Poster campaign aims to challenge negative stereotypes about Muslim women


Driving north along I-294, half a mile north of I-290, you may notice a billboard showing an illustration of a Muslim woman covered with an outstretched hand and a clenched fist.

It’s part of a four-week “My Hijab-My Right” campaign launched by three Chicago-area Islamic groups to challenge negative stereotypes about the hijab, or head covering, worn by Muslim women and girls. devotees in the world. The campaign also aims to highlight atrocities against women and minorities in India and elsewhere in the world.

Oakbrook Terrace-based GainPeace, the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago and the ICNA Council for Social Justice designed the campaign to showcase the hijab as a symbol of empowerment. Its aim is to support the rights of Muslim women who are discriminated against and banned from attending Indian schools and colleges because of their hijab.

“The hijab is in the news with positive, but mostly negative stereotypes about Muslim women,” said Sabeel Ahmed, executive director of GainPeace.

The group also held exhibits depicting women in Islam and Muslim American women in sports and politics at numerous Chicago-area mosques.

Liberty Schools

The Illinois State Board of Education has launched a $17 million grant to create the first state-funded Liberty Schools Network.

The Phillip Jackson Freedom Schools Grant will supplement in-school learning through a multicultural, research-based program during the summer and/or school year. The program aims to improve the performance of low-income students and address the lack of opportunities and learning loss caused by the pandemic.


The pandemic has disproportionately affected low-income students, who last year experienced chronic absenteeism rates 50% higher than the state average. The number of low-income students meeting or exceeding standards in math or English also fell twice as much as the state average, according to state data.

Freedom Schools will provide students with culturally relevant learning opportunities with academic and social supports, including quality instruction, challenging and engaging programs, holistic supports, a positive school climate, and strong family connections and the community.

The initiative is named after famed black educator Phillip Jackson, who founded and led the black star project. The organization closes the achievement gaps and supports the economic empowerment of Black and Hispanic youth and families through community support programs such as tutoring, mentoring, parent advocacy and development, and career readiness. ‘university.

The grant application is open to public schools and universities, community colleges, and nonprofit community organizations. Applications are available at and must be submitted by 4:30 p.m. on April 29.

Helping Afghan Refugees

The Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago will honor women leaders who have been at the forefront of helping Afghan refugees, during a virtual program at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.

Itedal Shalabi, co-founder and executive director of Arab American Family Services, and Oghey Kherzai, CIOGC’s Afghan Refugee Task Force, will discuss various projects implemented to help Afghan women and girls pursue their individual potential and to be represented on the political, social and cultural stages. , and economic spheres. The discussion will be moderated by CIOGC Board Member Shereen Hussain.

Register for the Zoom session at

Autism acceptance

The Elgin Police Department will host its second annual Heroes Unite Autism Acceptance event in partnership with The Autism Heroes Project April 23. The department will also raise awareness of Child Abuse Prevention Month at the same event from 1-4 p.m.

It will be held in front of the Police Department, 151 Douglas Avenue, and is open to community members of all ages. No registration required.

There will be children’s activities, community resources, vendors, raffles and giveaways.

black purses

It’s been 100 years since John W. Cromwell Jr. became the first black certified public accountant.

Today, the Aspiring Black CPA Scholarship is a national initiative created to provide financial support to black accounting students and professionals who wish to pursue the CPA designation.

The scholarship is supported by the Black CPA Centennial Fund, which raised nearly $84,000 as part of a year-long celebration in honor of the 100th anniversary of Cromwell’s historic achievement.

The scholarships can provide financial support for expenses related to preparing for or taking the CPA exam, including tuition fees, related class materials, exam preparation courses, application fees exam and tutors.

To be eligible, applicants must identify as black or African American; be a senior, graduate or professional student pursuing the CPA license; and intend to take the CPA exam within one year of applying for the scholarship. For more eligibility criteria and to apply, visit before the May 1 deadline.

Business loans

The Chicago Community Loan Fund has launched a $25 million loan fund to support African Americans, Latinos and other business developers of color.

The Communities of Color Fund will provide loans of up to $1 million to borrowers of color for a 10-year term with an interest rate of up to 4.75% amortized over 30 years.

Applicants, including for-profit and nonprofit entities, must be led by people of color, undertaking projects that include: seeking to create or preserve affordable housing; commercial retail expansion; creating jobs through social enterprise; provide community services through a non-profit facility; and developers building such projects in Chicago-area communities of color.

Funding is available only for new projects, including those impacting low-to-moderate income areas of suburban Cook, Will, DuPage, Kane, McHenry and Lake counties. For information, visit

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