Suburban Mosaic: Racial Equity Week events begin today in Cook County

Cook County's fifth annual Racial Equity Week will run today through Friday with in-person and virtual events.

“Each year, we update the public on how Cook County has worked to advance racial equity through policy and practice, as well as highlight the work of our partners and advocates,” said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.

The week kicks off with a virtual viewing today through Wednesday of the Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project via Vimeo,, password: CookCounty2023.

It features short documentary films that delve into identity and experience for the Black Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) and LGBTQ+ communities. A 60-minute moderated panel discussion with Cook County and filmmakers will be held on Tuesday.

Other scheduled events include:

• Today — 7 p.m., Cook County United Against Hate Panel will discuss hate crime investigations, remedies, victim support resources and mental health services, at Prospect Heights Public Library, 12 N. Elm St., and livestreamed at Cook County Commissioner Scott Britton and representatives from the Cook County Sheriff's Office, state's attorney, and the Department of Human Rights and Ethics will participate in the discussion.

• Tuesday — Noon, 60-minute moderated discussion with Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project producers and filmmakers. Watch the livestream at

• Thursday — Noon, Knowing your Rights & Responsibilities: Anti-Discrimination Protections at All Levels of Government. Watch the livestream at Representatives from the Illinois Department of Human Rights, Chicago Commission on Human Relations, and Cook County Commission on Human Rights will talk about human rights protections at the city, county, and state levels.

• Thursday — 6 p.m., Cook County Equity Fund public hearing. Watch the livestream at Preckwinkle launched the Cook County Equity Fund Taskforce in 2021. The 50-member panel advises the county administration on strategic investments addressing historical disparities and disinvestment, particularly in Black and Latino communities. Officials will provide an overview and updates from the county bureaus, departments, and partner organizations.

For a complete list of events, visit the county website

Earthquake relief

The Illinois Muslim Chamber of Commerce has teamed up with Helping Hand for Relief and Development to raise funds for people affected by a powerful earthquake in Morocco.

More than 2,000 people were killed, and the death toll is expected to rise as rescuers struggle to reach hard-hit remote areas.

The 6.8 magnitude quake that struck late Friday night is the biggest to hit the North African country in 120 years. At least 2,012 people died, mostly in Marrakech and five provinces near the epicenter, and at least 2,059 more people were injured, Morocco's Interior Ministry reported.

Donate toward earthquake relief at HHRD.Org/MoroccoEQ2023.

Also, the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) Foundation is raising funds to deliver aid to the region. SAMS is working with local partners on the ground to rush emergency relief to quake survivors.

Donate at

Latino oral history

The Chicagolandia Oral History Project documents the lives, work and culture of Latinx suburban communities while exploring their impact on the changing nature of Chicago and its suburbs.

Antonio Ramirez, project director and associate professor of Latino history at Elgin Community College, will talk about the project on Wednesday at this year's César Chavéz Intercultural Lecture at Elmhurst University.

Ramirez is co-director of ECC's new Center for Civic Engagement. He has worked as a historical consultant for the National Park Service, a journalist, a bilingual high school teacher and an educator of agricultural migrant workers. He also served as director of outreach and leadership development at a transnational migrant rights legal center in central Mexico, and as an organizer of low-wage workers in Chicago.

The César Chavéz Intercultural Lecture begins at 4 p.m. in the Founders Lounge of the Frick Center.

Admission is free and open to the public. Reservations are encouraged at

Latino gala

Centro de Información in Elgin will host its annual benefit gala at 6 p.m. Sept. 30, at Q Center, 1405 N. 5th Ave., in St. Charles.

This year's theme is “Taking Flight: New Beginnings, New Joys.” The center's staff capacity has doubled in the last 12 months to better meet increased demand for services. Administrators have been developing a new strategic plan to best serve the projected growth in the state's Latino population, estimated to be 3.5 million people — 30% of Illinois' total population — by 2040.

Centro's team of caseworkers trained to welcome new immigrants has seen more than four times as many clients in the fiscal year that ended June 30. The nonprofit has helped thousands of clients since its founding 51 years ago. Its mission is to empower Hispanics to effectively integrate into the greater community through facilitation of information, education, citizenship and well-being.

This year's gala will feature a lead singer and musician from Venezuela who won last spring's Elgin Area School District U-46 TalentFest. A digital adaptation of artwork by Mexican American artist Cristina Colunga of Elgin also will be featured.

For tickets, visit

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Antonio Ramirez
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