The book shows how the Aurora Literacy Center helps migrant women

A new book by Chicago-based author and freelance journalist Anna Marie Kukec Tomczyk tells the stories of five Latina migrant women who changed their lives after learning English at the Dominican Literacy Center in Aurora.

“We Are Eagles: Inspirational Stories of Migrant Women Who Took Courageous Steps in Life Through Literacy” is available from Amazon. A free e-book version is available for download from Amazon from Monday to Thursday. A portion of the proceeds from the book sale will support the centre’s literacy mission.

Under the direction of the Dominican Sisters of Springfield, the center provides assistance to immigrants, especially women, who are escaping stressful and dangerous situations such as domestic violence, abuse, and stalking.

“The Dominican Sisters help people on the margins of society,” said Tomczyk, a former business journalist with the Daily Herald.

The book focuses on the 25 years that the center has served women from 30 countries. Women who have sought help with literacy there include immigrants from Mexico, Guatemala, Colombia, Argentina, Venezuela, Poland, Russia and Vietnam. According to the center’s website, the majority of students are Latina.

“You are an inspiration to all of us in living the history of immigrants,” said Sister Kathleen Ryan, the center’s founder and director.

Temple vaccine drive

BAPS Charities are hosting a three-day COVID-19 vaccination campaign at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir (temple) in Bartlett this week.

It is open to eligible community members aged 16 and over receiving the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

Vaccinations are given by Prism Health Lab staff from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday.

To register, visit tiny.cc/BAPSCharitiesvaccination. Registration does not guarantee that a dose will be available.

Bilingual resources

The Chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness Metro Suburban opens its first bilingual living room in Summit and offers a range of support services from peer counselors and clinicians in Spanish and English.

NAMI Metro Suburban provides free education, assistance, and counseling services to individuals, families, and communities in the western suburbs of Cook County. The living room serves as an alternative to the emergency room for people aged 18 and over who suffer from increased psychological stress.

The location of the summit at 7602 63rd St. is designed to address the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on color communities. Visitors can talk to trained peer support specialists about emotional stress seven days a week from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. An opening ceremony will be held on Thursday at 2:00 p.m., followed by a community wellness celebration that includes guided tours, health screenings, and wellness demonstrations.

Help immigrants

The Syrian Community Network is looking for donations during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan to help refugee and immigrant families across the Chicago area hard hit by the pandemic.

According to the group, these families are suffering from disproportionately high unemployment rates and social isolation due to the pandemic.

To date, the Care For Our Community campaign has raised nearly $ 45,000 from its $ 100,000 goal. To donate, visit syriancommunitynetwork.org/scn/donate.

Teen mental health

DuPage County High School teenagers are hosting a Virtual Teens Talk Mental Health Panel on Tuesday at 4 p.m. to investigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on teenagers.

Panelists include MEP Terra Costa Howard from Lombardy; Dr. Jeff Money, social worker at Glenbard North High School; Matt Quinn, community relations coordinator for Rosecrance Behavioral Health; Gavin Schilling, a student at Glenbard West; and Jordan King, a student at Naperville North. Justine Rozenich, a Reality Illinois high school graduate, will moderate the panel.

Reality Illinois is the youth council of the DuPage County Health Department and the DuPage County Prevention Leadership Team.

Rozenich organized a two-day virtual health symposium for peers struggling with COVID-19 restrictions at the start of the pandemic.

“We missed regular activities, played sports, danced and hang out,” she said. “We also learned how resilient we can be, but the past year has severely affected the mental health of many people.”

Pre-COVID depression rates among teenagers in DuPage County were twice the national average. This is based on data collected as part of the Illinois Youth Survey 2020.

The virtual panel is open to the public and young people in particular are encouraged to participate and listen. Register at bit.ly/3sB5CD4.

Anti-Semitism Resources

The American Jewish Committee recently revamped its Translate Hate interactive website, which provides resources to help fight anti-Semitism.

It contains a page devoted to each of the anti-Semitic terms in the glossary.

AJC’s State of Antisemitism in America 2020 report found that 88% of American Jews believe anti-Semitism is a problem in the US today, and 82% believe it has increased over the past five years. Meanwhile, 46% of adults in the US are unfamiliar with the term “anti-Semitism,” the report shows.

For more information, see ajc.org/translatehate.

Against Islamophobia

The Institute for Social Policy and Understanding recently published a toolkit on “Combating and reducing Islamophobia”.

It is a comprehensive guide for individuals and organizations that provides strategies to combat Islamophobia in their homes, neighborhoods, and communities.

Forms of Islamophobia include anti-Muslim legislation, prejudice in policing, the legal system and media representation, and the use of anti-Muslim rhetoric by political candidates and elected or appointed officials.

Between 2016 and 2020, around 60% of American Muslims surveyed said they faced religious discrimination. In 2020, 51% of Muslim families with children in K-12 public schools said they had been bullied for their beliefs by their peers, teachers or school officials, according to a national survey.

To access the toolkit, visit ispu.org/countering-islamophobia/.

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

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