American Indians celebrate Hindu festival with three-day celebration in Aurora

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Thousands of American Indians gathered last week in an outdoor tent to celebrate the Hindu festival of Ganesh Chaturthi in Aurora.

The festival, which began on September 10 and ends on Tuesday, honors the birth of Lord Ganesh, known as “Remover of Obstacles” and “Lord of New Beginnings” in Hindu tradition. The deity is represented as a human with the head of an elephant.

A three-day celebration was organized by the nonprofit Fox Valley Ganesh Utsav Samithi. It included prayer services, performances for young people and a proclamation by the mayor of Aurora, Richard Irvin, in honor of the holiday.

“It’s pretty big here,” said alderman for Aurora Shweta Baid, 45, the first American Indian elected to city council. “Last year, due to COVID, no one was able to meet.”

More than 4,000 people from across the Chicago suburban area attended this year’s festival, organizers said.

Aurora is home to two Hindu temples, and the American Indians are one of the fastest growing ethnic communities. The community will celebrate two more Hindu festivals – Navaratri and Diwali – in October and November, Baid said.

Mexican Independence Day

Aurora and Elgin celebrated Mexican Independence Day, celebrated on September 16, with special ceremonies last week.

This day commemorates the moment Father Hidalgo, priest and leader, called for the liberation of Mexico from Spain in September 1810.

Elgin held his second annual festive car parade on Saturday. A caravan of 100 vehicles decorated with Mexican flags marched through the streets of the city honking their horns and blaring music as spectators waved flags along the parade route.

Aurora held its first Mexican flag raising ceremony on Thursday to mark the occasion and kick off the Hispanic Heritage Month festivities. The second largest city in the state is home to a large Mexican community.

Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin and Alderman Juany Garza, Alderman Emmanuel Llamas and Deputy Mayor Guillermo Trujillo – all Mexican-Americans – hosted the ceremony at the North Island Center in the heart of downtown.

The Mexican flag was hoisted on a stick next to the American flag.

Garza, an entrepreneur, represented the city’s predominantly Latin Quarter 2 for 16 years. She founded the Aurora Hispanic Pioneers Council.

Llamas, a 34-year-old lawyer, is the city’s youngest city councilor. He was born and raised in Ward 1, which he now runs.

Trujillo was an investigator for 30 years with the Aurora Police Department before becoming the city’s first Latino deputy mayor.

Over a dozen events are part of Aurora Avanzando (Aurora Forward) to mark Hispanic Heritage Month. For a list, visit aurora-il.org/AuroraAvanzando.

Support for refugees

Suburban residents can browse a collection of handmade clothing sewn by local refugee women available for sale between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Saturday, September 25 at the ICNA Relief Refugee Resource Center, 1793 Bloomingdale Road, Glendale Heights.

Items include crochet hats, blankets, pillow cases, tunic tops, aprons, pot holders, masks and decorative doilies.

Proceeds will be donated to ICNA Relief’s refugee empowerment program.

“This is an important way to support the hard work that refugee women do (…) refugee women as seamstresses.

Racial equity

Cook County has adopted a new racial equity policy and action plan.

It establishes a framework for advancing and promoting inclusion in all aspects of government and social services. The plan calls for the provision of racial equity training to county employees and access to services for one in five residents who speak a language other than English.

“We have encouraged our staff to use a racial equity lens with every policy and program, including our COVID-19 recovery initiatives,” Cook County Council Chairman Toni Preckwinkle said at an event to kick off the county’s third annual Racial Equity Week on September 13. to 17.

All residents of the county must have access to affordable housing, good jobs, healthy food, convenient public transportation, quality health care and green spaces, she added.

“This means that we cannot just expand access to public transport, if this access is only improved for able-bodied residents,” said Preckwinkle. “We cannot provide rent assistance if we only provide it to people with immigration papers. We cannot impact maternal and child mortality without addressing the fact that black women are at least three times more likely than white women to die as a result of pregnancy. “

Preckwinkle launched several episodes of “Talk with Toni” throughout the week on county cable and YouTube channels. To view the Equity Week programs, visit Facebook.com/PresidentPreckwinkle.

Black business stock market

The Coalition to Back Black Businesses is accepting applications for its 2021 grant program.

It will provide grants of $ 5,000 each to more than 400 small business owners to help them meet critical business needs, longer-term resources, such as mentorships, training and additional improvement funds. . Eligible black small business owners can apply for the grant online until September 22.

The coalition was launched last September by the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation and American Express.

Recipients will be matched with industry specific mentors to help grow their business. Selected recipients can also apply for improvement grants of $ 25,000 next spring.

To find out the eligibility conditions and to apply, visit webackblackbusinesses.com.

Latinos in the trades

A coalition launched last week aims to increase Latin American representation in the construction industry and trades.

The Coalition of Elected and Appointed Illinois Latino Officials will also focus on promoting Latinos in business and labor markets, funding infrastructure projects, removing barriers to construction careers and raising awareness. of the Latin American community.

Illinois’ Latin American population grew 15%, from 2 million in 2010 to 2.3 million in 2020, according to census data.

“It is now the second largest demographic in the state,” said Eira Corral Sepúlveda, commissioner of the Greater Chicago Metropolitan Water Harvesting District and chair of the coalition’s Equity in Construction Jobs committee. “We are not only asking for fairness, but also for parity in obtaining resources and services from government agencies across the state.”

Sepúlveda is the first Latina elected to the MWRD board of directors and the youngest and first commissioner of the northwestern suburbs.

She led a group of Latino elected officials on a tour of Wheeling High School’s career development programs on Friday. Such programs play an important role in creating inclusive career paths to the trades, Sepúlveda said.

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