Suburban Mosaic: Art and activism go hand in hand for this Huntley senior

From a young age, Elaine Kadakia of Huntley has been passionate about art and activism, devoting her life to pursuing both with equal fervor.

Now the 82-year-old is being featured in her first solo exhibit at McHenry County College in Crystal Lake, where she has been taking ceramics classes for several years.

As a young adult, Kadakia took weekend art classes at the Art Institute of Chicago, and later in college pursued a Bachelor of Arts degree there with an emphasis in art education.

“We worked in all different kinds of modules — plastics, ceramics, drawing, painting,” she said.

Kadakia's “A Journey in Ceramic Activist Art” runs through Aug. 31, in artspace 144, just outside the doors to the MCC gym in Building A, 8900 Route 14. She also will be available at an artist's reception from 2 to 4 p.m. Thursday at the college. It is free and open to the public.

For more than 30 years, Kadakia has been an advocate for protecting and advancing women's rights, working with the American Association of University Women. She marched with her daughters in the 1976 Equal Rights Amendment rally in Springfield and more recently has participated in rallies supporting the “Me Too” movement and reproductive rights.

One of Kadakia's first pieces created in her ceramics classes at MCC was “Hidden Women,” a series of three sculptures inspired by women in burqas. The piece is featured in the exhibit.

Minority donors

The need for minority organ, eye and tissue donors remains high, according to Itasca-based Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network.

Minorities make up nearly six out of every 10 people waiting for lifesaving organs in the U.S., but only three in 10 are registered organ, eye and tissue donors, the group said, underscoring the need to raise awareness during National Minority Donor Awareness Month.

Gift of Hope and its donation partners and advocates join Donate Life America and the Association for Multicultural Affairs in Transplantation to observe this month each year.

The campaign honors the lifesaving gifts and legacies of minority donors, shares facts about donation and encourages registration and family conversation.

While donated organs are not matched with recipients according to race or ethnicity, compatible blood types and tissue markers — critical qualities for donor and recipient matching — are more likely to be found among members of the same ethnicity.

The chance of long-term survival for transplant recipients may be greater if the donor and recipient share a similar genetic background, the group says.

Muslim poll

On Thursday, the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding will host a webinar on the “American Muslim Poll 2022: A Politics and Pandemic Status Report.”

The 2022 poll presents an updated demographic profile of American Muslims, a deeper look into the Islamophobia Index, an update on civic engagement statistics, and an investigation into opinions on hot-button issues that impact all Americans.

The webinar on the report's findings will explore Muslim experiences with religious discrimination or faith-based bullying, how American Muslims experience Islamophobia, and how it impacts their lives. To join the 2 p.m. Zoom webinar, register at

Indian roots

“Desi Roots and Wings,” a recently opened exhibition at the National Indo-American Museum in Lombard, explores the heritage and experiences of Indian immigrants to the United States.

It addresses the word “Desi,” which refers to people who trace their roots to the Indian subcontinent, the diversity of the diaspora, immigration and historic challenges to obtaining citizenship, as well as the cultural music, dance, and food.

Museum/exhibition hours are 1 to 5 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. Group tours are available by appointment. Admission is $5, and free for children 12 and younger. The museum is located at 815 S. Main St.

Back-to-school haircuts

For the second year, several Elgin-area barbershops recently banded together to provide free back-to-school haircuts and hairdos for students in need.

The event was held Aug. 14, at the Boys and Girls Club of Elgin.

“We had 50 barbers and we serviced 115 kids,” said Wilbur Dumas Jr., who spearheaded the effort.

At last year's event, Dumas and fellow barbers provided 42 free haircuts as attendance was limited due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dumas, 39, opened Lincoln Avenue Barbershop in Elgin five years ago because he wanted to give back to his community. He is a product of the Boys and Girls Club and a graduate of Larkin High School in Elgin.

People were waiting in line for haircuts hours before doors opened at 10 a.m. Organizers also distributed backpacks filled with donated school supplies and free food to all who showed up, Dumas said.

“We plan on doing this every year and it's going to get bigger and bigger,” Dumas said. “Hopefully, we can keep using the Boys and Girls Club facility.”

LGBTQ advisory board

The Aurora City Council on Tuesday will consider establishing an LGBTQ Advisory Board.

The idea was proposed by Adam Pauley, a 2020 graduate of Aurora Central Catholic High School, a member of the Kane County Regional Office of Education board and a Republican precinct committeeman. It unanimously was endorsed by the Aurora's Rules, Administration and Procedures Committee earlier this month.

The LGBTQ Advisory Board would join a diverse group of established community advisory boards representing a variety of residents and their interests, including disability, veterans, African American Heritage, Hispanic Heritage, youth council, Indian American Community Outreach, and civilian review.

It would have nine board members who help the city organize, support and promote events recognizing June as Pride Month; encourage the education, advocacy and community involvement of LGBTQ youth; and help promote greater awareness and cross-cultural understanding among other goals.

The city council meets at 6 p.m. in the second floor council chambers at Aurora City Hall, 44 E. Downer Place.

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One the first pieces Elaine Kadakia created in her ceramics classes at McHenry County College was "Hidden Women," a series of three sculptures inspired by women in burqas. Courtesy of McHenry County College
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