How Do I Cultivate Hope Over Despair? With Rami Nashashibi

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In the late 90s, sociologist and organizer Rami Nashashibi encountered Chicago communities facing poverty, gun violence and substandard housing. Rather than succumb to pessimism or despair, he founded the Inner-City Muslim Action Network to organize people to fight for community investment and dignified lives. Guest host Stephanie Wittels Wachs speaks with Rami about how both his upbringing and his Muslim faith shape his vision for social justice. Plus, Rami shares what it takes to build and sustain trust in an interfaith coalition.

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Rami Nashashibi, Stephanie Wittels Wachs

Stephanie Wittels Wachs  00:06

Hi, this is Stephanie whittles wax and welcome to NEW DAY. Before we dive into the episode today, you might be wondering why you’re hearing my voice instead of host Claire Bidwell Smith. That’s because the show is currently on hiatus. So over the past several months, you’ve been hearing some of our favorite episodes of new day in your feed. And today, I’m excited to bring you this brand new, nourishing and enlivening conversation with Rami Nashashibi. I’ll tell you who he is in a moment, but I will quickly say why I’m grateful we get to shine light on the work his organization is doing. For many people are high cost of living means a dignified healthy life is far out of reach. food and housing costs are up healthcare and transportation costs are high. We’re seeing a rollback to social safety net programs, communities are struggling to fill the gaps. In the late 90s. Romney was in Chicago communities that were dealing with these same challenges. But rather than fall into despair or pessimism, he decided to do something about it by founding the inner city Muslim Action Network. This organization runs job training programs, it’s open to health clinics supports people reentering society after serving time, they operate a community art space and work to bring quality fresh food to areas that can’t easily access it. Inner City Muslim Action Network IMAN recently celebrated its 25th anniversary. And Rami is the executive director. Oh and for all of his work on the ground. Romney has been recognized with a MacArthur Genius fellowship, no big deal. After my conversation with him, I completely and entirely understand why. We’ll learn more about how he approaches this work and what the organization has planned for the next 25 years. In the meantime, settle in for this interview that I absolutely loved with Rami Nashashibi, which Lemonada produced in partnership with the Marguerite Casey Foundation. Here’s my conversation with Rami.

Stephanie Wittels Wachs  03:27

Rami, Welcome to New Day. So nice to talk to you today.

Rami Nashashibi  03:31

Yeah, no, thank you.

Stephanie Wittels Wachs  03:33

So we always start new day by asking how are you bud? How are you really? And I? I love that question. So I’d love to start there. Yeah,

Rami Nashashibi  03:43

That’s a great question too, again, to kind of flip back to the vernacular ways, and this is fairly well known across the Muslim world. But it’s also an Arabic vernacular thing if you’re ever in the Arab world. How are you or what’s up it’s used to almost communicate what’s up is Keith haddock right? But what actually originates from it and why I think language so fascinating is the actual translation of that term is […] that’s the translation that’s the more classical Arabic. And it means literally, how is your spiritual state? Which is a very different question, then what’s up? It’s how is your soul? Where are you spiritually in the world? And yeah, that’s a different question. And I think that’s what I hear in your question. And so where I am is, you know, just finished Ramadan. And I feel like I need a whole another Ramadan.

Stephanie Wittels Wachs  04:51

Really? Tell me why. Tell me more about that.

Rami Nashashibi  04:54

1I think Ramadan for us becomes an email And anyway becomes a really intense moment, we’re doing lots of work, we’re jumping around all over the place, and I’m traveling. So I do the fast thing, and I appreciate it and you get tired. And you there’s a lots of beauty in that. And a lot of communal gatherings where you’re breaking your fast. You know, as you may know, in Ramadan, you’re not eating or drinking from sunrise to sunset. And so that has a physicality to it, which actually feels good. After a while you get into a zone and you start smelling and hearing and listening to things differently. However, there’s a lots of, you know, spiritual solitude moments. And you also there’s also part of the, the difficulty in Ramadan for me part of the invitation to challenge as you confront a more raw side of yourself, it’s a real way of, once you strip yourself of a lot of things and food and water in your you still yearning for things because Ramadan, you’re also supposed to be during your fast, really attentive to what you’re saying, how you’re saying it, what you’re watching what you’re listening to all of those things. And when you, when you still find certain habits that are present and prevailing, even as you’re trying to do this physical fast, you’re feeling like, I’m still not on top of as much of the things I would like to be on top of, then. So there’s that. And then we got some really difficult news, you know, and some of our work day in day out were at ground level, confronting some really challenging issues. And so one of our individuals who would work with us for long periods of time was, you know, recidivate, in a very bad, bad way. And then one of the young kids that was in one of my programs here, going 25 years ago, I got news, you know, took his own life in a very tragic way, at the gravesite of his mother and brother. And so that was hard. Yeah, just my own sense of feeling like I did, I didn’t get as much of my own spiritual solitude moments, as I probably needed for my, my own development and well-being as I would have liked. So having said that, I’m, you know, profoundly grateful for my own health. And the ability to try to do this work is a great privilege and to show up with the people that I get to show up with every day. So I’m profoundly grateful for that I’m very, very privileged in doing the work that I do being at the tables that I’m at being with the people that I have, and I try not to take that privilege for granted.

Stephanie Wittels Wachs  07:55

You’re speaking to my spirit today, in fact, yeah, I mean, we’ve been at this, you know, we started this company, Lemonada, who produces this podcast, out of some tragic loss and our lives and it’s become such a big, huge mission and part of my life, and I have my own, you know, children and trying to balance this, this work that we love and the passions that we have, and take care of ourselves at the same time becomes a theme I think about all the time. It’s a, it’s really hard to strike that balance, I find, and you’ve been at that you’ve been at this for 25 years. I’d actually love to shift there, because you’re talking about this work you do. For those who aren’t familiar. You have run you founded the Chicago based organization, inner city Muslim Action Network, also called the man. Can you tell us about it? Can you tell us about the work you’re doing the initiatives you work on? Give us the lay of the land?

Rami Nashashibi  08:56

Sure, sure. Yeah. You know, formally been at this for a good three decades. And, yeah, you man as a nonprofit, grounded here on the south side of Chicago, but also has a dynamic chapter that’s thriving in Atlanta. The acronym is the inner city Muslim Action Network. And it’s an organization that comes out of the very deep tradition of American Muslim Islam, particularly, both black American Muslim engagements with Islam and traditions of refugees. And so, you know, at the core of the man’s mission statement is health, wellness and healing in the inner city. And we do that primarily through four kind of very integrated, interconnected departments. And those departments are one, our major health center department. We are a federally qualified health center here in Chicago. We have a very dynamic behavior health primary care integrated model. We have a really dynamic green reentry program that’s called mean reentry, which works with returning residents as well as young folks caught up in the cycle of violence, justice involved youth 18 to 25 year olds mostly. And provides housing, job training, wraparound services mental. So you know, health is a big part of that, and also organizing training. The third department is our organizing department, we are kind of dyed in the wool community organizers that take the art of community organizing and the science of it seriously. So we’ve run campaigns from criminal justice reform campaigns, immigration campaigns to food justice work, in addition to addressing the food deserts, and addressing the very thorny, sticky issues between mostly Arab Immigrants, running businesses in low income Black communities, we’ve addressed that kind of sticky, messy middle ground between middleman minorities and kind of Black communities that tension that’s part and parcel of the legacy of white supremacy and segregation and in a city like Chicago, but in many urban centers across America, in Detroit, Atlanta. And from doing that work, to actually opening our own fresh market as a model of what the radically reimagined corner store can look and feel like, which is now open for a year took us 25 years to build that model. And, you know, it’s now underway, and it’s part of a larger vision of a over $100 million transformation of a major intersection on the Heart of the South side, and one of the hardest hit neighborhoods, Inglewood. And then you know, our fourth department is a really dynamic Arts and Culture Department, you know, and arts and creative art expression has been a part of my life. For as long as I’ve been doing this work, I think a lot of us consider ourselves as artists, there’s an artistry in doing this work. And then, you know, art is the part of our expression, it’s a part of the way we organize, it’s a way which we radically reimagine the world as it could be, connect disconnected communities. So those four departments are integrated into very holistic approach and the way we do our work. And we take that integrative approach very seriously. So our medical staff are, for instance, trained as organizers, our behavior health staff, will be working in our ceramic studio are organized, you know, so we do all of that in very, very practical way is our green reentry, resident leaders, our participant leaders will go down to the state capitol on an organizing campaign. And so we needed an organization that was unapologetic about being seen as Muslim, led by the Muslim American community that was, you know, driving the work that we were doing in a way that was bridging differences across religious ethnic racial boundaries, and any Thank God, you know, he man has really emerged as that 25 plus years later, we’re now you know, like a $20 million operating budget. We have over you know, around 100 people on staff between here in Atlanta, and a very image just passed our last five year strategic plan and have a very, very ambitious vision for what the next three to five years can look like in Chicago and Atlanta.

Stephanie Wittels Wachs  13:35

That is incredible. Incredible. I am blown away by everything that you that you just said. Let’s take a quick break. And when we come back, I want to ask how you got your start in organizing work and what people shaped your vision for this work. There’s so many threads I want to pull. One of them as like this idea that you’re in your communities, you’re trying to make things better, you’re trying to improve them. I’m so fascinated with how that vision for change begins. You just sort of talked about naming the group and the 90s. And, you know, before you had a $20 million dollar operating budget before you had 100, staff members, before you had all of these four buckets that you just beautifully articulated, that are integrated and working together and wrapping around each other and your communities. What was that sort of core Appleseed that you that if this was your idea, this is your baby from the beginning, right? Like what’s that? The germ of this idea that’s grown into such an impressive operation? And how did you start?

Rami Nashashibi  16:59

I’m always I think, I’ve always seen myself as the perpetual outsider, as long as I’ve been in Chicago on the south side, lived in and worked in the communities but my mother grew up in his she was a refugee Palestinian refugee on the south side of Chicago. But I, I wasn’t I grew up in different parts of the world, my parents had a messy divorce. So I kind of was hopping around the world before I came back to the Chicago and found my way back to the South Side found my way. And although I grew up, very hyper aware of being a Palestinian origin, I had no real formal religious practice of any kind. And then when I come to the United States, kind of on the eve of discovering Public Enemy and beginning to acquire a very artistic sensibility around hip hop, but also thinking about the intersection between Palestinian struggle and black American liberation movements. And I plunged at some point, I just, I was deep into that ocean, I spent with spending time in the early 90s With Panthers, former Panthers, Puerto Rican liberation activist, I was just very, very deep into those waters. And that really shaped me and it shaped kind of the way I saw this work as movement work, I did not get into it. No one thought about nonprofit management degrees at the time, that certainly was not my background, I had English literature. You know, I was reading Saeed on one hand, and then Francis Fanon on the other. And you know, that was my sensibilities in the eye of the world. I think it helped, that movement was always a part of this, that I saw this through the eyes of people who gave their lives for movement work. So political movements, led by black and brown people in this country. It was nothing I grew up with, because I didn’t even grow up here really, for the most part. So by the time I got in, came back. And it was after the Gulf War. And I was immediately reminded of the political context of what it meant to be a Palestinian, Arab American, in this country at that time, that politicized me. Then hip hop, gave me an intense immersion into a cultural sensibility. I dove deep into that, to that larger culture, and, and was I was proximate to hip hop artists and the culture and always immediately saw the brilliance in it, saw the subversive beauty in it, and bringing us together in the face of all these types of things, bringing black brown white kids, reconstituting a kind of cultural humanity in the face of all those things that that spoke to me. And then increasingly, I think what I always had spiritual sensibilities and literary sensibilities, I would have probably kind of was put in one bucket. And eventually they came together and I, I think spirituality, I wanted to really understand the traditions. And so I started first with a tradition that I thought I had some awareness of Islam and had to confront it first, quite frankly, through black American Muslims who were like, dude, what’s up? Like, why don’t you Muslim, and I’m like, Look, I’m relating to you, as an activist and an organizer, and the artists like this Islam stuff is getting in the way, like, you can’t really be taking this seriously. But it made me confront the fact that I had never really even opened up the Koran, I had never really done any of that. And so it wasn’t, you know, it wasn’t an overnight epiphany, but it was an opening. And eventually, it kind of led to a path that I’m very much still on right now, which is taking religious Muslim sensibility seriously, still realizing how inadequate I am, and all of those things, and having just a deeper appreciation for religious tradition.

Stephanie Wittels Wachs  21:06

You found this path to doing something that was so meaningful to you personally, and spiritually, and is also improving these communities. And that takes time and deep investment on so many levels. So much goes into sustaining this work that you’re describing. And I’m wondering if you can speak to, to building trust within communities that you work in? How do you approach that? How do you build trust?

Rami Nashashibi  21:37

Yeah, that’s a great question. And I think it’s, it’s a never ending journey, quite frankly. And I don’t think you ever take that for granted. And eventually, the trust that you’re having to build has to be a byproduct of your commitment to the best outcomes humanly possible for those that you’re working with. And alongside every single day, and for me, the trust is going to be built has always been the because especially among the things that you learn, especially at this very granular street level, I spent a lot of time working with. And some of my greatest teachers have been the ones who’ve come out of the experiences of street organizations, i e, street gangs, that have spent a lot of time in prison. And among the unrecognized cultural and intellectual brilliance that has existed in those circles of people who otherwise were failed by every other institution, is that a keen sense of being able to kind of, you know, peep game, and very immediately sense where you’re at? So knowing you walk into a room and feel like, you don’t you don’t deserve their trust, right away? You nobody. And I’ve had to explain that to Palestinian immigrants that, yeah, you come from your own suffering, but they don’t know that yet. And we can assume our shared suffering is understood equally yet. And we have to do the work to make those connections real, we have to do the work, are you committed to the work, you’re not going to bring down some of the decades long trauma, without feeling the pain that was used in erecting these systems, right, these systems that pitted us against one another, the systems that have thrived off decades of mistrust, you’re not going to confront those things, without experiencing some of the pain that people endured. By putting them up. You know, it’s one thing you can wax eloquently in a graduate workshop about, you know, dismantling the system is of patriarchy and white supremacy, it’s like, okay, that sounds really cool, and even read really well in your essay. Now, do it. Now, yeah, no, no. Are you ready to endure the 10-15 years of like, living hell to try to like commit your life to doing that work? And that’s part of where the trust process comes into play. Because ultimately, it’s Don’t tell me show me, you know, don’t tell me down. Don’t tell me you love me. Show me. And that’s the language I think, thank God. We have people who have journeyed alongside one another, as for a long time, to build some of that trust. Because again, there’s the forces that are constantly at work, to sow dissension to suggest this very hyper personalized trajectories of you know, individual success up against the state of others. All of that’s constantly at work. And so creating and sustaining spaces that are opportunities to rebuild trust to reengage trust is a really important part of the work.

Stephanie Wittels Wachs  25:12

Let’s take one more break and we come back I want to talk more about the spiritual element of this work and how to avoid despair. There’s the same coin by activist and educator Miriam Kaba says, Let this radicalize you rather than lead you to despair. And I think, as you know, all too well. It’s easy, right? It’s it seems easier to fall into despair when you’re seeing all the challenges you just spoke to, and the trauma that these communities have dealt with, you know, generationally, and currently, how do you help in your work, prevent people from falling into despair and leading them to, to what this quote suggests?

Rami Nashashibi  27:43

Well, I again, you know, we’re organizers. And I think this whole path of organizing this spiritual practice, again, going back to the spiritual tradition, Despair is the darkest of forces, it is the darkest of forces, so much so that actually in Arabic, the word for Lucifer Iblees, its root verb, word is bellezza, which means to cause despair. In other words, it is so kind of intimately connected to the darkest of all forces, that it is literally a demonic force, because it can get the human being in a state where if I get you to despair, first of the mercy of God, of the mercy of the Divine, and then despair of all that is around you, I can get you to descend to the darkest of places, right? Because when you have given up on all possibilities of your own personal and communal transformation, and when you know how it is to get to those dark and grimy spaces, and I think all of us have to be honest, how quickly we can get there, each of us. And I think it’s important to understand, with all humility, the moments that you’re there, that those forces have both a very, again, politically, spiritually, mentally taxing power on the human spirit, and that it requires the ability to sustain communal and personal winds. And that’s why wins are so important, right to have wins, to celebrate the wins, to delineate small wins and victories and to create spaces that celebrate those moments, right, that provide communal joy for what you’ve been able to do. And so creating those same type of communal spaces when we opened the Fresh Market, when we built the first memorial to Martin Luther King when we pass legislation on, you know, some critical movement? Yes, it didn’t change the entire condition, when we pass police accountability, reform, all these little things, right? Create communal moments to, to really to kind of defy those forces that we’re up against every day that suggests that we can’t do that, that we’re not capable of those things. And so I think that’s what I also hear and Miriam’s quote, is there is medicine for despair in the process of the radical imagination, radically reimagining what is possible. And that’s again, why culture and art is so important as therapy, in the face of despair, like, art is such a profound way to get us to reimagine, to see ourselves differently. Every year, we would hold a major every other year, so three years, we would hold a major festival in in the park that was synonymous with the stoning and the dark history of King and what he confronted on the Southside of Chicago in this working class white neighborhood at that time, and, you know, for years, by even as that neighborhood became black and brown, we would hold our big festival called Taking it to the streets, inside that very same park that King was brutally stoned in to radically reimagine what the space is about. And then on the 50th anniversary of that occasion, we recreated the march for and literally this time with 1000s of people, the largest March since that time of every synagogues, churches, mosques, you know, queer folks, most straight folks, organizers, everybody, Korean community organizations, everyone from across the city came together. We had this march into Marquette Park, we led to the unveiling of a memorial that we built that was sparked by high school students, a memorial the that still today sits as the only memorial to Martin Luther King in the city of Chicago that commemorates the Chicago freedom movement, that commemorates people like Imam Morty, Muhammad, Rabbi, Robert marks, Reverend Willie Barrow, alongside people like King and living activists and organizers. That’s why we call it the living memorial that celebrates what the beloved community can look and feel like. And we did this in 2016 in the summer, and we no one really knew what the fall was going to bring that election was going to bring. But having that victory led us immediately, right after that election, to launch a major drive that said, fight fear, build power, fight fear, build power, right? That that our way of confronting the sense of despair of the moment, because that’s, again, darker forces, including political forces, trying to cower you into feeling, you’re like, you are alone, you are isolated, you are hopeless and helpless. And, again, a way to fight back is to build those relationships. And it starts with building the relationship with your own spiritual sensibility. Because I think, again, and that’s something we take seriously, there’s a, there’s a verse that says that the Most High will not change the conditions of the people until they change what’s within themselves. And it’s like, and that’s a hard reckoning as well, to confront the, hey, we have to take care of self, we have to attend to the ways in which we oppress ourselves as well. And that’s very much part of the way you think about the symbiotic relationship between your spiritual internal states and the communal political states that we’re trying to shape.

Stephanie Wittels Wachs  33:50

You just brought lots of tears to my eyes. And with that description of the march, that’s beautiful, what a gorgeous event, I’m sorry, it was stand was in fact,

Rami Nashashibi  34:00

in fact, the, the two young Masons that built this memorial, they were crying that day, because as they watch people look at the work, they said, our parents never allowed us into this park, as children, because for fear of what we would encounter. So how do you commemorate and heal at the same time? Right? How do you both acknowledge trauma and also in the same process, provide a pathway for healing from it? And I think what was so beautifully on display that day, and one has, again, talking about moments matter. And this has all been sparked by your question, how do you avoid falling into that dark decaying spiral of despair? This stuff fight for moments like that to fight for opportunities like that? Because you need them all the time? I know I need them. I need them on a weekly basis. I can understand And the despair that drove that young man. In the funeral. My grandmother is buried right next to where he took his life. And I went to go see my grandmother at a gravesite. And I thought of him. I said, I we’ve all had ideations. I’ve had family members have I’ve had family members take their lives. I know that pain. I know what that looks like, I know what that feels like. I know where we can all get to. And, you know, it’s important to understand that pain as we as we do this work.

Stephanie Wittels Wachs  35:31

I’m so sorry for your loss of that young man. I am. It sounds like it really hit you hard. And I’m so sorry. That you lost him. Thank you for that. I could talk to you all day. I won’t. Because I’m sure you’re very busy. But I’d love to wrap with just sort of celebrating the fact that a man celebrated its 25th anniversary recently. That’s huge. Congrats. Thank you. What an amazing milestone. I’m wondering, as you look back and you reflect on this 25 years that I’m sure feels like both one day and 4000 centuries, right. Like, it probably went so fast. And it was such a slog, I’m sure. As you look back, what are the initiatives and victories that you’re most proud of that you hold? Sort of closest to your heart and, and your spirit? And then also, as you look to the next 25 years. What are you most excited about looking forward?

Rami Nashashibi  36:40

Well, I think I’ve mentioned several of them, you know, the, the building of that memorial in the heart of Marquette Park. extraordinaire, extraordinary. This last Ramadan, being in Atlanta, and although the Atlanta model still has an extraordinary then, you know, dynamic path and lots of work in front of it, to see the mayor of Atlanta to see judges the community that deep amazing buy in that the IMAN Atlanta has the mayor grew up in the neighborhood. He didn’t have to craft any of his comments he’s from the very neighborhood still lives in the neighborhood that he man, Atlanta is now leading the charge on their leading a campaign called No taxation without representation. They are the leading voice in Georgia to fight for them franchise mint of over 250,000 voters. So to see where the model has grown, with extraordinary leadership outside of Chicago, to see the opening of this beautiful fresh market that you can walk into in the heart of Inglewood, no bulletproof glass, no grease dripping from the ceilings, no Lucy cigarettes, no being accosted, no having a point behind three inches to kind of look for spoiled milk or to point to some red juice to have young black entrepreneurs leading that store that helped build the store to have black managers and to see black and brown products in the store. Every day you walk into the store, it’s a victory, you know, because businesses aren’t run like that. And I think the next 25 years, I really think we are trying to demonstrate even in the next 10 years that we’re not just this group of romantic revolutionaries running around in a little inner city playground, that we are very serious about radically reimagining and investing we feel we have the capability of putting together that type of transformational Marshall Plan level investments into these corridors that we’re building that can model what, you know, generational transformation can look like, and channeling brilliance from wherever we can, in our larger community, those who associated with us, either spiritually are associated with us on our mission or line, we’re going to tap those resources, we’re going to tap that kind of that brilliance and bring that together. And in the service of demonstrating what that looks like on the ground in neighborhoods and communities have been the hardest hit in the spirit of lifting all of us and showing what is possible. And I think that that’s what excites me most that we have real opportunity to make that happen. Not without extraordinary challenges and obstacles we know. But that’s what’s in front of the and personally I’ve always been a very deeply rooted Palestinian American with deep roots in a city that you know, the Southside of Chicago and the streets of Jerusalem, for me are equally and different in as their sacred value, they’re equally sacred. And me, I’ve always thought of those two spaces among all the different spaces. I’ve had the privilege of being in the world as symbolic spaces filled with so many of our narratives. The south side was historic meeting round of Black asylum seekers fleeing the terror of the South. It was the meeting ground of immigrants that were trying to forge a kind of working class America, that was the meeting ground of refugees, like my grandfather, they’re fleeing displacement. And in the wake of Chicago, Chicago becomes the place that we try to study to understand the rest of the country. Sociology is born here, to kind of think about the impact of deindustrialization and industrialized kind of cities and urban poverty. And so I feel like Chicago and especially the south side, has always had this real sacred, symbolic quality. And Jerusalem is this sacred center of the world city that has so many of our various paths connected to, which is a city that on my father’s side, literally goes back, you know, to the time of Saladino up, so those two spaces have always been very important in my life, even though I haven’t spent many, many years in Jerusalem. And so I will be leading this fall with Pastor Otis Moss, a return to Jerusalem through a course that we hope to institutionalize every year called Black Jerusalem, that’s going to be looking at Jerusalem through the lens of black African diaspora through the lens of black liberation theology, through the lens of understanding Jerusalem and its surrounding sacred geography, through the prism of kind of a black American framework of struggle with race and struggle with policing and making those connections. And so I’m doing that in a very interfaith ecumenical way with Jewish Muslim and Christian folks, but with a way that unapologetically privileges the black lens that allows other people of color and other white allies to be part of the journey.

Stephanie Wittels Wachs  42:15

Rami, I also hope that you will prioritize sleeping and resting because you’ve earned it you It’s incredible the work you’re doing. I’m so I feel so honored and delighted that I got to connect with you today. And I was able to hear some of your story, how unbelievably inspiring, and I’m so excited to follow your organization and support you all and this has just been wonderful. So thanks for carving out the time.

Rami Nashashibi  42:39

Thank you. No, I really appreciate you and appreciate the heart and genuine sincerity through which is very felt through the screen from you. So thank you for what you do. And prayers for you as well and for whatever that you’ve been struggling through and with and may your struggles be lifted. May you find openings may you find joy, rest, healing, and fulfillment at every level possible and all the work that you’re doing.

Stephanie Wittels Wachs  43:10

Yes, I needed to hear that today. Thank you so much. My heart heard it my heart heard it.

Stephanie Wittels Wachs  43:22

Oh my goodness, there were so many insightful moments in that conversation from learning what it takes to build trust and communities to understanding how to tackle complex challenges within communities to hearing about how faith and heritage guide Ramiz vision for change. But most importantly, how to keep going in the face of despair. That was just so profound, and I took so much away from that part of our conversation. I am so grateful to have had this conversation. Thank you to Rami and Eman and we wish you all the best on the next 25 years of your journey. If you want to learn more about the inner city Muslim action network you can visit Eman That’s it for today. Thanks for spending your time with me remember to keep an eye out for updates about new day and other programming at Lemonada. Be well.

CREDITS  44:18

NEW DAY is a Lemonada Media Original. This episode was produced by Kyle Shiely and Martin Macias with support from Kryssy Pease. Noah Smith is our engineer. Music is by Hannis Brown. Our VP of weekly content is Steve Nelson and our executive producers are Stephanie Wittels Wachs and Jessica Cordova Kramer. New Day is produced in partnership with the Jed foundation with a special thanks to the Marguerite Casey Foundation, who sponsored this episode. Help others find our show by leaving us a rating and writing a review. You can also get bonus content and behind the scenes material by subscribing to lemon on a premium on Apple podcasts. Follow NEW DAY wherever you get your podcasts or listen ad free on Amazon music with your Prime membership.

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