"Holding on to the Light of Faith: Black Muslims Coping with Covid-19, Social Unrest & Racial Violence"

with Kameelah Mu’Min Rashad (West Chester University of Pennsylvania & Muslim Wellness Foundation)

Tuesday, August 25, 2020 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Zoom Virtual Event

Dr. RashadBlack Muslims in the United States comprise 20-25% of the overall Muslim population in the United States, and nearly 60% of US born converts. Black Muslims are also ethnically diverse and reside in every region of the country. In cities like Detroit, Milwaukee, Chicago and NYC there are large concentrations of this population. Tragically the cities named above are experiencing disproportionate rates of Black Americans infected and dying due to the novel Coronavirus. Data related to racial disparities in numbers of reported positive Covid-19 cases and fatalities paint a grim picture. Black/African-Americans, including Black Muslims, are disproportionately impacted by the Covid-19 crisis due to several specific factors, including:  food insecurity in rural and urban areas, health disparities and inadequate access to quality healthcare due to racism and discrimination, political disenfranchisement and voter suppression, and poverty, incarceration and detainment. Further, as religious minorities, Black/African Americans are often rendered invisible in the discourse regarding the role of faith in Black communities due to Christian hegemony.
 
Muslim Wellness Foundation, in collaboration with University of Maryland, Baltimore County and National Black Muslim COVID Coalition recruited participants for the BlackCOVIDSurvey research project (May - June 2020). The purpose of the anonymous and confidential survey was to obtain information on the psychosocial, economic, and community impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in a national sample of Black/African Americans. 845 Black/African Americans responded to the survey, with nearly one-third identifying as Muslim.
 
The focus of this discussion is to offer an overview of how Black Muslims coping with Covid-19 and the sociopolitical climate based on their responses to the Black COVID Survey. This is the only survey to purposefully and thoughtfully work to engage and understand the lived experiences of Black Muslims in the US during this global crisis. Dr. Rashad will explore how the pandemic has shifted their religious practices,  impacted their physical and mental health and effected their financial and work experiences in various ways. This presentation will also highlight ways in which the community draws on spiritual and cultural resilience to resist oppression and make meaning of suffering, violence and white supremacy.

Kameelah Mu’Min Rashad, PsyD is the Founder and President of Muslim Wellness Foundation (MWF), a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting healing and emotional well-being in the American Muslim community through dialogue, education and training. She is also the founding co-Director of the National Black Muslim COVID Coalition, an initiative launched in collaboration with Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative to address need for effective planning, preparedness and organizing during the Covid-19 pandemic. Through Muslim Wellness Foundation, Dr. Rashad has established the annual Black Muslim Psychology Conference and the Deeply Rooted Emerging Leaders Fellowship for Black Muslim young adults. Dr. Rashad also serves as the Fellow for Spirituality, Wellness and Social Justice at the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn). She is the advisor to Penn Sapelo, the first Black Muslim student organization at UPenn, and served three years as the Muslim Chaplain at UPenn. Dr. Rashad’s clinical and research areas of interest include: spirituality in psychotherapy, mental health stigma in faith and minority communities, first generation college students and emerging adults of color; diversity, religious identity and multicultural issues in counseling, healing justice and faith based activism, racial trauma and healing, psychological impact of anti-Muslim bigotry and anti-Blackness, Black Muslim psychology and Black Muslim intersectional invisibility. Dr. Rashad graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a BA in Psychology and MEd in Psychological Services. She obtained further graduate education, earning a second Masters in Restorative Practices & Youth Counseling (MRP) from the International Institute for Restorative Practices. She completed her doctorate in Clinical Psychology, with a concentration in Couple and Family Therapy, at Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia, PA.