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Inner-City Muslim Action Network’s (IMAN) Food and Wellness Center opened its doors in July 2021. Since then they have been working hard to help their community, like providing free groceries to the neighborhood that has “212,300 people and 209,120 children” who were expected to live without food and security.
They are 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, according to their Facebook page. IMAN is a great way of “building healthier neighborhoods in the Chicago metropolitan area.
Inner-City Muslim Action Network’s groceries can even serve as a source of emergency food distributions and held “COVID-19 testing and vaccine drives during the pandemic” which made it easy for people to find medical resorts.
In one of their post, they wrote they opened “IMAN Health Center, to offer our diverse community the basic human right that is quality healthcare.”
Last month, Cook County Land Bank Authority awarded them ownership of the vacant lot next to the IMAN Food & Wellness Center. This allowed them “to have Kuumba Lynx nurture the land their summer pop-up.”
A few other winners were:
- The Ford Calumet Environmental Center won the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation’s award for architectural excellence in community design.
- The Altgeld Family Resource Center won second place for the Driehaus Foundation award.
- SOS Children’s Villages Illinois foster home and McCrory Senior Apartments tied for third place.
- North Lawndale: The Next Chapter and North Lawndale Employment Network’s 20,000-square-foot campus tied for the neighborhood development award.
- Dalia Aragon, who founded the nonprofit organization Israel’s Gifts of Hope, which supports families affected by gun violence, won the emerging leader award.
Project Fire, a program of Community Arts that uses glassblowing and ceramics to help young people understand how their minds, bodies, and emotions cope with trauma, created this year’s physical awards.
In the area, Da Lynx set up a medicinal garden, a visual arts labyrinth was created, and IMAN is able to hold “healing workshops and performances through Chicago Hip Hop Theater Fest this summer!”
IMAN was one of this year’s Chicago Neighborhood Development Awards winners. They received the healthy community award. IMAN founder Rami Nashashibi stated, “It’s not about just one service; [it’s connected to] a greater vision of what true community transformation could look and feel like.”
The Food and Wellness Center has a “symbiotic relationship” with other community partners. For example, the Go Green on Racine’s transformation project and the Englewood Fresh Market. Together they hope to revive the closed Racine Green stop.
Every Wednesday, IMAN staff and leaders interact with their neighbors during their Community Engagement Walks. This time allows them to fully learn more about the needs of our neighbors and community residents.
They hope to provide community members with the resources they sorely need. Like ways to improve their health, on top of addressing the poverty and violence within the neighborhood.
The IMAN organization has been around for 25 years. Their vision and work are driven by Islam’s emphasis on compassion, justice, mercy, and service. They work together as transformative forces for positive social change.
For inspiration, they looked to the rich and diverse organizing traditions across the United States and the globe. They want to blend the best of those models with the Muslim spiritual tradition as a way to reach communities and leaders across the city of Chicago, the state of Illinois, and the nation.
The Inner-city Muslim Action Network believes in leveraging the resources, skills, relationships, and expertise across socio-economic divides in addressing the challenges and struggles confronting marginalized urban communities. They believe in leveraging these relationships to stimulate socially-conscious business development and to generate jobs, revenue, and social capital in service of its larger vision, according to their website.
The organization believes in organizing and advocacy work that is intergenerational. The drive and dynamism of young adults combined with the experience and wisdom of their elders allow for efforts that take into consideration the larger social context and historical continuity.
The Inner-city Muslim Action Network strongly believes in the need to create long-term alliances that bridge ethnic, racial, cultural, and religious divides. They are deeply grounded in a sense of mutual trust for one another. The Inner-city Muslim Action Network is committed to a common vision for change.
Working with their neighbors they hope to change the community, and more, one step at a time.
Inner-City Muslim Action Network Food and Wellness Center, 1216 W. 63rd St. in Englewood.
Written by Rosie Nieto
Edited by Sheena Robertosn
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Facebook: Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN) page
Inner-City Muslim Action Network: IMAN’s Principles of Change