Did You Eat Yet? April 2023


Friend, salaam and helloooo!

It’s Mehlam and Kiran from HEART To Grow writing y’all to say Ramadan Mubarak and to remind you that there is no one way of being Muslim. HEART is a national nonprofit working to promote sexual health, uproot gendered violence, and advance reproductive justice by establishing choice and access for the most impacted Muslims.

Mehlam (he/they) here!! I am a born-and-raised Houstonian and a proud member of my big, loud, multi-generational Pakistani immigrant family. I LOVE tending to my houseplant collection, trying out the newest viral Tik Tok recipe, and working through my Goodreads list (send any fantasy/sci-fi recs my way)!

Hi! I’m Kiran (she/her). I’m a proud Vermonter, older sister, and a lover of all things yellow. I love reading and am always looking for book recs, so if you have any, send them to me and I’ll add them to my (already too long) to-be-read list.

Ramadan can be a beautiful time for community building, reflection, and spiritual renewal. It can also be physically, mentally, and spiritually intense, and isolating for some. We’re here at HEART to say: we see you and however you practice Ramadan is valid. 


Kiran: Ramadan can bring up a lot of complicated feelings for me. But one thing I can say is that anywhere the masjid kids are is where I want to be!


Mehlam: Ramadan is most definitely a tricky time! Navigating messy subjects like purity, belonging, and community on top of observing Ramadan is enough to make my head spin. This year, I’m focusing on growth and healing by hosting weekly book clubs with friends, trying out fun recipes for Iftaar, and moving my body. This helps me feel centered and replenished so I can get up the next day and do it all over again. Like Kiran, I want to shout out my big, vibrant community for your acts of service, kindness, and understanding this year!

This book has been one of my go-to-reads this Ramadan. Reading it while at the masjid has been so reaffirming and such a reclamation of faith! What an amazing, amazing book! And I can’t forget the gender-affirming, non-judgemental, and faith-inspired approach to sex education book we wished we had growing up, The Sex Talk! It’s the book we need for our community. Apply before May 31st and get paid to join our book club! 


And I never find myself running out of books to read with this Islamic Liberation reading list.

Kiran: This year, my favorite Ramadan moment has been protesting rent hikes and baking bread with my aunties! A landlord tried to increase the rent on one of the few BIPOC and Muslim- owned restaurants in Vermont. So naturally, we had to protest! Check out some pictures and videos of us protesting while the yeast rose for our (moon shaped!) pull apart bread. And shout-out to all my friends, both Muslim and not, who help me deepen in intentionality, compassion, and justice this Ramadan <3  

Spark some change this Ramadan (Zakat or not) with HEART’s Survivor Care Fund. This pool of resources directly supports survivors of violence seeking safety, helping them access critical services like:

  • Legal fees to support survivors in accessing legal advice, protection orders, or processes like divorce.
  • Housing and rent support for survivors who are houseless, facing housing insecurity, or need access to emergency shelter.
  • Immigration fees to support survivors in securing visas or work permits.
  • Transportation fees to help survivors get to and from work and pick up their kids from school.
  • Household fees to help cover basic necessities like food, diapers, and utilities.

Our goal is $65,000 so we can continue empowering survivors to get and stay safe. Spark the change. 

And join the movement by applying to join our PAID community-led book clubs! Open to all Muslim youth 18-25, book clubs leds will:

  • Receive $1500 to co-facilitate a seven week book club
  • Gain experience with community based research 
  • Receive training on trauma-informed facilitation 
  • An opportunity to offer your feedback and influence HEART programming 
  • Receive technical support from HEART
  • An opportunity to meet and organize with other Muslim youth leaders from around the country!

Thank you for joining us this month!

With gratitude, love, and Rahma,

Kiran & Mehlam from HEART + Irma, Bianca, Turner, Sharmin, Charlene, Kari, Leyen, and Brenda – the 18MR Team

P.S. If you’ve enjoyed reading our monthly newsletter, would you chip in $5 so we can keep inviting rad guest editors?


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