CHICAGO—The residents of Chicago’s South Side can now receive safe, affordable, and practical health care, within their own community. On July 25, the Salaam Community Wellness Center held its grand opening at 613 E. 67th Street.
“A Holistic Healing Space” is the center’s motto. Founders, Dr. Constance Shabazz and Abdul Akbar (Kurt) Muhammad, want to work to address the numerous health issues plaguing the people in the area. The center will focus on utilizing integrative modalities, including western medicine and eastern healing therapies (acupuncture, Tai Chi, yoga, chi gong and more).
The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan stated in his book, “A Torchlight for America”:
“The leading causes of death for Blacks and Whites are: heart disease, cancer, hypertension, and cerebrovascular disease, acci- Salaam Community Wellness Center opens in Chicago dents, homicide and legal intervention, pneumonia and influenza, diabetes, lung disease, AIDS, cirrhosis and liver disease, and suicide.” Blacks are disproportionately impacted by preventable diseases.
“About half of all deaths, or a million lives each year, are accounted for by heart disease and cancer. In every different cause of death, the death rate for Blacks is on average about 55 percent greater than death rates for Whites,” the Minister continued.
These are the problems the Salaam Community Wellness Center will address. Dr. Shabazz pointed out that along with numerous health issues, many Black and Brown communities on Chicago’s South Side had two to three times infections and deaths from Covid-19 due to unaddressed underlying health conditions.
To help combat these issues, Akbar Muhammad instituted the teachings of How to Eat to Live by the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad as a service the center will offer. An on-site nutritionist will be available to offer educational classes on proper nutrition and guide clients on how to heal with the right foods.
“I don’t get enamored by spaces; I get enamored by the work that we do within those spaces. That’s what this is for. This is a beautiful space and I know that for all of us who had been working very hard this past year and a half, that this is really a testament and inspiration and a realization of all the work we have done. The team has been so arduous and dedicated to this whole project and made this the holistic healing space, that is going to help this community,” said Dr. Shabazz.
Opening soon next door to the center is Let’s Eat to Live restaurant, headed by Carmella Muhammad. “The restaurant is complimentary to the Salaam Wellness Center. The food is going to be upscale, healthy, and accommodate everyone. There will be a vegetarian chef, as well as a vegan chef,” stated Carmella Muhammad.
Amir Madyun is director of nutrition services and secretary of the center. “There’s an empty lot next door and we’re going to make that into a garden. The community not only should have a garden, but people need to learn how to garden. In their backyards they need to have fresh produce, because that’s really how you eat to live,” he explained.
Residents gathered at the grand opening to show their support. “I feel hopeful and I’m happy to see that there’s new life coming back to Woodlawn in this particular block,” said Jessica Terry, a longtime community resident.
“I’m the secretary of the Haqq Institute, and we’re going to be neighbors of the Salaam Community Wellness Center, so of course I had to come out and celebrate and support them,” stated Janice West.
“We will be dealing with health care and true health care. We will be dealing with a nonprofit aspect of it. We are depending on donations to be able to assist those that are less fortunate because equality in health care is not real when it’s all based on the amount of money you have,” explained Abdul Akbar “Kurt” Muhammad.
“We have a couple of hospitals that we’re partnering and networking with for referrals,” he added.
Rates of mental illness, substance abuse and suicides have dramatically increased since Covid-19 while services to address these conditions have decreased. However, clients can utilize a mental health counselor and substance abuse counselor at the center.
The Salaam Community Wellness Center services are open to everyone, regardless of income. For more information and for client services, visit salaamcwc.org.
Shawntell Muhammad can be contacted at [email protected]