In 1955 on a crowded bus in Montgomery, Alabama, Rosa Parks was sanctioned by law to discomfort herself by giving up her seat to a white man who was standing simply because she was Black. Although she had been fighting for civil rights at the NAACP for more than 10 years, until that day Rosa Parks had never been one to break rules. However, tired of being degraded and humiliated and motivated by the gruesome death of Emmet Till, she refused to give up her seat and was arrested. Over the next 11 months, 17,000 people would boycott Montgomery’s public transportation prompting the U.S. Supreme Court to rule Montgomery’s segregation laws unconstitutional.
Our elders from the Civil Rights Movement showed us that *individual effort* and *commitment to the struggle* are key to sustainable social change. After almost a year of walking or riding their bikes to and from work, literally improving their *health* in the process, leaders from Montgomery were able to impact their societal *wellness*, and bring about *healing* to their community as well as the nation. Many of IMAN’s recent campaigns share a message of health, wellness and healing. Projects such as Muslim Run drill the importance of one’s physical health in order to bring about social justice and essentially progress mental, spiritual and emotional health of the community as a whole.
Simply supporting these campaigns is not enough. As activists for a more just future, we need to take direct action by implementing physical health values into our own lives. Listed below are small steps one can take to improve their physical health. I urge you as a leader of IMAN to dedicate yourself to at least 2 of these things and make them habitual.
Take the stairs instead of the elevator
Eat a sweet fruit instead of desert high in sugar content
Don’t ignore your body’s need for adequate amounts of sleep
Stretch every morning! It keeps your joints flexible and improves
Drink plenty of water throughout the day
Listen to a motivating song, a recitation or a speech that gets you
pumped every day
Smile and laugh more often–its contagious!