Suburban Mosaic: Retired Harper educator teaches how to be more inclusive

After 30 years of teaching students with disabilities, Pascuala Herrera wanted to share with other educators her experience and knowledge about making classrooms and communities more inclusive.

So she co-founded Educators 4 Equity and Justice, which provides online courses on how to create equitable and inclusive classrooms, institutions, and communities.

“I’m a Latina with a disability, and teach all the disability-related courses,” said Herrera, 56, of Franklin Park, a retired faculty emeritus of Harper College in Palatine. “Once an educator, always an educator, and once an advocate, you are always going to be an advocate.”

The website,, launched in January. Herrera said the courses and curriculum are expanding.

Her co-founders are two former Harper College counselors — one Black and one white — who now live in California and Connecticut. They teach about implicit bias, diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) strategies, white privilege and how to become an ally of minority groups.

“We are trying to reach high school and college educators and even community service individuals who want to make their programs and services accessible and be more inclusive for diversity,” Herrera said.

Herrera also teaches a graduate-level course on how to work with people with disabilities for faculty members at Harper.

Anti-lynching law

For the first time, lynching could become a federal hate crime.

The House Judiciary Committee last week passed the Emmett Till Anti-lynching Act, which now advances to the House floor.

There have been more than 200 attempts to codify lynching as a federal crime since 1900. More than 6,500 Black Americans were lynched between 1865 and 1950, according to a recent report from the Equal Justice Initiative.

U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush, a Democrat who represents Illinois’ 1st Congressional District, introduced the legislation on the opening day of the 117th Congress. He first introduced it in the 116th Congress. It passed the House in February 2020, but it was blocked in the Senate.

“I was eight years old when my mother put the photograph of Emmett Till’s brutalized body in Jet Magazine on our living room coffee table, pointed to it, and told us, ‘this is why I brought my boys out of Albany, Georgia.’ That photograph shaped my consciousness as a Black man in America and changed the course of my life. And it changed our nation,” Rush said.

Rush also is the lead sponsor of two other bills that would award a posthumous Congressional Gold Medal to Emmett Till and his mother Mamie Till-Mobley and would direct the postmaster general to issue a commemorative postage stamp in honor of Till-Mobley.

Women’s pantry

Aurora Area Interfaith Food Pantry will hold its second women’s pantry event Thursday.

Food and women-only household items will be distributed from 2 to 3 p.m. at Two Rivers Head Start, 1455 Sullivan Road, Aurora. Parking is free. Identification is not required.

The inaugural women’s pantry served 57 families last month at Aurora’s Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church.

Additional distribution events will be held the third Thursday of the month for the coming year at locations to be announced later, said Rebecca Dunnigan, interfaith community outreach and program director.

The initiative is being funded through a grant from Aurora Women’s Empowerment Foundation.

Islamic convention

The annual MAS-ICNA Convention, one of the largest and most diverse Islamic conventions in North America, will take place Dec. 26 through 28 at McCormick Place Convention Center in Chicago.

Organized by the Muslim American Society (MAS) and Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), the convention offers a variety of programs for different ages and interests focusing on Islamic knowledge, spirituality, activism and community service.

Attendance at the family-oriented event has grown from 1,500 in 2001 to 25,000 in 2019. The convention was held virtually last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

This year’s convention theme is the Islamic principle of “With Hardship Comes Ease.” It will feature prominent speakers from the Chicago area and internally renowned Islamic scholars, lectures, intensive workshops, more than 240 bazaar exhibitors, a children’s carnival, talent show, matrimonial event, entertainment and food vendors.

“There is a waiting list (for vendors/businesses) to get in,” said Zahra Antar of Naperville, a member of the convention steering committee and a board member of the Islamic Center of Wheaton. “We are expecting maybe 25,000 to 30,000 attendees.”

This is first major Islamic convention to resume in person in the Chicago area since the pandemic disrupted public events, she added.

For tickets, visit

Kevin Appleton

Kevin Appleton

CLC’s new hire

College of Lake County has a new chief financial officer, Kevin Appleton, who started at the Grayslake college Nov. 1.

Appleton previously served as the agency fiscal officer for the District of Columbia Public Schools. He has extensive experience working at a diverse array of colleges and universities.

As part of CLC’s leadership team, Appleton said he will help advance the college’s goals of “promoting access and affordability, strengthening academic and educational programs, developing the workforce, advancing economic development and effectively managing and cultivating public and private resources.”

Appleton served on the National Association of College and University Business Officers Annual Meeting Advisory Group, and as a board member and inaugural diversity coordinator for the Southern Association of College and University Business Officers.

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December 13, 2021 at 05:46AM

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