Black, white Wheaton churches to celebrate Black History Month together

  • The Rev. Ron Keith Beauchamp of Bethel New Life, right, and the Rev. Jay Moses of Hope Presbyterian will host a series of Black History Month programs at the Wheaton church, which their congregations share for services.

      The Rev. Ron Keith Beauchamp of Bethel New Life, right, and the Rev. Jay Moses of Hope Presbyterian will host a series of Black History Month programs at the Wheaton church, which their congregations share for services. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Emanuel "Chris" Welch

    Emanuel "Chris" Welch

  • Paramjit "Romi" Chopra

    Paramjit "Romi" Chopra

  • Edward James Olmos

    Edward James Olmos

  • Evelyn Miralles

    Evelyn Miralles

 
 
Updated 1/25/2022 1:14 PM

Members of Hope Presbyterian Church and Bethel New Life Church, whose respective white and Black congregations share worship space in Wheaton, will celebrate Black History Month together with a series of programs in February.

The congregations came together to engage in conversations about racial healing prompted by vandalism of Black Lives Matter signage at Hope Church in the summer of 2020. It marked the beginning of a beautiful friendship that has led to a joint Juneteenth celebration, combined services and a renewed focus on building unity.

 

For Black History Month, leaders have created a "Famous African Americans" museum in the church's sanctuary. Programs will be held from 11:15 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. on Sundays throughout the month.

• Feb. 6 -- A conversation with members Mazell Sykes, who is Black, and Rachelle Zola, who is white. They will share their lived experiences and the realities of racism, white privilege and steps to take to heal.

• Feb. 13 -- The Rev. Ron Beauchamp, pastor of Bethel New Life's predominantly Black congregation, and the Rev. Jay Moses, pastor of Hope Presbyterian Church, will talk about cultural sensitivity and the portrayal of Blacks in the media in all its forms, including literature, television and movies.

• Feb. 20 -- Church youth will present poems and excerpts from speeches composed and delivered by famous African Americans.

• Feb. 27 -- "A Taste of Bethel New Life" feast to gain an understanding of the origin of traditional soul foods.

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The sessions are open to other congregations and community members. Sharing knowledge and experiences is one way to fight segregation, Beauchamp said.

"The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said the most segregated time in our country is the 11 o'clock hour on Sunday," he said. "Most people go into their respective white or Black churches and they don't crisscross."

Community Oscars

U.S. Rep. Danny Davis, who represents Illinois' 7th District, will award the Multi-Ethnic Advisory Task Force's Congressional Medal of Excellence for 2021 to the producers of "Jai Bhim," an Indian movie about police brutality based on a true story about social justice.

The Tamil language film -- also dubbed in other Indian languages -- was rated the top movie by IMDb users last November, beating classics such as "The Shawshank Redemption" and "The Godfather."

The film crew, including scriptwriter Justice K. Chandru, producers Surya and Jyothika, and director T.J. Gnanavel will receive the award at the 11th annual Congressional Global Community Oscars Awards Gala on Feb. 19, at The Yellow Box Theater in Naperville.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The awards honor international and local heroes who have had a major impact on empowering ethnic communities through social, educational, cultural, political, health, economic and youth initiatives.

Illinois House Speaker Emmanuel "Chris" Welch of Hillside will receive the Man of the Year 2021 award for his service. Welch is the first African American to serve as Illinois House speaker.

The Outstanding Physician of the Year 2021 award will go to Dr. Paramjit "Romi" Chopra of Glenview, an interventional radiologist and associate professor of radiology at Rush University in Chicago. A Sikh American, Chopra is CEO of Midwestern Institute for Minimally Invasive Therapies (MIMIT) Health.

The gala will include musical entertainment, ethnic dances, performances by the U.S. Naval band and color guards and a European fashion show. The event will be livestreamed starting at 5 p.m. on YouTube, youtube.com/globaleyedigitaltv.

Workforce equity

DeVry University, which has campuses in Addison, Gurnee and Naperville, is launching a NextGen Hispanic Scholars Program designed to help Latino and Latina students overcome technology skills barriers and become workforce-ready by graduation.

Hispanic students make up 18.5% of the U.S. population but represent only 8% of technology sector workers. Only 2% of employed engineers are Latina. Devry's program aims to close that gap and improve representation of Hispanics in the technology industry.

Beginning Feb. 28, eligible students will join a NextGen Hispanic Scholars cohort, have access to industry-related internships, be enrolled by DeVry into a CompTIA Basic Student membership and receive professional certification reimbursement.

The program is open to new or returning undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in qualifying engineering and information sciences certificate or degree programs at DeVry. For more information, visit devry.edu/students/scholars-programs/hispanic.html.

Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul will be the guest speaker at the inaugural "Dr. King: Exemplifying Excellence" virtual celebration, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, at College of Lake County in Grayslake.
Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul will be the guest speaker at the inaugural "Dr. King: Exemplifying Excellence" virtual celebration, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, at College of Lake County in Grayslake. - Capitol News Illinois photo by Peter Hancock
Celebrating Black history

College of Lake County in Grayslake will kick off Black History Month with a virtual celebration of Black excellence Thursday.

Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul will be the guest speaker at the inaugural The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Exemplifying Excellence celebration, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The program recognizes CLC students and staff members who are working toward fulfilling King's legacy.

The fourth annual "Lake County's History Makers: State of the Black Male" discussion will run from noon to 2 p.m. Feb. 3. Professional Black men from Lake County will talk about their struggles, moderated by business adjunct faculty member Marcus Morgan.

"We need to shed light on the positivity of Black males and their success, not look at them as another statistic," said Beverly Phelps, African American student outreach and programs coordinator. "They are professional men, fathers and role models in their communities."

The final talk, "Why Black History Matters," will run from noon to 1 p.m. Feb. 8, exploring how history has been taught and the impact of cultural biases.

These events are free and open to the public. To register, visit clcillinois.edu/events/black-history-month.

Edward James Olmos as Felipe Reyes, JD Pardo as Ezekiel "EZ" Reyes in the "Mayans M.C." FX television series.
Edward James Olmos as Felipe Reyes, JD Pardo as Ezekiel "EZ" Reyes in the "Mayans M.C." FX television series. - Courtesy of Prashant Gupta/FX, 2018
Inspirational speaker

Mexican American actor, director and producer Edward James Olmos is the guest speaker for Judson University's World Leaders Forum Inspirational Series on April 8 in Elgin.

Entrepreneur and Latina pilot Jacqueline Ruiz will host the event and moderate a panel discussion with screenwriter and actor Rick Najera and Evelyn Miralles, former chief principal engineer at NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston. The program begins at 4 p.m. in the Herrick Chapel on Judson's campus.

This is Judson's fourth Inspirational Series event. Previous speakers were magician Jim Munroe in 2017, retired Olympic gymnast Mary Lou Retton in 2016 and Christian evangelist and motivational speaker Nick Vujicic in 2015.

Tickets are available now. General admission is $25 per person. Visit 2022wlfinspirationseries.eventbrite.com.

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

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