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.
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
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.
General Counsel and VP, Basketball Management & Strategy
Golden State Warriors
There is a certain type of love at IMAN. We can feel it among the young men in Green ReEntry who genuinely understand that our case workers, instructors and counselors desire nothing from them other than their utmost success. We can feel it among families who, when visiting our health center, experience the care, concern and compassion that they would only receive in the living rooms of their closest care takers. We can feel it in the passion of the leaders who build and drive IMAN campaigns addressing food deserts and mass incarceration.
And we’ve undoubtedly felt your love. As support from hundreds of individuals and families across the country has poured in during this year’s Ramadan Drive, your contributions have helped us get more people on that powerful, transformative and prophetic love that we all hunger and thirst for.
We are enormously grateful for the ongoing generosity of a family that has continuously stepped up to double your love. In these last ten days of Ramadan, they will match your donations, dollar for dollar. Please donate generously to help us reach and exceed IMAN’s ‘Off The List, On The Love’ Ramadan Drive goal.
During this sacred month, we’ve shared with you the vulnerabilities of so many of our people—those placed on waiting lists for desperately needed services, on poverty indices that strip them of their dignity and on arbitrary registries that perpetually criminalize them. We’ve shared with you our vision for getting people “off the lists and on the love,” and our commitment is to continue fighting until no one is left on lists that shouldn’t exist.