Suburban Mosaic: Aurora marks Puerto Rican community's 50 years of contributions

  • Aurora's Puerto Rican community this week is marking 50 years of heritage and activism in the state's second-largest city. A weeklong series of activities kicked off Saturday with a Puerto Rican Flag Raising Ceremony. Festivities conclude with the 50th annual Puerto Rican Heritage Festival from 1 to 9 p.m. Sunday.

    Aurora's Puerto Rican community this week is marking 50 years of heritage and activism in the state's second-largest city. A weeklong series of activities kicked off Saturday with a Puerto Rican Flag Raising Ceremony. Festivities conclude with the 50th annual Puerto Rican Heritage Festival from 1 to 9 p.m. Sunday. Courtesy of City of Aurora

  • Iris Martinez

    Iris Martinez

 
 
Updated 7/25/2022 6:16 AM

Aurora's Puerto Rican community this week is marking 50 years of heritage and activism in the state's second-largest city.

The city of Aurora and the Aurora Puerto Rican Cultural Council kicked off a weeklong series of activities Saturday with a Puerto Rican Flag Raising Ceremony. Mayor Richard Irvin also issued a special proclamation acknowledging Aurora Puerto Rican Heritage Week and the council's 50th anniversary.

 

The council was founded in 1972 as the Aurora Puerto Rican Parade Committee, which hosted the city's first Puerto Rican Parade.

Festivities this week include several events throughout the community and conclude with the 50th annual Puerto Rican Heritage Festival from 1 to 9 p.m. Sunday at Water Street Square, 65 S. Water St., downtown across from city hall.

Bystander training

Learn about the historical roots of anti-Asian harassment, Islamophobic and xenophobic harassment, and the 5Ds of bystander intervention to safely intervene when witnessing harassment, through free training offered by Advancing Justice-Chicago and Council on American-Islamic Relations Chicago.

The one-hour, interactive training will teach the bystander intervention methodology and the positive impact it has on individuals and communities. It will review five strategies for intervention: distract, delegate, document, delay, and direct; and how to prioritize personal safety while intervening.

Training sessions are scheduled for: 5 p.m. Thursday; 12:30 p.m. Aug. 10; 5 p.m. Aug. 25; 12:30 p.m. Sept. 7; and 5 p.m. Sept. 22. To register for Thursday's training, visit bit.ly/3OxugP8.

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To schedule private training for your corporation, organization, or community group, email antihate@advancingjustice-chicago.org.

Muslim report

The latest "Illinois Muslims Report," detailing the community's demographics, assets and needs, and providing a snapshot of who they are, will be released Thursday.

Illinois is home to the largest per capita Muslim population in the nation. Thousands of Illinois Muslims completed surveys, participated in focus groups and shared input providing insight into their communities. The report will address the biggest issues facing them and the assets the community brings to the table to help inform elected officials, philanthropy, corporations, media and community organizations on ways to strengthen and build a more inclusive Illinois.

Researchers from the Illinois Muslim Civic Coalition, University of Illinois, and Institute of Social Policy and Understanding have been working on the project for three years.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The report will be released during a reception from 4 to 5:30 p.m. in the Cardinal Room at the University of Illinois at Chicago, 750 S Halsted St. The hybrid event will provide an in-depth look at recommendations and findings for community leaders, partners, and state and local officials.

Joe Hoereth, UIC's adjunct lecturer and director of the Institute for Policy and Civic Engagement, and Dalia Mogahed, director of research at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, will present the findings. Attendees will include Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul, Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza, state Sen. Ram Villivalam of Chicago and state Rep. Theresa Mah of Chicago.

RSVP to attend in person or virtually at bit.ly/muslimsreport22.

Building Latino leaders

Coors Light will recognize five exceptional Latino community leaders who are making a difference through its Coors Light Líderes of the Year program.

Each winner will each receive a $10,000 grant for their nonprofit organization and join the exclusive ranks of the Change Makers Alumni Network. Nominations and applications are now open to Latino leaders across the U.S. and Puerto Rico through Aug. 31 at CoorsLightLideres.com.

Anyone can nominate themselves or others by filling out an application describing the transformational impact the nominee has made on their community, as well as the name of the nonprofit organization they represent. Nominees must be of Hispanic or Latino descent, between 21 and 39 years old, and actively associated with a 501c(3) nonprofit that impacts the Latino community. Recipients will be announced in October and honored during Hispanic Heritage Month.

Coors Light Líderes winners also will be welcomed into the Coors Light Change Makers Alumni Network -- a group of nearly 150 trailblazers who elevate each other, providing continued opportunities to network, share accomplishments, mentor, learn and grow.

Since the program's inception in 2006, 21 nonprofits have been awarded more than $400,000 in grants as beneficiary organizations of the Líderes.

For more information on the program and full eligibility, visit CoorsLightLideres.com.

Latina scholarship

Elgin Community College will host the first Latinas in Law Enforcement Scholarship Luncheon on Sept. 22.

The goal is to raise funds for scholarships supporting Latinas interested in pursuing a career in law enforcement. Money raised will go to the Elgin Community College Foundation to administer scholarships to Latina students who enroll in criminal justice courses at ECC, said Jo Ann Armenta, founder of the scholarship.

The program begins at 11:30 a.m. Sponsorship opportunities are available and tickets are $50 per person.

Iris Y. Martinez, clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County, will be the keynote speaker. The event will include special video remarks from civil rights activist Dolores Huerta, who with Cesar Chavez co-founded the National Farmworkers Association, which later became the United Farm Workers.

For more information or to sponsor the event, email Armenta at LatinasinLawEnforcement@gmail.com or call (847) 826-8020.

• Share stories, news and happenings from the suburban mosaic at mkrishnamurthy@dailyherald.com.

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