This week B.C. & Mordant welcome Rami Nashashibi, the Executive Director for the Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN), a community organization that fosters health, wellness and healing in the inner-city by organizing for social change, cultivating the arts and operating a holistic health center.
IMAN dates back to 1997, when a group of students and residents united around a need to address violence, poverty and decay in a neighborhood in Chicago’s southwest side. IMAN has continued to grow and evolve over the years. Today, it runs a community health center, provides transitional housing and job training for formerly incarcerated men, and empowers and inspires local youth through leadership training and arts programs.
In this episode, Rami shares his vision for the organization, which includes modeling the Muslim tradition to create change in the most disadvantaged urban communities.
“We’re working in a community that’s profoundly impacted by being an underinsured and uninsured population,” he says about the impact of the health clinic.
He describes what he has seen happen when development efforts are concentrated on violence prone blocks, when vandalized homes are restored and gang strongholds are dismantled. “That has a profound effect on the quality of life on these blocks,” he says. In fact, he describes it as a night and day difference.
In one example, he tells the story of a neighborhood that was so dangerous they used to have to escort parents to pick up their kids from elementary school. Today, it is one of the better neighborhoods due to the work of IMAN.
“It’s because of the support and the work we’ve been able to do. It has profoundly changed the fabric of life in those blocks, and it has also had a profound impact on the actual life of those individuals,” he explains.
Rami says that one young man he met said it best. After completing the re-entry program for incarcerated men, the man said: “This program gave me my humanity back.”
The program provides an opportunity to be re-acclimated to the community as a leader, as a person who is giving back and helping to build community.
Tune in to this week’s episode to hear more about this phenomenal work. Learn how you can support projects like this, that bring people together around a vision and mission to be a force of change in the areas that need it the most.
“What a Relief!” is the official podcast of Islamic Relief USA. Co-hosted by social media specialist B.C. Dodge& Mordant Mahon, IRUSA’s “What a Relief!” puts a human face on what’s going on in the world and how you can enact positive change in it. New episodes every week!
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