrance opened up a unique intergenerational space for local elders to encourage young leaders to continue to strive for healthier community life.

Finally, that evening IMAN organizers and artists joined a diverse crowd of over 500 Chicagoans for the Resist, Reimagine, Rebuild teach-in. Youth leader Selma Dee and longtime IMAN arts contributor Tasleem Jamilah kicked off the event with extraordinary vocals, and organizations across the spectrum of social justice efforts set the stage for a truly special gathering. As part of the #FightFearBuildPower campaign, our organizers continued bolstering key alliances in the city as a means of mutually strengthening one another’s respective efforts.