Light Rises in Darkness
“Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I. ‘If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves on behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday’.
We live in a world of instant gratification. Being in a pandemic and uprising, hasn’t slowed, but exacerbated our desire for quick fixes and fast relief.
We tend to have hopes that a single piece of legislation, a $1,200 check or even the changing of people in political office will get us the “fix” to our woes. But what we’ve learned is that we need all of us, committed to the true transformational work of ourselves, our households and our communities. No single reform will stop police from maiming, harming and brutalizing Black people. No individual check will make sure that every family, regardless of race or region, can care for themselves and families. No one legislator or politician will be our savior.
Our God is faithful and just to forgive us, sustain us, and determine our victory – but we must do our part. The scripture has a series of conditions or “if you…, then…” We must put in the work, time, imagination, and resources to make a beautiful, bright tomorrow happen for us. We are called to be that light.
Qu’ran Reflection 3:11
“Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they (first) change what is in themselves.”
In this verse, Allah (swt) makes it clear that He will not change the condition of the people unless – and until – the people first strive to change themselves. So, the first thing that we learn with respect to change is this: if we need to witness change, it has to start from our own self. The Qur’an commands the individual to be dutiful to parents, give the due to needy, to show kindness to neighbors, justice to relatives, help the orphans, exhibit cooperation, keep promises, to be honest, to be truthful, to be tolerant, to be punctual, to be kind, to do justice, to be generous and to have a forgiving nature. It is a process of changing the person which involves developing new habits and removing the bad characteristics which in return helps change society.
Indeed, the reason behind sending Prophet Mohammed (saws) was again to change and bring in a positive social reform, so that it could become a better place to live in. Not only Prophet Mohammed (saws), but all the Prophets who were sent, were sent with the ultimate goal of changing the society which they live in. Creating a society where everyone is given justice, and which eliminates all kinds of injustice prevailing in society.
In order to see our beloved communities grow, we must all accept to be change agents. From changing policies to how we interact with one another to build solidarity in a multiracial and multifaith coalition to build a better Minnesota. It starts with each and every one of us, willing to change the status quo and to allow new conversations and state of being to emerge. In the face of challenges of COVID and politics of fear and division, we must exemplify what change looks like and act towards it.
A Show of Solidarity with Minnesota Muslims
Muslim Minnesotans, like all other Minnesotans, deserve to live and worship in safe communities. Earlier this month, one of our Muslim leaders, Imam Mohamed Mukhtar, was attacked while on his way to evening prayer. Last week, we held a press conference with Gov. Tim Walz, Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan, Atty. Gen. Keith Ellison, MN legislators and faith community leaders from Christian, Jewish and Muslim traditions, to declare that we are in solidarity with one another and all Minnesotans must stand together, be #GreaterThanFear, and create the future we want.
A Go Fund Me has been created to offset the medical expenses Imam Mohamed Mukhtar and his family are facing as the result of this attack. If you are able, please consider donating here:
You can watch the KARE-11 TV news coverage of the press conference by clicking the link below.
ISAIAH Holds Space for Community and State Legislators to Create Safe Communities
Since the slaying of George Floyd by the Minneapolis Police Department, ISAIAH has been hosting monthly policing and accountability meetings with ISAIAH leaders, organizational partners and statewide legislators like House Speaker Mellissa Hortman, Rep. Carlos Mariani and Rep. Rena Moran. While cities have a role to play in police accountability, so does the state.
This legislative session, sweeping legislation was passed in Minnesota to make the state safer for communities, including the Black, brown, indigenous and poor communities that have been rocked by harm from police departments. The last meeting we held, this Tuesday, was to unpack the impact of what passed and talk about how to get what didn’t.
There were 18 bills created by the House’s People of Color and Indigenous (POCI) Caucus that passed in the House and eventually, after much negotiation with the Senate, 11 passed for the state. While there is MUCH to be done, even beyond the original 18, it is a notable and surprising victory to pass these 11 provisions. Three notable pieces that passed were:
• Ending “Warrior style” training of police
• Ending chokeholds
• Removing wording “apparent threat” in use of force policies*
It’s important to note, that had the third bullet passed during the time of Philando Castile’s murder, Jeronimo Yanez, the officer who shot him, would have been convicted. His entire case and eventual acquittal were built on the “apparent threat.”
All 11 pieces of legislation are worth celebrating, but we know we must still pass the things we need for every community to be safe, free, and whole. We know policies that do this are ones like: Restore the vote, Cash bail reform, Police prosecution by Attorney General, Oversight provisions (including civilian oversight that has teeth – not the superficial kind that currently exists) and true community-led public safety.
We now have to continue the fight in shaping our current legislators in the House, Senate and our governor, as well as push to elect people who are aligned with our values and committed to building safe, joyful and caring communities across the state. We’ll keep pushing to make this happen, in our generation, for our lifetime.
Over 50 Clergy Grounded, Inspired & Ready to Make More Possible
This Thursday, ISAIAH clergy gathered online for their Annual Clergy Summit as they shared stories, got grounded in the moment we’re in, and unleashed to do the Good Work of God in building a loving and committed multiracial democracy for the state of Minnesota, where every person, of every faith, region, and race, can thrive. They will be fully committed to voter engagement in their congregations and mosques during this voting season.
Democracy Days Coming to ISAIAH!
Friday, Sept. 25, 2020 | Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020 | Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020 | Friday, Oct. 23, 2020
It’s Time to Get Excited!!!! Democracy Fridays are coming to a mosque near you and Democracy Sundays are coming to a church near you! You and your local place of worship are invited to co-create with and join us in spreading joy and engagement in our political process of voting.
Unlike year’s past, we won’t be only celebrating an “Election Day” but an entire “Election Season!” Starting in mid-September, we can begin voting in a variety of ways! And because the ways to vote have expanded, so should our reach to make sure everyone who’s able to vote gets to have their voice and vote counted! Minnesotans of every race, religion and region are voters. It is our joy and duty to make sure all of us gets a voice. Sign up today to join us and your local place of worship to get involved in Democracy Days!
BONUS: You can do almost every action to build a multiracial democracy with your community from the comfort of your home!
What’s Happening with the U.S. Postal Service?
On June 15, Louis DeJoy—a Trump megadonor—assumed the position of Postmaster General. Since that day, DeJoy’s administration has slowed mail delivery, removed high-speed letter sorters, eliminated employee overtime, and issued a warning to election officials that mail-in ballots will no longer automatically be moved as priority mail.
Why This Matters
• Voting by mail is an essential part of our democracy, especially in the middle of a pandemic. Without this option, many of us may not be able to vote.
• Whether receiving essential medicine or sending a letter to our loved ones, we depend on the USPS to keep us healthy and connected.
• When we work together across race and region to create and fund collective solutions like the USPS, we create a better Minnesota for all of us.
School and Childcare Worker Relief Funds Available
The Education Minnesota, Education MN Foundation, SEIU Local 284, and Kids Count On Us School and Child Care Worker Fund is now accepting applications from workers who were financially harmed by COVID-19. The fund is open to any member of our organizations who have been laid off by their districts, are under the threat of being laid off, or have had to close their child care centers due to the pandemic. Apply below and share it with your network!
Race Class Narrative Action Basic Training
This free on-line training is being offered by trainers from Faith in Minnesota and our Partners. There are many training dates between now and October – including one that helps you have conversations in defense of Black lives.
Attend a training to learn the basics of Race Class Narrative, get trained to do better messaging on topics such as Climate Justice or in Defense of Black Lives, or take one of the 1-hour “Voter Values” modules that use research and experience to equip you to talk with potential voters in ways that help them to lean into the best versions of themselves at the ballot box.
Race-Class Narrative Action is where you can get important answers to questions like:
• Why is talking about race-class through a dependent clause ineffective?
• What are dog-whistle politics?
• What is the ultimate goal of dog-whistle politics?
• Who are “persuadables?”
• What is the anatomy of a winning narrative?
• And most importantly, why should I be using this winning framework in my everyday work and mission?