State urges minority-owned businesses to apply for pandemic aid
State officials are urging minority-owned businesses to apply for $175 million in COVID-19 relief available through the Business Interruption Grant program.
The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity has issued 4,000 grants, of which nearly 2,000 were awarded to minority-owned businesses. More than $28 million went to minority-owned businesses in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake and McHenry counties.
The program, launched in response to the pandemic, prioritizes businesses experiencing the most significant interruptions in economically distressed communities and hardest hit sectors.
"The vast majority of businesses that are applying are restaurants and taverns," DCEO Director Erin Guthrie said. "We've also seen some event spaces ... quinceañera and wedding dress shops. It is pretty diverse."
Latino-owned businesses particularly are underrepresented, making up 10% of grantees. "We really want to see more Latinx businesses apply," Guthrie said.
The department has ramped up outreach efforts toward Latino communities through Spanish language staff and resources available on its website, webinars, phone campaigns, and community partners.
Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. For more information, visit www2.illinois.gov/dceo/.
Celebrating world cultures
Elgin Community College will celebrate the cultures, history and food of its international students and employees during a virtual International Week, Monday through Friday.
The college has 44 international students from 19 countries, including China, India, Mexico and Vietnam.
"Zooming Around the World" will be broadcast live on the ECC Student Life Facebook page, facebook.com/StudentLifeECC.
Each day will focus on a different part of the world, honoring cultures from Asia/Pacifica, Africa, Europe, and the Americas. The week will include international students reflecting on their cultures and life in the U.S., videos of cultural performances from the Multicultural Education Group of Elgin and Kruccus International, an international-focused trivia challenge and live cooking demonstrations. For details, visit elgin.edu/internationalweek.
School board appointee
The Algonquin-based Community Unit District 300 school board recently appointed Emmanuel Thomas to a vacant seat on the board.
Thomas, 50, of Dundee Township, will replace Mary McNicholas who resigned from the board in October.
A district parent, Thomas has 31 years of experience in public service, including with the U.S. military and as postmaster for the U.S. Postal Service. He has master's degrees in instruction and curriculum and organizational leadership management, and a bachelor's degree in criminal justice. He was selected from among eight candidates who applied for the vacancy after an interview with board members.
Thomas will be sworn-in at Tuesday's school board meeting, which begins 6:30 p.m. at District 300's Central Office, 2500 Harnish Drive, Algonquin.
Wheelchairs for Africa
First Presbyterian Church in Aurora collected 50 wheelchairs, 106 walkers, and 26 crutches and canes in a Wheels for Africa drive during October.
"It was a great response," said the Rev. Karen Roberts, church disability pastor and drive coordinator.
Roberts, of Sugar Grove, said the equipment will be transported to various prison facilities nationwide to be restored and refurbished by trained inmates. The equipment will be shipped in containers to Kenya and Ethiopia, where teams from Living with Hope or Joni and Friends of Chicago will distribute it to people with disabilities.
Congregation Kneseth Israel of Elgin will commemorate Kristallnacht, "The Night of Broken Glass," with a special virtual presentation on "Surviving the Holocaust in Shanghai," 7 p.m. Nov. 9.
On Nov. 9, 1938, Kristallnacht marked the beginning of a pogrom against Jews, Jewish businesses, synagogues and homes throughout Nazi Germany, resulting in shattered glass covering streets like glistening crystal, prompting the name.
Gale Jacoby will tell the story of the survival of Kurt Jacoby and his family, their escape from Germany and journey to Shanghai. The Chinese coastal city became a safe haven for more than 20,000 European Jews. Register at us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZwvdOyhqjotHtHvuLnoUO_y7hELB8tMYhE3.
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