Former Hanover Park village clerk first Latina on MWRD board
When 23-year-old Eira Corral Sepúlveda became Hanover Park's village clerk, she was the first Latina elected official in town.
After 12 years serving in that role, Sepúlveda has moved on to become the first Latina on the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District board of commissioners.
She's also the youngest MWRD commissioner and the first representative from the Northwest suburbs, said Sepúlveda, 36, a lifelong Hanover Park resident.
Sepúlveda said her goal is to help the agency improve community engagement and create more awareness about its purpose -- treating sewer water for a majority of Cook County suburban municipalities and helping with stormwater management.
"There is also a need for diversity and inclusion, whether it is community engagement or affirmative action in business contracts," she said.
Sepúlveda is passionate about environmental issues and organized Hanover Park's first environmental resource fair. She also was one of the founding members of the village's Cultural Inclusion and Diversity Committee in 2007.
"We have pushed forward some really cool initiatives," she said about the committee's annual leaders reception and MLK Build Up Day.
Over the years, Sepúlveda has urged diverse candidates to run for village board.
"When I was first elected there was very little diversity," she said. "Being a trailblazer has its challenges ... you push forward initiatives that started as personal passions. The ongoing challenge is to embed them into the culture of the institution."
The Hanover Park village board honored Sepúlveda for her service last week, along with two other departing board members, Sharmin Shahjahan and Rick Roberts.
IPA's first Black president
Marcus Belin, principal of Huntley High School, will become the first Black president of the Illinois Principals Association in its 50-year history.
Belin is president-elect of the association representing 6,000 members. He likely also will be its youngest leader starting July 1.
"It does make me feel like a trailblazer," said Belin, 33. "I'm on a mission to really change the game ... bringing a strong sense of support for the organization and the diversity within. My mission is to be a role model for young people. I want little Black boys and girls to see you can get in a (leadership) position."
Growing up, Belin never had a Black teacher in school and saw an opportunity to represent. His 58-year-old mother Regina Armour is the director of diversity, equity and inclusion for Concept Schools headquartered in Schaumburg.
"I'm a fifth-generation educator," Belin said.
For three years, Belin has been working to change the culture at Huntley High. He walks its hallways telling students, "I love you. I care about you. You matter."
"Now that's really starting to resonate with them," he said.
Asian American history
Legislation aimed at ensuring Asian American history is taught in schools alongside the history of other historically marginalized groups passed the Illinois Senate Education Committee last week.
The Teaching Equitable Asian American Community History (TEAACH) Act builds on Illinois' inclusive curriculum law that took effect July 1. Illinois became the fifth state to require public schools to include instruction and adopt materials accurately portraying the political, economic, and social contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people.
Asian Americans are among Illinois' fastest-growing populations -- more than 700,000 people as of 2019.
The TEAACH Act would amend the Illinois School Code to include Asian American history curriculum in all public elementary and high schools, ensuring crucial stories and lessons, such as the wrongful incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II and the heroic service of the Army's 100th Infantry Battalion and the 442nd Regimental Combat Team during World War II.
The Islamic Center of Wheaton will hold an outdoor Eid al-Fitr prayer at 10 a.m. Thursday, May 13, at the mosque, 900 E. Geneva Road, Wheaton.
Face masks and social distancing will be required. In case of inclement weather, two indoor services will be held at 8 and 10 a.m.
The center also is hosting a drive-through Eid celebration from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, May 15, marking the end of the monthlong fasting period of Ramadan.
Families are urged to decorate their cars to enter a contest to win a special prize. People must remain inside their vehicles and wear masks when interacting with volunteers, who will distribute goody bags for kids, sweets and gifts. For information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (630) 480-7592 or (630) 415-4869.
The Islamic Center of Naperville will host a drive-in Eid prayer at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday or Thursday, depending on the new moon sighting, in the Fox Valley Mall parking lot, 195 Fox Valley Center Drive, in Aurora.
Registration is required as capacity is limited. Register at icnmasjid.org/eid.
McDonald's USA will award $500,000 to incoming and current students attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities through its Black & Positively Golden Scholarship Program in partnership with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.
The fast-food chain launched the scholarship in 2020 to help HBCU students continue their education in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
For the second year, 34 students can receive up to $15,000 each in funding for the 2021-2022 academic year.
Applications are being accepted through 10:59 p.m. Monday. Winners will be announced this summer. For eligibility requirements and to apply, visit tmcf.org/students-alumni/scholarship/tmcf-mcdonalds-black-and-positively-golden-scholarships/.
• Share stories, news and happenings from the suburban mosaic at email@example.com.