Article Community Service

Finding Common Grounds in a Diverse Community

Finding Common Grounds in a Diverse Community

Author Na’Aisha Malika Austin by

Responsive image

The authors' views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of Also, the comments posted on this Website are solely the opinions of the posters

Common Grounds: Coffee+ Convert-sations is an event hosted by newly founded grassroots community based organization Urban Ummah. Each event seeks to create a space which allows attendees and supporters of all backgrounds, sects, ideologies, ethnicities and faith levels, whether Muslim or from another religion to convene together for a night of entertainment which intends to inspire as often raw yet heartfelt stories about conversion, reversion, and coming into faith are shared in the tradition of testimony and storytelling. Coffee + Convert-­sations was co-­founded by Bay Area (California) friends Ny’imah Byrd and Jaasmeen Hamed out of a need to arouse the spirits, energy, faith and fun loving vibrations of the city of Atlanta.

While Atlanta is known for its events and active residents, there are pockets within the Muslim communities that often miss out on tapping into the vast creative, artisanal and intellectual millennials. The co-founders were very much in need for inspiration and reaffirmation of faith for themselves, as well as their love for art, therefore began this event.

“After our first event, we realized that this event was not just something fun for people, but that it was therapeutic, and community was being formed from among the participants and crowd,”
says Byrd in a recent interview.

Common Grounds: Coffee +Convert-sations is an event established through Urban Ummah, which is a grassroots community-based collective of artists, community activists, and spiritual seekers which hopes to provide a 3rd space, or, an alternative semi-sacred space outside of the mosque that looks to develop programming to fit the needs of a growing, diverse and active community in Atlanta.

The whole idea is to enhance and “enrich who we are as individuals,” says co-­founder Ny'imah. In the months to come there will be additional programming added, catering towards the specific needs of needs of young adults and youth with an open and holistic perspective that encourages them to be apart of the greater community, seek sacred knowledge, yet have a space where they can be themselves without feeling religious pressure or intimidation.

Convert­-sations is an event where people from all communities, races, ethnicities, levels of faith and practice can come together to share great energy, hear powerful and honest stories of others struggles and triumphs in coming to, leaving and/or returning to the faith of Islam. It humanizes the experience of a personal struggle and makes it relatable, understood and inspiring for others to change their perspectives, hearts, and minds on how we view one another. Friendships are formed, bonds are ­tightened and hearts are connected from the beautiful and humbling energy that Common Grounds extracts from the souls of attendees. For sure it is an event that is NOT to be missed.

The next Common Grounds: Coffee + Convert­sations will be on Saturday October 18th at Hodgepodge Coffeehouse and Gallery at 7:30 p.m.. Tickets are $12, sold online only, increasing to $14 after October 14. Purchase a ticket for yourself and a friend at:

Free Weekly Emails

Sponsored by:

Responsive image