Suburban Mosaic: 'Empire' star Howard to headline Judson speaker series

  • Terrence Howard

    Terrence Howard

Posted6/7/2021 5:30 AM

Actor, rapper and singer-songwriter Terrence Howard will be the guest speaker for Judson University's "Conversations with Mark Vargas" event on July 9.

Howard, 52, has appeared in the Fox musical drama television series "Empire" and Marvel Cinematic Universe's first "Iron Man" movie. He will talk about his life, business and where he finds inspiration.


"The world knows Terrence Howard as an actor who's starred in some of the biggest films and television shows in Hollywood, but more than an actor, he's also an entrepreneur and an inventor," Judson President Gene Crume said.

Howard's interview is part of Judson's new World Leaders Forum conversation series featuring notable leaders in business, entertainment and politics. Billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban headlined the inaugural event in 2019.

The July 9 event begins at 3 p.m. in the Herrick Chapel on Judson's Elgin campus.

Sponsors can attend a private dinner reception with Howard. For tickets and sponsorship information, visit Proceeds will fund entrepreneurship, diversity, and Judson's RISE program scholarships for students with disabilities.

Immigration detainees

Legislation banning local jails from detaining people facing deportation by immigration authorities is headed to Gov. J.B. Pritzker's desk for approval.

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The Illinois General Assembly passed the Illinois Way Forward Act last week. It requires local officials to end existing contracts to detain people in immigration custody by Jan. 1. It also would prohibit law enforcement agencies and state or local governments from entering into similar contracts.

McHenry County Jail is among three jails in Illinois with federal contracts to detain people in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody. The McHenry County Board recently rejected a resolution to end the county's contract with ICE. The county gets paid $95 a day for each detainee at its Woodstock jail. It currently is housing fewer than 100 federal immigration detainees, of whom most have been serving time for other criminal offenses.

"It will have an impact," McHenry County Administrator Peter Austin said of losing the ICE contract. "We will have to account for several millions less in revenue. We will also need to account for reduced expenses ... (such as) staffing, food, medical costs."

McHenry County has been housing ICE detainees for about eight years. Yearly detainee numbers were more than 200 pre-COVID, Austin said.

Youth mental health

Kane County youths who participated in a virtual forum on mental health earlier this year identified several areas where the county can improve services.


Participants expressed a need for more spaces for young people to talk about mental health, greater access to supportive adults with knowledge of mental health and more access to reliable mental health information.

The feedback was part of the second annual Youth Voices Forum on Mental Health hosted by Kane County System of Care and the Kane County Regional Office of Education. Students and staff members from 11 Kane County high schools, including Bartlett, Central, Dundee-Crown, Elgin, Geneva, Hampshire, Jacobs, Larkin, South Elgin, and the Dream Academy participated in the forum.

The full report with findings and suggestions provided by participants can be viewed at

"Mental health is significant in the development of children and is an essential part of their overall health," said Kate McCormack, Community Health Initiatives coordinator for the Kane County Health Department. "According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, one in five children ages 13-18 have, or will have a serious mental illness. Sadly, there is often a delay of as long as 10 years between when a child's symptoms begin and when they start treatment."

Inclusive legislation

Four pieces of legislation intended to accommodate and teach more about Muslim culture are headed to Gov. J.B. Pritzker's desk for approval.

Proposed by the Illinois Muslim Civic Coalition, these bills passed with bipartisan support in both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly.

• The Inclusive Athletic Attire Act would allow student athletes to tailor their uniforms to their cultural, religious and comfort preferences.

• The Contributions and History of Muslims in America legislation would mandate the teaching of the role of American Muslims and other faith-based communities in U.S. history in kindergarten through eighth grades; and establishes Jan. 17 as a commemorative holiday in honor of legendary boxer Muhammad Ali's birthday.

• The Cross-Cultural Mediation Among Students Act would mandate a process of mediation when a student is bullied based on categories identified in the Illinois Human Rights Act.

• Muhammad Ali Day resolutions honor the character and bravery of America's champion boxer, and prominent American-Muslim public figure.

"Our legislative agenda this session had the following goals: to uplift Illinois communities in a profound way, to empower our children and students to be who they are, and to intentionally create avenues of education that result in impactful understanding," said Maaria Mozaffar, coalition director of advocacy and policy.

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