Suburban Mosaic: DuPage County group hosting MLK events in partnership with faith groups

The DuPage County Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Advisory Committee has been hosting a series of MLK events in partnership with various faith communities and groups to promote King’s vision of unity and social justice.

Gatherings were held with members of the Latino community in August and last month at The Mecca Center in Willowbrook.
“Martin Luther King was about all the people, and he wasn’t really successful in his journey until there was unity amongst all races, cultures, creeds and everything else that could bring his dream to fruition,” said Regina Brent, committee co-chair. “And so, what was King really about? He was about Black children, white children, Jews, Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics coming together on one accord to make this world a better place to live and that is the reason why I am involved.”

The committee has planned monthly MLK sessions with the next meeting set from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, 1851 S. Route 59 in Bartlett.

“The committee now has expanded (to) about almost 200 people,” said Dan Wagner, committee co-chair with Inland Read Estate group in Oak Brook.

Its efforts will culminate with the Jan. 15 DuPage MLK Breakfast at The Drury Lane in Oakbrook Terrace. Tickets now are on sale for the event, which will run from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. at 100 Drury Lane.

Art Norman, retired NBC News anchorman, will be the master of ceremonies. William Carroll, president emeritus of Benedictine University who started the first DuPage MLK Breakfast more than 20 years ago, will talk about its history. Guest speakers are Naomi King, widow of the Rev. Alfred Daniel King and sister-in-law to Martin Luther King Jr., and Bob Zellner, a Freedom Rider, social justice activist and member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.



Proceeds go toward the DuPage Community Foundation’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Unity Fund. To purchase tickets, visit

Native American exhibit

The first major traveling exhibition of modern Native American art is on display at Aurora University’s Schingoethe Center at 1315 Prairie St., Aurora.

The exhibit, “Action/Abstraction Redefined: Modern Native Art, 1940s to 1970s,” runs through Dec. 15. It features more than 50 works created by artists affiliated with the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, considered the birthplace of contemporary Native art.

The collection includes paintings, sculptures and works on paper. It draws inspiration from ancestral Native sources as well as from the abstract expressionist, color-field and hard-edge painting movements post-World War II.



“This exhibition showcases a pivotal moment in Native American art history,” said Natasha Ritsma, director of the Schingoethe Center and an instructor of museum studies at Aurora University. “Our mission at the museum is to celebrate artistic excellence and cultural diversity in American art, and this show goes a long way toward understanding this significant period in Indigenous art.”

Many of the pieces were created by faculty and students who came to work and study at the Institute of American Indian Arts.
Admission is free. Exhibition hours are: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday; 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday; and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on select Saturdays — Oct. 21, Nov. 4, and Nov. 11.

A special Center for Native Futures presentation is set for 5 p.m. Nov. 7.

Latino journalist talk

Award-winning journalist and television host John Quiones will share his journey, “From the Barrio to Network Television,” at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Aurora University.

The free program will be held in the Crimi Auditorium at the university’s Institute for Collaboration, 1347 Prairie St., Aurora.
Advance registration is required at or by calling (630) 844-4924.

Elgin Image Awards

The Enhancing Elgin Committee of the Elgin Area Chamber of Commerce’s Elgin Development Group will present the 2023 Elgin Image Awards on Wednesday recognizing outstanding people, businesses and organizations making a difference in the city.

Tune in live at 5 p.m. to the Gail Borden Public Library’s and the chamber’s Facebook pages to watch at

Here are the honorees in various categories:

Excellence in DEI or Building Equity

• The African American Coalition of Kane County.
• The Elgin Hispanic Network.

• The Haight, an Elgin event venue.

Youth Service Project (for people 21 and under)

• The Organization of Latin American Students at Elgin Community College.
Professional Rockstar

• Dianha Ortega-Ehreth, executive director of Centro de Informacion in Elgin.

Gamechanger Project

• Elgin History Museum Nancy Kimball Cobblestone House.

• Carrie Zaccaria and the Elgin Area’s Men Shed.

• Mike Falese, who planned the Firefighters Memorial Plaza.

• The Well Child Center’s “Food for Families” pantry.

• The Violins of Hope Elgin Collaborative.

• ELGbtq+ volunteers.

Green Initiative/Sustainable Business of the Year

• The Elgin Math and Science Academy.

Celebrating South Asian authors

This Saturday, the South Asia Institute will host a literary showcase and launch party highlighting the works of eight Chicago-based South Asian and South Asian American authors.

The event will run from 3 to 5 p.m. at the institute, 1925 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago.

Participating authors are Mary Anne Mohanraj, Dipika Mukherjee, Ami Kaye, Gulnaz Saiyed, Zara Imran, Arnav Sibal, Samina Hadi-Tabassum, and Angeli Primlani.

A recent survey of the U.S. publishing industry shows about 76% of industry professionals are white. The works of Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) are rarely published, the study showed.

“During National Book month, we would like to celebrate the achievements of these South Asian authors who have successfully navigated the challenges to find a platform for their stories,” said Shireen Ahmad, co-founder of South Asia Institute. “It is an honor for us to host these talented and entertaining writers, who recount the stories of the South Asian diaspora that are often missing in the mainstream literature.”

The event will feature song and dance performances by South Asian artists and conclude with the launch of Mohanraj’s newly released book, “Tornado: A Breast Cancer Log,” a first-hand account of the author’s diagnosis and treatment over a three-year period.

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