Living Legacies: From Malcolm To Mali

IMAN celebrated Black History Month by hosting a series of special events from February 21 to 24, in partnership with key organizational allies. To kick things off Thursday night, we hosted an event titled, Malcolm X: Standing With Peace, at IMAN’s Youth & Arts Wellness Center, across the street from IMAN’s offices on 63rd Street. It generated lively discussion and artistic expression, and highlighted the need to inspire and restore hope to the community. Attendees ranged from community residents to youth, IMAN leaders, and artists. The event was a great success and offered an inspiring beginning to an action-packed weekend of powerful events.

Friday night brought a jam-packed performance by Viex Farka Touré, regarded as one of Africa’s most exciting and inspirational new artistic voices, at the Old Town School of Folk Music. In addition to the amazing live performance, that fused the traditional with the modern, by Farka Touré, the program was also devoted to raising awareness of the recent humanitarian and political crisis in Mali, his home country. As IMAN continues to be a convener of Muslim artists and strives to connect global issues with local issues, we work to support peace both domestically and abroad.

Saturday morning saw us at Masjid Al Farooq, as IMAN alongside the Zakat Foundation hosted a panel discussion with Viex Farka Touré, entitled Mali On Our Minds. The discussion was hosted by Tahir Abdullah, Assistant Director of Spiritual Life & Advisor for Muslim Affairs at the University of Chicago. This event was an opportunity to discuss the events that recently took place in Mali and West Africa from a personal, political, cultural and historical perspective. Mali has long held a legendary status as the birthplace and center of great spiritual and intellectual achievement, through the great center of Timbuktu.

The long weekend of special events ended with A Shared Memory, a tribute to the late great Imam Warith Deen Mohammed, held again at the IMAN’s Youth & Arts Wellness Center. This beautiful event was devoted to celebrating and preserving the memories and impact of the late Imam W.D. Mohammed on hundreds of thousands people across the country and world.

In marking the historic and contemporary significance of African intellectual and artistic contributions, along with Malcolm X’s and Imam W.D. Mohammed’s legacy of peace, love and communal transformation, all these special events were a great reminder of what we aspire toward in order to rejuvenate our neighborhoods across the city.

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