Cook County residents unite against hate during Racial Equity Week

Cook County held a series of virtual and in-person educational events last week as part of its third annual Racial Equity Week.

Earlier in the week, the Cook County United Against Hate initiative hosted a moderated discussion about white supremacist indoctrination. Dozens of people participated in an interactive, outdoor community activation event Thursday at the Tyner Interpretive Center in Glenview to help participants learn and act against hate through art, social justice and cultural exchange.

“When white supremacists came to my doorstep in the spring to deliver dangerous and hateful antisemitic propaganda, it was a stark reminder that hate thrives in every shadow and we must do all we can to shine the light on justice and equality,” said Cook County Commissioner Scott Britton of Glenview.

Organizers unveiled a new “beacon-of-unity” symbol to counter symbols of hatred and racism and introduced a pledge challenging residents to denounce bigotry and intolerance of any kind, support those with different lived experiences, question hateful acts and learn to take social justice action.

Also during the week, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle provided an update to the county's implementation of a Racial Equity Policy and Racial Equity Action Plan, adopted in 2021.

“While we are committed to lifting up issues of equity throughout the entire year, we pause for a week every September to invite Cook County residents to join us in our efforts to make the county a more equitable place for all,” said Denise Barreto, the county's director of equity and inclusion. “Since last year, we have gathered data on our own organizational journey and used it to inform the next phases of our Racial Equity Action Plan.”

Mexican Independence

Hundreds gathered Friday in Aurora for the city's annual Mexican Flag Raising Ceremony celebrating Mexico's Independence Day.

The ceremony was hosted by the two Mexican Americans on the Aurora City Council — Ward 1 Alderman Emmanuel Llamas and Ward 2 Alderwoman Juany Garza — along with Deputy Mayor Guillermo Trujillo.

The celebration featured performances by 8-year-old Mariachi Ryan Cornejo, known as the “boy with the golden voice.”

Local teen author and poet Magalie Escobedo, 13, recited poetry from her new book, “My Mind,” dedicated to her parents who died last year.

Latinos make up 42.7% of the more than 179,000 residents of the state's second-largest city.

Hispanic scholarships

The Elgin Hispanic Network is accepting adult scholarship applications through Oct. 7.

The network's adult/non-traditional student scholarship program aims to help people ages 19 to 65 years old of Hispanic heritage pursuing an undergraduate college education or trade school.

Two adults will be awarded scholarships of up to $1,500 each in November to help cover expenses for the current academic year.

Download a scholarship application at

Pakistan flood relief

Helping Hand for Relief and Development is collecting monetary and in-kind donations for Pakistan flood relief through its Elmhurst center.

Since June, millions have been displaced by torrential monsoon rains and floods across large swathes of Pakistan. Flash floods have caused extensive damages to homes, roads, bridges and power stations.

Pakistan has declared this a humanitarian disaster of epic proportions. Up to five times the 30-year average rainfall has affected at least 33 million people, according to Pakistan officials.

More than 1,100 people have died — a third of them children — and the death toll is expected to rise as flash flooding continues. Nearly 1 million homes have been damaged or swept away, as have livestock, crops and orchards.

More than 3 million children are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance and at increased risk of waterborne diseases, drowning and malnutrition, UNICEF reports.

“Helping Hand has pledged that we will be spending $15 million for this emergency in Pakistan,” said Dr. Abdul Khaliq Ghauri of Villa Park, a retired physician and manager of health care and nutrition programs for Helping Hand, which provides the services in 16 countries. “We have developed some (donation) packages for the relief work.”

In-kind donations being accepted include new or gently used Eastern clothing, winter wear, bedding, children's toys and school supplies such as pencils, pens, sharpeners, erasers, shoes, baby clothes and women's handbags.

To schedule a drop-off of donations at the Elmhurst center or to volunteer call Amna Saeed, coordinator of in-kind drives, at (630) 440-0794.

For information, visit

SEL forum

Women United of Lake County will host a “Social Emotional Learning” virtual forum Monday addressing why such education is critical for young children.

The group's Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging Initiative is organizing the free forum from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

“For years we have focused on providing support to address academic needs in underserved communities and rightfully so. But we now have a better understanding that if we don't address social-emotional learning, there is no foundation or scaffolding to allow the academic support to take hold,” said Sandra Bankston, initiative co-chair.

Guest speakers include Ashley Cullen-Williams, student support specialist with the TRiO Educational Talent Search Scholars Program at the College of Lake County and a former counselor at Waukegan High School; Lesley Bracero, prekindergarten teacher at Greenwood Elementary School in Waukegan; and Michael Allen, a former principal and current educational leadership consultant with the Illinois Principals Association.

To register and receive a Zoom link, email

Hispanic heritage

The Fox River Valley Public Library District will host an after-hours outdoor celebration Friday, Sept. 23, in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month on the grounds of Dundee Library, 555 Barrington Ave. in East Dundee.

The program, which will run from 6 o 8 p.m., features Grupo De Danza Folklorica Quetzaly performing regional dances from Mexico. The library will provide baked goods, fresh drinks and creative crafts for the family friendly event. To register, visit

Latinx heritage

Elgin Community College's annual Latinx Heritage Month events include the second annual Fiesta en la Yarda

The celebration will be held from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Sept. 30 in the Green Space at Building C.

Participants can enjoy a movie night on the lawn watching “Encanto” and a special performance by Ballet Folklorico Huehuecoyotl. Two local Latino food trucks will serve tacos and churros and there will be free activity for children. This event is free and open to the community.

On Oct. 4, author Pascuala Herrera will reflect on her experiences as a member of the Latinx community and a person with disabilities by discussing her award-winning memoir, “Not Always a Valley of Tears.”

The presentation will combine storytelling and visual slides, covering a range of topics, including immigration, Latinx struggles and successes, disability and advocacy. It will run from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in ECC's Spartan Auditorium.

For information, call Student Life at (847) 214-7370 or visit

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  Michael McCarty, executive director of the Glenview Park District, speaks during the Cook County United Against Hate community activation event Thursday at the Tyner Interpretive Center in Glenview. Joe Lewnard/
  Cook County Commissioner Scott Britton of Glenview speaks about how white supremacists showed up at his door to promoting hate. Joe Lewnard/
  Anne Campbell of Palatine has her picture taken in a photo booth during the Cook County United Against Hate community activation event Thursday at the Tyner Interpretive Center in Glenview. Joe Lewnard/
Toni Preckwinkle
Denise Barreto
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