This is a woman's world, at least during Women's History Month
Tuesday is the start of Women's History Month and I'll be highlighting programs happening across our suburbs throughout March.
For starters, I am going to be featured as part of Gail Borden Public Library's exhibit about women, past and present.
"Elgin: A Women's City" celebrates the accomplishments of Elgin women, including scientist Mildred A. Engelbrecht, baseball player Charlene Barnett and ballerina Lisa Boehm. The exhibit is based on the book "Elgin: A Women's City" by E.C. "Mike" Alft.
It will include video interviews with local journalists that will be played during the exhibit and posted on the library's website, gailborden.info/womenhistory.
I'm honored to be interviewed by a student from Elgin Area School District U-46, which I covered for many years as the Daily Herald's education writer.
Gail Borden will host a conversation with award-winning Latina author Denise Padín Collazo for International Women's Day Thursday.
"It's going to be the first time that it will be in English and Spanish," said Jo Ann Armenta, a Gail Borden Library Foundation board member. "In the past, the library has celebrated International Women's Day, but it was always in English. We were concerned that monolingual Spanish speakers were missing out."
A Harvard University graduate and social justice activist, Collazo will discuss her book, "Thriving in the Fight -- A Survival Manual for Latinas on the Front Lines of Change," at 6:30 p.m. in person at the main library, 270 N. Grove Ave. The program will be livestreamed on Facebook.
Collazo's book centers on Latina and women of color leadership.
Register to attend the program in person or online via Zoom video conferencing at attend.gailborden.info/event/6070585.
Islamic Foundation School in Villa Park marked Black History Month with activities and programs for the community recognizing prominent Black Americans and their contributions to history and society.
This month's highlights included a performance by the Jesse White Tumblers last week. School leaders also presented Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White a Leadership and Service Award from the suburban Muslim community that worships at Islamic Foundation of Villa Park.
Established more than 30 years ago, Islamic Foundation School is the western suburbs' first Islamic school. The private school caters to students in preschool through 12th grade.
Principal Farhat Siddiqui said students at the school are taught a lot about African American history and struggles, including exploring the lives and legacies of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali and other personalities.
The month also is about having deeper conversations about racism.
Siddiqui said her students can relate to discrimination based on appearance and stereotypes, such as what Blacks and Muslims have faced historically and regularly.
"There are definitely similarities in experiences and history that can be talking points for teachers and students," she said. "We need to be able to talk about this openly and have discussions, be able to try and understand what perspective they are coming from."
Hope Presbyterian Church in Wheaton will host an interfaith peace vigil for Ukraine at 7:30 p.m. Monday at its sanctuary, 1771 S. Wiesbrook Road in Wheaton.
"People of faith and hope must witness and speak out when our worst instincts, such as war and political domination rise up," said church pastor the Rev. Jay Moses.
The vigil is open to members of all communities regardless of race, religion or ethnicity who seek to show solidarity with Ukrainians, officials said.
"We will be contacting interfaith partners, peace organizations, faith institutions," said Shalini Gupta, president of the nonprofit United for Peace Coalition of Naperville. "Our thoughts and prayers are with people of Ukraine and all those within the country's borders facing this enormous suffering. We are extremely saddened for the lives lost and pray for everyone's safety and an immediate end to this unnecessary violence."
On this last day of Black History Month, the House of Representatives will consider U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush's Emmett Till Anti-lynching Act.
The legislation would for the first time make lynching a federal hate crime.
Rush, a Democrat who represents Illinois' 1st Congressional District, introduced the measure on the opening day of the 117th Congress. It has 181 bipartisan co-sponsors and is expected to pass the House Monday and move to the Senate for consideration.
More than 6,500 Black Americans were lynched between 1865 and 1950, according to a recent report from the Equal Justice Initiative. Till was a Black Chicago teen whose 1955 lynching galvanized the civil rights movement. There have been nearly 200 attempts to codify lynching as a federal crime since 1900.
"Modern-day lynchings like the murder of Ahmaud Arbery make abundantly clear that the racist hatred and terror that fueled Emmett Till's lynching are still alive and well in America to this day," Rush said in a statement. "We can finally turn the page from our nation's repeated failure to outlaw lynching on a federal level and end this long-standing injustice and painful affront to the African American community."
A task force created by the Illinois State Board of Education aims to review and revise the state's social science learning standards, resources and professional development for educators.
The Inclusive American History Commission's role is to find and review available resources for use in schools that reflect the racial and ethnic diversity of the state and nation. Resources identified by the commission will be posted on the state education board's website.
"What we really want is to have schools look at how are we teaching American history," said Donna Leak, commission chair. "That includes multiple lenses, not just one lens. What narratives are there that support a multitude of lenses so that our young people are actually able to truly understand our American history from the inclusivity standpoint."
The task force will provide guidance for each learning standard developed for educators to ensure instruction and content are not biased toward specific cultures, time periods and experiences over others. It also will develop tools and support for professional learning on how to find and use resources for non-dominant cultural narratives and sources of historical information.
The commission's report is expected to be published Monday.
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