As IMAN prepares for this weekend’s annual United Congress of Community and Religious Organizations (UCCRO) convention, we reflect on the power of this decade-old alliance that was established to unite communities of color, organize and advocate for a grassroots human rights agenda. From the beginning, UCCRO sought to connect the stories of collective experiences, and from the beginning the stories of our First Nations brothers and sisters played a critical role in that effort.
Earlier this year, LaDonna Brave Bull Allard and other members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe began organizing to halt the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), which would pump 570,000 barrels of crude oil per day from North Dakota all the way to Illinois. If built, DAPL would cut through land held sacred by the Standing Rock Sioux and risk contaminating the drinking water of the tribe and other communities along the pipeline. The #NoDAPL movement has inspired solidarity in the hearts of millions across the world who support the Standing Rock Sioux as they safeguard their ancestral land.
IMAN stands in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux and all communities asserting themselves through organizing and alliance-building to address systemic racial and environmental injustices.
Today, on Indigenous Peoples Day, we pause to reflect and honor the histories of native communities across North America. As we continue to support the #NoDAPL movement, we also encourage you to support in the following ways:
Share information about #NoDAPL with your networks
Click here to connect and get involved with IMAN’s grassroots organizing efforts
Support MuslimARC’s campaign to raise funds for the Standing Rock Sioux
In April, we publicly debuted IMAN-Atlanta at a venue within walking distance of one the most hard-hit urban neighborhoods in America, referred to locally as “Tha Bluff.” Several years ago this community received national notoriety through an independent reality-drama film titled “Snow on tha Bluff.” Yet, beyond that brief moment of media attention, Tha Bluff resembles so many inner-city urban neighborhoods across the US that continue to languish in disinvestment.
“The fact that neighborhoods such as ‘Tha Bluff’ even exist in the United States at all in 2016 would shock many Americans who, because of ignorance or convenience, have never confronted this reality,” said Imam Mansoor Sabree, IMAN’s full-time Atlanta Regional Organizing Director and former Imam of the Atlanta Masjid. “The prayer and hope is that the growth of IMAN in Atlanta can make a difference through our organizing and programmatic initiatives in the lives of families trapped in this reality.”
During these final, precious days of Ramadan, we are asking you to help us reach and exceed our 2016 Ramadan Drive goal by making your zakat-eligible, tax-deductible donation today.
IMAN deepened its relationship with members of the Congressional Black Caucus this past month through several engagements with US Congresswoman Robin Kelly (D-IL 2nd District) and others. Executive Director Rami Nashashibi was invited to a Congressional Dinner hosted by Rep. Kelly, where he shared IMAN’s work and vision with legislators from across the country. The following morning, Nashashibi stood with Rep. Kelly at a major press conference during which she outlined her crucial “Urban Progress” initiative to combat increasing gun violence plaguing urban centers throughout the nation. IMAN was specifically mentioned as a model for holistic solutions to violence.
Kelly and several other members of the US House of Representatives—including Danny Davis (D-IL 7th District), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX 18th District), Yvette Clarke (D-NY 9th District), and US Senate hopeful Tammy Duckworth (D-IL 8th District)—toured IMAN later that day, in order to witness firsthand how the organization fosters health, wellness and healing on Chicago’s Southwest Side. The esteemed guests visited the current Green ReEntry renovation project, as well as the MLK Living Memorial construction space.
This historic engagement propels IMAN toward a critical national organizing effort, wherein community organizations from across the country will be mobilized for a massive action in Washington D.C. this fall centered around powerful criminal justice reform. For more information, contact Organizing Director Shamar Hemphill.
After months of preparation and planning, IMAN Atlanta hosted CommUNITY Café: 1000 Mile Journey on April 23, its debut event. A caravan of staff and leaders from Chicago hit the road and took to the skies to support this landmark effort, which was led by ATL Regional Organizer Mansoor Sabree and Ny’imah Byrd. Café guests were treated to a stellar lineup of local, national and international artists; rapper-producer Oddisee headlined the event, Omar Offendum delivered stirring and focused lyrics, independent songstress Drea D’Nur softened hearts with her powerful voice, while Quadir Lateef’s high-octane set provided the perfect opening. CommUNITY Café: 1000 Mile Journey was hosted by poet-authors Basheer Jones and Tasleem Jamila.
While certainly a success in and of itself, CommUNITY Café: 1000 Mile Journey was part of a larger weekend program spearheaded by the IMAN Atlanta team. Greening Youth, a Georgia-based sustainability foundation, hosted an inspiring Young Leaders Forum at their four-acre location on the city’s West Side. Youth from Chicago were able to tour the expansive garden site, which included a chicken coop and aquaponics system, and exchange valuable tips with peers. Omar Offendum, Drea D’Nur and Quadir Lateef joined the IMAN youth for the tour.
Before heading back to Chicago, staff and leaders visited the historic King Center in downtown Atlanta. The group reflected on the legacy of King’s work and connected the IMAN-led MLK Living Memorial Project to this nationally recognized space of remembrance.
IMAN Atlanta now looks to build on the incredible momentum following April’s CommUNITY Café. Stay tuned for the latest news and updates by following IMAN Atlanta on Facebook.