Illinois law will allow athletes to modify uniforms for cultural, religious reasons

Illinois is the first state to adopt a new law providing students flexibility to modify their sports uniforms.

The Inclusive Athletic Attire Act allows student athletes, male or female, the freedom to modify sports uniforms according to their cultural, religious, physical comfort and modesty preferences without the need for a waiver or a penalty.

“I started running cross country in my freshman year of high school. That was the year I started wearing hijab (Islamic head covering),” said Ayah Aldadah, 21, a student athlete at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who testified in favor of the law before a House committee hearing in March. “I know that I am representing a lot of Muslim girls who probably would want to do the same, but they don't know (if they can).”

The legislation was backed by a variety of interfaith communities, said Maaria Mozaffar of Plainfield, director of advocacy and policy for the Illinois Muslim Civic Coalition who wrote the legislation.

“Hijab is one example, but it's definitely not the only example,” Mozaffar said. “What we are seeing is a shift in the global dialogue of how women athletes are treated versus male athletes. So much emphasis is put on what their uniforms look like versus their athletic skills. We need to create spaces for all types of athletes to participate in Illinois sports. We are going to see this trend throughout the country.”

Banned books

Libraries across the suburbs will call attention to attempts to censor books as part of the American Library Association's annual Banned Books Week, running through Oct. 2.

This year's theme is “Books Unite Us. Censorship Divides Us.”

In 2020, the ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom tracked 156 challenges to library, school and university materials and services, affecting 273 books addressing racism, racial justice and stories of people who are LGBTQ, Black, Indigenous, people of color, immigrants and refugees.

No. 1 on the ALA's 2020 Top 10 Most Challenged Books list is “George” by Alex Gino, for its LGBTQIA+ content.

Also on the list is “Something Happened in Our Town: A Child's Story About Racial Injustice,” by Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins and Ann Hazzard and illustrated by Jennifer Zivoin. It was challenged for “divisive language” and because it was thought to promote anti-police views.

Award-winning bestselling author Jason Reynolds is the inaugural Banned Books Week 2021 Honorary Chair. Two of Reynolds' books, “All American Boys” (with Brendan Kiely) and “Stamped: Racism, Antiracism and You” (with Ibram X. Kendi), also made the Top 10 list.

A conversation with Reynolds will be livestreamed from noon to 1 p.m. Tuesday on the Banned Books Week Facebook page. Reynolds will discuss censorship, young people's literature and the ways books bring people together.

Interfaith relations

Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, the archbishop of Chicago, will participate in a virtual panel discussion with other religious leaders about Christian-Muslim relations from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday (Sept. 27).

The panel will discuss Pope Francis' global leadership and promotion of interreligious friendship. Topics include the 2019 signing of the Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together by the pope and Ahmed Al-Tayyeb, the grand imam of Al-Azhar; the pope's March visit to Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, a revered Shia cleric, in Najaf, Iraq, and with Christian leaders in Iraq.

The event is sponsored by Georgetown University's Office of the President, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding and the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs.

Register for the Zoom webinar at The session will be livestreamed on the Berkley Center's YouTube channel,

Latino gala

Centro de Informacion will host its Pillar of Hope virtual gala Thursday celebrating the group's 49th year serving the Elgin community.

The public can join starting 6 p.m. after a special 15-minute segment for sponsors and ticketed guests. For a link to the gala, visit

The event will feature stories about real people helped by the center, a video tribute for Hispanic Heritage Month, musical entertainment and an auction.

Awards will be presented to Elgin Fresh Markets and Gail Borden Public Library.

“The Elgin Fresh Market has always supported not only our galas but our ongoing programs to meet the hunger needs of our families,” said Jaime Garcia, executive director of Centro. “This month being Hispanic Heritage month, Gail Borden Library once again has created a meaningful display even though we could not have our usual festivities.”

Education walk

More than 150 people participated in Pratham Chicago's annual Chicago 5K Walk at Busse Woods on Sept. 12.

The event helped raise awareness and funds for Pratham's education programs for underprivileged children in India.

The second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has had devastating effects on families and communities in India. School closures due to lockdowns are resulting in significant learning loss among children, organizers said.

“This year's Pratham 5K walk was our first in-person event in nearly two years and was very successful,” said Srinivas Reddy, president of Pratham Chicago.

For information on future events, visit

Latinx inclusion

McHenry County College will explore “Latinx Inclusion” in language, literature and learning as part of its latest educational speaker series.

The session will be held virtually and in person at 6 p.m. Thursday, in the Crystal Lake college's conference center.

“The Latinx population makes up the largest portion of our county's diversity, but unfortunately, they are often left out of American curriculum,” said Kate Midday, MCC English department instructor. “Latinx literature is not often found on required reading lists and Latina literature even less so. This session will provide actionable steps we can take to help ensure that all students and neighbors are represented, respected and understood.”

Midday will include original research from her 2021 Latinx and Literature study. Attendees will be supplied a reading list and potential ideas for curriculum.

The session, to be conducted via Zoom, is free and open to the public. Registration is required for participation. Register at

Gandhi birthday celebration

Poplar Creek Public Library in Streamwood will host a celebration Saturday marking the 152nd birthday of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi.

The event will run from 2 to 5 p.m. at the library, 1405 S. Park Ave. It is organized by the Chicago Coalition for Human Rights in India and the Indian American Muslim Council.

Gandhi, known as the Mahatma and the Father of the Republic of India, inspired a nonviolence movement later adopted by civil rights activist the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and the late Nelson Mandela, former president of South Africa and an anti-apartheid revolutionary.

The keynote speaker is Sam Pitroda, an internationally renowned inventor, entrepreneur, development thinker and policymaker who headed India's National Knowledge Commission.

For more information, contact or Asad Khan at (630) 747-7869.

RSVP online at

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Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, the archbishop of Chicago, will participate in a virtual panel discussion with other religious leaders about Christian-Muslim relations Monday. Courtesy of Chicago Catholic
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