Coming Together Hosts Press Conference to Introduce 2018 Project: Celebrating Muslim American Cultures


Community leaders gather to announce the 2018 Coming Together project, Celebrating Muslim-American Cultures on Jan. 11. Photo by Karyn Malench.

By Grace Geraghty, Editor in Chief

Coming Together, a committee made up of Skokie, Niles, Lincolnwood, and Morton Grove residents, held a press conference at the Skokie Library on Thurs., Jan. 11 to introduce its 2018 project, Celebrating Muslim-American Cultures.

The use of the plural “cultures” rather than the singular “culture” was a conscious choice by the committee members, who wanted to make it clear that the events will celebrate all different Muslim-American cultures, of which there are many. The press conference was attended by district 219 representatives; the mayors of Skokie, Niles, and Lincolnwood; and members of cultural groups that were celebrated by Coming Together in recent years.

This year, the committee chose to honor Muslim-Americans. According to Susan Van Dusen, first lady of Skokie, the committee chooses a culture that is prominent in the community and able to participate in the project.

“It has to be a group that is vital in the community because [they’ve] got to be able to maintain a really active part in this,” Van Dusen said. “There are so many [Muslim-Americans] within our area that it was ridiculous not to get together.”

Lincolnwood mayor Barry Bass reiterated van Dusen’s view of the strength of Muslim-American cultures in our community in his speech.

“In the coming months, Lincolnwood and the rest of Niles Township will be celebrating the heritage and cultures of Muslims in America,” Bass said. “Islam and Muslim-Americans have had a rich impact on America since the founding of our country. Our village is blessed with a growing Muslim community, from which I’ve met and befriended many great people. Their devotion to their faith, to their children’s education, and their service to others is truly inspiring.”

Many of the Coming Together activities involve Niles West and North. District 219 superintendent Steven Isoye was present at the press conference and affirmed the role the district will play in 2018’s Coming Together events.

“The high school district is really proud to be a part of this activity, a part of this effort. The high school has been a part of this for a long time, and I’m glad that I can be a part of this and continue our support with Coming Together,” Isoye said, before emphasizing the role the high school’s Muslim Student Associations will play in organizing and participating in different Coming Together events this year.

The official opening ceremony for the presentation of Celebrating Muslim-American Cultures by Coming Together will take place at Niles West in the art gallery and auditorium on Sun., Jan 28 from 12:00-1:00 p.m.; the ceremony will be followed by nearly three months of events featuring Muslim-American cultures.