The 53rd Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Dinner will be held Saturday at the Cotillion Banquets in Palatine.
This year’s event will focus on “Heeding Dr. King’s Call for Equity in Health Care”.
At a 1966 meeting in Chicago, King addressed the health care inequalities experienced by black people. Those disparities persist in communities of color today and have been accentuated by the COVID-19 pandemic, said Chris Mier, president of MLK Dinner.
“The huge disparity in experience in providing medical services, whether through public or private healthcare providers, is considerable,” Mier said. “Continued exposure to trauma is truly creating an urgent national mental health crisis (in) communities of color.”
Guest speakers include Dr. Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association, based in Washington, DC, who will deliver the keynote address, and Timothy Killeen, president of the University of Illinois system.
Organizers will honor Harper College President Avis Proctor and Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck, Executive Director of the Cook County Department of Public Health, for their role in promoting equity in health care during the pandemic.
Many local hospitals rely heavily on graduates of the Palatine College nursing program to fill positions, Mier said.
And during the pandemic, Hasbrouck advised Fortune 500 companies on virus mitigation and safe reopening strategies. He previously served as executive director of the National Association of County and City Health Officials, which represents 3,000 local health departments.
The MLK Dinner is hosted by the Illinois Commission on Diversity and Human Relations. About 700 people are expected.
A large number of candidates from minority communities were elected to positions across the state on November 8. And there were many firsts among them.
State Rep. Delia Ramirez became the first Latina in Illinois’ congressional delegation, after winning the 3rd congressional district seat; State Representative-elect Hone Huynh became the first Vietnamese American member of the Illinois General Assembly; and elected state representative Abdelnasser Rashid is the first Palestinian American to be elected to the state legislature, representing the 21st House District.
Also, Nabeela Syed, 23, from the Palatine, became the first Native American woman and one of the first Muslims, along with Rashid, to be elected to the General Assembly. Syed will represent the 51st State House District.
Esiah Campos of Round Lake Beach became the first Latino and youngest member of the Lake County Board. He will represent District 16, which focuses on Round Lake’s four communities that are heavily Hispanic in west-central Lake County.
Muslim success stories
The Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago celebrates 30 years of serving the region’s more than 400,000 Muslims at its annual gala, scheduled for 6 p.m. Saturday, in the Grand Ballroom of the Hyatt Regency O’Hare, 9300 Bryn Mawr , Rosemont.
During the event, the organizers will present the Muslim Achiever Award to four community leaders for their contributions in various fields. The winners are:
• Dr. Sameer Vohra, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health. Vohra is a general pediatrician and an interdisciplinary leader in state and national health policy formulation. He now focuses his efforts on improving health outcomes in central and southern Illinois.
• Naheed Qureshi, formerly of Libertyville, Policy Partnerships Manager for Instacart and member of President Joe Biden’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders. She was co-founder and then deputy director of Muslim Advocates, a national civil rights organization.
• Rashad Hussain, Goodwill Ambassador for the Office of International Religious Freedom. Hussain leads efforts to monitor religious freedom abuses, persecution, and discrimination around the world. He was appointed by former President Barack Obama to serve as Special Envoy to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Special Envoy for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications, and Deputy Associate Counsel for the White House.
• Fatima Abueid, founder of Chicago-based Sanad Community Services & Sanad Food Pantry, will receive the Dr. Bambade Shakoor-Abdullah Award for Civic Engagement. She was honored in 2021 as Chicago Woman of the Year for Human Services for helping communities on the southwest side of the city.
The council is made up of more than 60 member organizations, including mosques, Islamic schools and community groups. For more information, visit ciogc.org.
LGBTQ Advisory Council
Last week, Aurora City Council named the first members of the city’s new Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Advisory Council.
“It’s been a long journey that we’ve all been on, but we’re here and we’re going to do a great job with this,” said 21-year-old Adam Pauley, the youngest board member.
Members appointed to the nine-member advisory board include Zachary Bishop, Brittney Borowicz-Keller, Sean Li, Briana Moss, Ivan Quinones, Paulene Spika, Michael Vargas and Frederick Yanos. He will advise the city regarding the needs of Aurora’s LGBTQ community, as well as:
• Organize, support or promote events recognizing June as Pride Month.
• Encourage education, advocacy and community engagement of LGBTQ youth.
• Help promote greater cross-cultural awareness and understanding of the LGBTQ community.
• Recommend actions to improve the overall quality of life of the LGBTQ community.
• Coordinate and participate in educational programs for the LGBTQ community.
The council will be managed by the Mayor’s Office of Community Affairs, which leads the city’s equity and inclusion initiatives.
The Arab-American Business & Professional Association of Illinois will host its annual gala Friday at the Esplanade Lakes by Doubletree, 3500 Lacey Road in Downers Grove.
The reception will begin at 6:00 p.m., followed by dinner at 7:00 p.m. It will feature some of the country’s top Arab-American civic, business and entertainment leaders.
Special guests include ABC 7 Chicago anchor Diane Pathieu, a Syrian-Lebanese American; Palestinian American comedian Amer Zahr; Palestinian American mixed martial artist Belal “Remember the Name” Muhammad, who competes in the Ultimate Fighting Championship welterweight division; Khalil Ismail, owner of Al Bawadi Grill; Talat Othman, chairman of Grove Financial Inc. and founding chairman of the ABPA; and ABPA President Rush Darwish.
The gala will benefit the association’s new Economic Development Center. The association will launch the center and a Community Retail Association in January to benefit the local community and minority-owned businesses. The association will also launch a new Middle East and North Africa-owned business registration website, weMENAbiz.comin the new year.
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