Our Summer as DREAM Interns

To kick off our summer, we attended a two day orientation that covered the history and vision of DREAM. We had a wonderful time as we went around the neighborhood and listened in on the insites, history, and events that brought our community to where it is today. This was a kickoff to all of the work and events we would be planning and working on for the next 2.5 months in our neighborhood. 


A big project we worked on was taking over the social media content by starting Dream Through the Years. We gathered all of DREAM’s progress and activities over the past nine years into a series of short comprehensible posts. 

One of our most successful projects was planning and executing DREAM’s July movie night. Through this process, we were able to experience elements of intentional community-building firsthand by planning and promoting the event, handling all logistics, and then setting up on site and running the movie night. This served as a major learning experience to us as we navigated the ins and outs of event planning while specifically customizing it for our neighborhood.

Our first fundraising campaign was the Buena Vista campaign. This was a project close and dear to us because in order to properly campaign for this project, we had to dive deep into Br. Dawud’s story and document it from all different perspectives. Br. Dawud is the Project Homecoming transitional house manager and we were able to see and experience first-hand the depth, value, and hard work that individuals had on the development DREAM (and the local mosque) and were able to translate this content into a message of action to the rest of the world.

Another big project one of us worked hard on was producing a 2021 Impact Report that highlighted our past and current work for our upcoming 10th year anniversary. She worked hard to format and design this report over our summer. 

To hear more highlights, check out our videos on DREAM’s Instagram.

Engaging in the Community

Throughout the summer, we made a particular effort to involve ourselves within the community setting. A week before the internship started, we all made it out to the Motor City Makeover where we worked hard with the rest of the volunteers to clear and further beautify the parking lot and areas around the Muslim Center.

We also got to involve ourselves even more in the neighborhood with some of our local canvassing projects. We went around the blocks distributing and advertising for their movie night. Later on, we also partnered with the Block Club to go around the ten Longfellow blocks and record every home that didn’t have a recycling bin. Throughout that week, we succeeded in ordering over 100 recycling bins and had them delivered directly to the residents. 

Towards the end of the summer, we got to attend a Longfellow Block Club Meeting. We got to see members of this and neighboring neighborhoods collectively engage in dialogue and decision making to make change and progress within their community.

Experiences as a Team

Some of our favorite memories are the work we did to directly influence the neighborhood. We worked on the Project Homecoming house by building furniture and putting up wall decorations to beautify the home for its beautiful residents. 

Earlier on, we may have started to voice frustration about sitting in the office all day. So Mark took us out to meet John Throne from the Detroit Catholic Pastoral Alliance. This was an organization that did work similar to DREAM except on the East side. This meeting succeeded in giving us a sense of a bigger effort in Detroit. Seeing the progress on the East side strengthened our resolve to reinforce progress on the West side. 

A couple of weeks ago we also met councilwoman Amanda Jaczowski. She is a highlight for us and a huge inspiration because, but not restricted to, her religious background, the challenges she overcame, her resolve, and the love she has for her community.

A fun day for us was when we went out to lunch at The Congregation. We had great food and then went on a walk as we once again explored the history and circumstances that brought that neighborhood to where it is today. 

 In Their Own Words

Iman Abdallah 

‘Working at DREAM gave me a newfound respect for people who work for no applause; who put in so much time even when there isn’t always visible progress. This is the most important work as it is the foundation for the successes and progress that come later. ‘

Ajwa Aziz

‘My favorite part of working with Dream was experiencing the teamwork and the camaraderie of the community. Everyone is so welcoming and kind to one another. ‘

Lamond Ridgeway

‘Being able to participate in the making of our events was a highlight for me this summer.’

Buraq Oral

‘I love the culture of neighborliness that is instilled at DREAM and I hope to bring these same values to any space that I enter in the future. ‘

Zahra Basha

‘It’s empowering and inspiring to understand just how much this community and neighborhood had to overcome to get to this point. The individuals here are so welcoming and make working here such an incredible learning experience. ‘



Sankofa: Black Muslim Legacy Convening

Sankofa is a word from the Twi language in Ghana, which means “go back and get it.” Conceptually, it means to look to the past and reclaim our heritage as a way to move our people forward. We thought it was the perfect word to describe an oral history project that was initiated by and is further inspiring a progressive community development organization.

At the beginning of the pandemic, we embarked on a journey to capture oral histories from as many of the living legends and emerging leaders in our community as we could. We called them our Storytellers. We started by recording  on zoom because we were so uncertain about gathering back then, and later moved onto in-person interviews.

Our Storyteller interviews featured people from across generations, with an emphasis on elders in our community who have given in service for many years. They were conducted by a team of eight young interns, high school and college-aged, who learned the process of ethnographic interviewing as well as skills in videography. By working with professionals like anthropologist Dr. Alisa Perkins, radio,TV and film producer Malikah Shabazz, and documentary-maker Razi Jafri, we prepared these eight interns to produce the best content possible.

Two years later, on May 14th, 2022, we gathered with our community to officially launch the storytellers project to celebrate and recognize the work our young interns have put in to collect 50 precious oral histories from our local Black Muslim community. At the Sankofa event, we also were given the opportunity to recruit another cohort of youth for another 50 testimonials that will further move the project forward.

From there, students at several universities helped edit and transcribe the interviews so they could be stored in a fully-accessible public archive, available for anyone to benefit from, now into the distant future. We believe that authors and researchers will find priceless value in these recordings for years; that people of every age and background can find inspiration in these stories; and that other communities will find a model for documenting their significant histories as well.


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"The true life that God wants for all people—not one people—their true life is a life of cooperation… community life!"
- Imam W.D. Mohammed