Civics Awareness Series to spotlight 'Latinx Issues in the Suburbs' Aug. 11

Immigrants from Latin America have been a positive force in our suburban communities for over 100 years.

From the earliest Mexican immigrants who arrived to work on the railroads and live in boxcar camps, to the Latinx entrepreneurs who today help keep suburban downtowns alive, the suburban cultural and economic landscape has been shaped by the contributions of Latinos.

On Thursday, Aug. 11, the next Civic Awareness Series will focus on "Latinx Issues in the Suburbs." The program is sponsored by Cantigny Park and Leagues of Women Voters of Roselle-Bloomingdale, Central Kane County, Glen Ellyn, and Wheaton.

Join Mexican Cultural Center DuPage Board chair Sara Phalen to learn about the history of immigration to DuPage and the surrounding area, and how Latinx immigrants have often struggled to have an equal voice in this region.

Phalen will be joined by Elizabeth Cervantes, co-founder and the director of organizing with the Southwest Suburban Immigrant Project, who will discuss naturalization challenges facing immigrants and needed reforms.

The program will begin at 7 p.m. in the Le Jardin room at Cantigny Park, 1S151 Winfield Road in Wheaton and virtually via Zoom. Register at participate virtually.

Cervantes is co-founder and the director of organizing with the Southwest Suburban Immigrant Project, an immigrant rights organization in Chicago's southwest suburbs. In her current role, she oversees the implementation of civic and youth leadership programs and leads advocacy efforts for issue-based campaigns that the Southwest Suburban Immigrant Project is part of, at the local, state, and federal levels. She has been advocating for change and justice for the immigrant community since 2009. Her involvement with policy and community organizing began in college as an immigrant student herself.

Phalen is active in West Chicago, serving on the boards of the Mexican Cultural Center DuPage, People Made Visible/Gallery 200, and the West Chicago Historical Society. She joined the West Chicago Museum staff in 2006 as a summer intern and continued with the museum in the roles of education coordinator and registrar. In 2013, she became the director/curator. Additionally, she is a core team member of Healthy West Chicago and a commissioner on the Cultural Arts Commission.

Registration is not required to attend in person and entrance to Cantigny is free if you tell the parking attendant you are attending the Civic Awareness Series.

You can submit your questions to During the presentation, virtual participants can use the Q&A button located at the bottom of the Zoom screen.

Are you a teacher? Illinois teachers can earn 1.5 PD credits for watching the presentation and filling out a short PD activity. You must sign up for the webinar and register to be on the teacher list for the PD activity and ISBE forms.

The League of Women Voters provides information on topics that impact our local, state, and federal government. The League works to increase understanding of major public policy issues and influences public policy through education and advocacy. With over 100 years of experience and more than 800 local and state affiliations, the League is one of America's most trusted grass-roots organizations. The League does not support, endorse or oppose political candidates. Membership in the League is open to people ages 16 and older.

For more information about the League's events and monthly meetings, or to become a member of the League of Women Voters, contact one of the following leagues:

• Roselle/Bloomingdale: or or contact Roberta Borrino at (630) 283-2894.

• Central Kane County: or

• Glen Ellyn:

• Wheaton, serving Carol Stream, Warrenville, West Chicago, Wheaton and Winfield: or

For more information on the League of Women Voters of the United States, visit, or for the League of Women Voters of Illinois, visit

Cantigny Park, part of the Chicago-based Robert R. McCormick Foundation, is the 500-acre estate of Robert R. McCormick (1880-1955), longtime editor and publisher of the Chicago Tribune. It is home to the McCormick House, First Division Museum, formal gardens, picnic grounds, walking trails, and a Visitors Center with banquet and meeting facilities, cafe, gift shop, and theater. More information is online at, including hours, directions, and upcoming events., including hours, directions, and upcoming events.

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