Suburban Mosaic: Elgin library exhibit kicks off Hispanic Heritage Month
A colorful collection of ethnic costumes from the Ballet Folklorico Huehuecoyotl is on display in the main rotunda of Gail Borden Public Library in Elgin this month.
The no-touch, bilingual exhibit is part of the library's Hispanic Heritage Month celebration, which normally kicks off mid-September.
It commemorates the group's 25th anniversary of performing traditional Mexican folkloric dance at the library and in the Elgin community. The group is an in-residence ensemble of the Elgin Community College Arts Center.
"We are proud to loan our outfits to the library," said Cynthia Hernandez, the group's executive director. "Our mission is 'to engage and inspire future leaders to realize their potential through artistic expression and community engagement.' Having our cultural outfits on display at the library helps us let people know in the community that we have been using dance to engage others for 25 years."
Gail Borden's bilingual exhibit traces the history of Latinos in the area.
Census data shows "19 natives of Mexico were living in Elgin Township" in 1930. Elgin's Latino population reached 14,576 in 1990, and has grown to about 52,000 by 2020 -- that's 45.7% of the city's 114,797 total population.
One exhibit panel explains workers were recruited from Mexico to become railroad section hands who dug up land and installed railroad tracks, including for the Elgin, Joliet and Eastern Railway. Many Latinos worked for the Woodruff & Edwards Foundry by the 1920s.
The exhibit includes information about Latino churches, organizations and Elgin Area School District U-46's dual language program.
Celebrating Latino culture
Gail Borden Library's Hispanic Heritage Month programs include:
• Mexican Independence Day Celebration, 1 to 2:30 p.m. Sept. 11, with the Mexican Organization of Elgin. Streamed via Facebook Live: gbpl.info/FBLV.
• An interactive musical performance by José-Luis Orozco, 2 p.m. Sept. 25 via Zoom. Register at gailborden.info/register.
• Celebrating Latino voices, history, traditions, culture and contributions, 1 to 2:30 p.m. Oct. 2 via Facebook Live: gbpl.info/FBLV.
For more information, visit gailborden.info/hhm.
Southern Illinois University in Carbondale is among 30 nationwide campuses, and the only Illinois higher education institution, to make Campus Pride's 2021 "Best of the Best LGBTQ-Friendly Colleges and Universities" list.
The ratings are based on the Campus Pride Index, which ranks 435 campuses, and specific LGBTQ-inclusive benchmark measures. An institution must score the highest percentages in LGBTQ-friendly policies, programs and practices.
SIU earned a 5-star ranking. Its LGBTQ Resource Center was among the reasons for the recognition. The center offers educational outreach, advocacy services and referral information along with support for LGBTQ students, faculty, staff members, families, alumni and friends.
Islamic sign language
Noor For Sign and Muslims Understanding and Helping Special Education Needs (MUHSEN) are hosting a virtual panel discussion from 6 to 7 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 12, featuring deaf Muslims who will share their experiences.
Panelists also will teach beginner Islamic sign language to participants.
Oak Brook-based MUHSEN is a nonprofit advocating for children and adults living with disabilities. It provides a range of programs and services helping Muslim communities across North America become more accessible and inclusive of people with disabilities.
Waubonsee Community College in Sugar Grove will host a mix of virtual and in-person programs for Hispanic Heritage Month through the college's new Latinx Resource Center at its downtown Aurora campus.
More than 30% of the college's students are Latino.
The events, honoring Latino culture's impact and influence on American society, are open to the public and will run from Sept. 15 through Oct. 15. They include:
• Learn how Waubonsee became a Hispanic-Serving Institution and meet its Latinx Resource Center staff members via Zoom, 10 a.m. Sept. 15 and 6:30 p.m. Sept. 22.
• A virtual discussion about traditional Latino medicinal remedies and practices for stress and anxiety, 11 a.m. Sept. 20.
• "Celebration of Latinx Cultures," 5 to 9 p.m. Oct. 1, at the downtown Aurora campus. The event includes music, dancing, activities, art, and food.
For a complete list, visit waubonsee.edu/lets-celebrate-latinx-hetitage-month.
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