Organizers Focus on Local ‘Food Ecosystem’

IMAN continues to #FightFearBuildPower with several critical initiatives related to our Food Ecosystem work. Organizers and leaders have called on communities to “fight back with food” through our Corner Store Campaign, Fresh Beats and Eats Farmers Market and Backyard Garden. Food plays a critical role in our collective health and wellness, and IMAN is doubling down on both its support of existing food providers, as well as opening up additional outlets for residents to access nutritious goods.

Following a successful Refresh the Hood series during Ramadan, Corner Store Campaign organizers and leaders have advanced their outreach into new stores while deepening relationships with those already in IMAN’s network.

Fresh Beats & Eats Farmers Market returned in July, opening up a weekly space for residents to enjoy locally grown, organic produce, inspiring artistic expression and relaxing gatherings with their neighbors for the fourth consecutive year. Led by new Food Ecosystems Coordinator Eric Rodriguez, the market has added new features like a petting zoo and regular giveaways of groceries and personal care products. Fresh Beats & Eats will run through October 27, rain or shine.

Tucked in the back of one of IMAN’s properties, the Backyard Garden is flourishing. Managed by longtime leader Olisaemeka Okakpu, the garden has served as an outdoor classroom and source of fresh produce for other Food Ecosystems leaders interested in the art of urban farming. Several harvests from the garden have been delivered to the Fresh Beats & Eats Farmers Market to be distributed as samples. A local chef also conducted a live cooking demonstration with vegetables grown in the Backyard Garden, showing market-goers that they too can own their food “from seed to plate”.

There are many ways to support IMAN’s Food Ecosystems work, like purchasing local foods from Fresh Beats & Eats Farmers Market, or engaging one of our partner corner stores. To get involved as an organizer or leader, contact Corner Store Campaign Manager Sara Hamdan or Food Ecosystems Coordinator Eric Rodriguez.

Off the List, On the Love

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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 index lists; and on criminal lists and 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.

The blessed month of Ramadan is upon us, and in it, we are called to deepen our consciousness of The Divine and strengthen our bonds of mutual love. A Prophetic tradition challenges us to attain true faith by loving for our community that which we love for ourselves.

This month, we will be attempting to raise $1,500,000 during our ‘Off the List, On the Love’: 2018 Ramadan Fundraising Drive. These funds are absolutely vital to our ability to get our sisters and brothers off of lists that strip them of dignity and agency, and onto a path defined by love, opportunity and a shared vision of what our world could look like.

As always, you have a crucial role to play in this. We ask that you continue to keep IMAN’s efforts in your thoughts and prayers and that you donate generously to help us meet and exceed our goal. All contributions are zakat-eligible and tax-deductible, and can be made via check, stock, cash, or online at our website.

We pray that your support this month lists you among those who have earned the ultimate pleasure and mercy of The Most High.

Police Accountability Community Discussion Schedule

We urge you to attend these discussions, show the aldermen in attendance your support for the GAPA ordinance, and reject the ineffective ordinances introduced by the city!

Tues, May 15 – Corliss High School, 6:30pm-8pm
Sat, May 19 – Back of the Yards High School, 11:30am-1pm
Tues, May 29 – George Westinghouse College Prep, 6:30pm-8pm
Thurs, May 30 – Wilbur Wright College, 6:30pm-8pm
Tues, June 5 – Amundsen High School, 6:30pm-8pm

Please let us know which of the discussions you plan to attend. Contact Organizer Nasir Blackwell, nasir@imancentral.org for more information.

Path to Restoration Bill Pushes Ahead

On April 11, dozens of IMAN leaders and Green ReEntry brothers traveled to Springfield in a demonstration of solidarity and advocacy for issues that are impacting our communities.

The group joined hundreds at the State Capitol for 2018 Illinois Muslim Action Day, organized by the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago (CIOGC), to meet with legislators and discuss the Path to Restoration Bill (SB 3489), among other policies and Illinois legislation.

Organizing leaders and Green ReEntry brothers talked with state senators while advocating for criminal justice reform including the Path to Restoration Bill, which proposes several amendments promoting transparency within the Illinois registry system tracking individuals convicted of violent crimes against minors. The bill passed out of the Criminal Law Committee 7-2 on April 10th, the evening before the Action Day.

The momentum from the passage of the bill continued through negotiations with the State’s Attorney’s office, whose full support was needed in order to help move the bill along. After gaining the much needed support of the State’s Attorney’s Office and the Department of State Police, Staff Attorney Aaron Siebert-Llera returned to Springfield to testify again in front of the Criminal Law Committee where SB 3489 passed out of the committee 9-0. The bill has since passed out of the Illinois Senate 50-0 and moved to the House during the last week of April.

State Representative Will Guzzardi (D-Chicago), who is the primary House Sponsor, completed the first reading and the bill has been assigned to the Rules Committee. The Path to Restoration now must make it out of committee and through two additional readings before being voted on by the full House. The hard work of our organizers and leaders coming to the table has produced satisfactory amendments, making SB 3489 a viable bill and one that has the support of Democrats and Republicans. Passage of the Path to Restoration bill is one of the first steps in our long range vision of broader criminal justice reform and an exciting component of our quickly increasing legal work here at IMAN.