Take a snow day at Navy Pier this weekend! Even though Chicago is breaking records with no snow this season, that hasn’t stopped us at Navy Pier! We’re making our own snow for Snow Days Chicago taking place January 25-27 in Navy Pier’s Gateway Park! This FREE event will feature snow sculpting competitions, snow games and activities for kids, a new interactive snowboarding experience, and much more!
Tagged: Navy Pier
On Wednesday, Jan. 16, Cicero Board of Elections ruled that Cicero Town President Larry Dominick will retain his spot on the ballot. His candidacy was challenged by Cicero Town Presidential candidate Juan Ochoa. Ochoa’s argument is that Dominick is ineligible for candidacy due to his debt to the municipality of potentially thousands of dollars. The Cicero presidential elections will take place February 26.
“Whether it’s through appeal in Circuit Court or on Election Day, this victory will be short lived for Dominick. I’ll be spending the next 45 days completely focused every day on listening to Cicero residents, and sharing with them my vision for economic development, improved schools and safer streets in our communities,” said Ochoa.
In December, Judge Edmund Ponce de Leon, in an unprecedented motion, removed Board of Elections members Dominick, Town Clerk Maria Punzo-Arias and Town Supervisor Joseph Virruso, all current candidates for re-election, as well as alternate Dennis Raleigh, citing potential conflicts of interest. “All members have vested interest in pay and benefits, including family members on the Cicero payroll, which may be affected by election results,” Judge Ponce de Leon said.
Ochoa is the former Chief Executive Officer for McCormick Place and Navy Pier, North America’s largest convention center and the Midwest’s top tourist and entertainment destination. A former Marine, Ochoa is a veteran of Operation Desert Storm. He is the only Latino candidate in the race in Cicero, which is 87 percent Hispanic.
For more information on the Juan Ochoa campaign for Town President, please visit http://changeforcicero.com/.
Cicero President Candidate Juan Ochoa released the following statement on Monday, January 7, upon learning that Town President Larry Dominick’s challenge to Lizveth Mendez’s candidacy had been successful, and that Mendez will be removed from the ballot in the February 26, 2013, election:
“Lizveth Mendez’s candidacy for town president was driven by the same factors that motivate mine – a strong commitment to the community of Cicero, and a deep-seated belief that the people of Cicero deserve honest, effective leadership. I hope Lizveth continues to work for change in Cicero. In the meantime, I’ll continue to take on the Dominick regime head on, and fight for an agenda of fair and efficient government in Cicero.”
Ochoa is the former Chief Executive Officer for McCormick Place and Navy Pier, North America’s largest convention center and the Midwest’s top tourist and entertainment destination. A former Marine, Ochoa is a veteran of Operation Desert Storm. He is a father of three and lives in Cicero with his wife, Alma.
With Mendez’s departure from the race, Ochoa is now the only Latino candidate in the race. Cicero’s population is 87 percent Latino
Navy Pier | 8:30 p.m. – 1 a.m.
Price: $149.90 plus taxes and fees
Includes: Hors d’oeuvres, dinner, champagne toast, premium open bar, DJ
Call 877-299-7783 for tickets.
Spirit of Chicago
Navy Pier | 8:30 p.m. – 1 a.m.
Price: $159.90 plus taxes and fees
Includes: Dinner buffet, champagne toast, premium open bar, DJ and dancing
Call 866-273-2469 for tickets.
Navy Pier | 8:30 p.m. – 1 a.m.
Price: $219.90 plus taxes and fees
Includes: Plated dinner, passed hors d’oeuvres, champagne toast, premium open bar and live entertainment. Call 866.305.2469 for tickets.
For more information regarding all Navy Pier New Year’s Eve activities please visit www.navypier.com.
On June 15 the Obama administration announced the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. DACA allows as many as 1.7 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S to apply for “deferred action” which would possibly shield them from deportation, not necessarily guaranteeing them safety. They would also be able to apply for a driver’s license and a work permit enabling them to work “legally” in the U.S. Another 700,000 would become eligible in the following year, according to the Migration Policy Institute. There are between 50,000 to 90,000 undocumented youth in Illinois who may qualify for DACA. Applicants should protect themselves from the risks involved by having a lawyer or accredited agency review your application to make sure it is complete. The program, which will be managed by the Citizenship and Immigration Service Agency, grants a two-year temporary deportation deferral which must be renewed. Youth can be denied for a number of reasons or if it is believed they lied on the application. In general, there is no appeal if an application is denied but one may reapply and pay the $465 fee again. Immigrant justice advocates are concerned that President Obama could potentially not be reelected in November leaving applicants without the “protection of political allies” since they’ve given the federal government sensitive information about themselves. It can be argued that after almost 1.2 million deportations during his presidency, Obama and the Democratic Party have not been allies to the immigrant community. Despite these past injustices, DACA represents the most ambitious attempt by the Obama administration to address the issues of deportations and immigration reform. On August 15 “DREAM Relief Day” was held at Navy Pier. The name suggested that the event had something to do with the DREAM Act, a bill introduced in 2001 which, if passed, would grant legal status to undocumented youth who qualify. DACA does not provide a pathway to citizenship or legal status. A reported 14,000 people from across the Midwestern states attended – some of whom were camped out at Navy Pier since 9 p.m. the night before. Approximately 1,500 applicants were helped directly while another 6,500 went to informational workshops, the rest were turned away or told they didn’t qualify. A group called the “No Name Collective/ Moratorium on Deportations” was present at the event to voice their concerns about the risks involved. Jose Herrera, an organizer with the group said he was, “speaking out against the misinformation accompanying Obama’s new Deferred Action campaign and the propaganda being peddled to persuade all our young undocumented people to voluntarily apply.” “Homeland Security documents clearly state: even people who meet all the criteria may be rejected and turned over to I.C.E.,” said Herrera. “There is no guarantee they will be granted any kind of relief, and the government will be able to initiate deportation proceedings against them, or their families, at any time. In addition, even if granted, Deferred Action does not represent a legal status or safety from deportation.” Indeed, the White House and federal agencies have maintained that DACA is part of a long-running effort to operate an effective and efficient deportation apparatus while congressional gridlock remains. Herrera was asked by Monica Trevino of Illinois Coalition of Immigrant Refugee Rights to leave and was escorted out by Chicago Police. Trevino did not respond to questions regarding the incident. Before getting on stage to speak, Sen. Dick Durbin and Congressman Luis V. Gutierrez were asked by reporters about the risks involved in applying for DACA but clearly side-stepped the questions and instead praised the “faith and commitment displayed by the DREAMers in the room.” Gutierrez is surely aware of the risks though. “Any future president or secretary of Homeland Security will have one hell of a fight on their hands if they try to deport this contingent of DREAM-eligible youth en masse,” Gutierrez stated in his Huffington Post piece. Requirements for DACA You may request consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals if you: 1. Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012 2. Came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday 3. Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time 4. Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS 5. Entered without inspection before June 15, 2012, or your lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012 6. Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and 7. Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety. Individuals can call USCIS at 1-800-375- 5283 with questions or to request more information on the deferred action for childhood arrivals process or visit www.uscis. gov.
By Sarah Mendoza
More than an estimated 12,000 students, parents and volunteers attended the Dream Day Relief Workshop hosted by the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights. The overwhelming number of students hoping to apply for a chance at Deferred Action exceeded the expected 6,500 pre-registered DREAMers ICIRR had expected to attend the Wednesday event.
This large outcome comes after President Barack Obama’s administration announced it would provide a temporary program through “deferred action” to aid any youth who were brought to the United States under the age of 16 before and continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007 up to the present time.
DREAMers and parents alike lined the streets to Navy Pier, many carrying and organizing school certificates, reports cards and transcripts in support of their application to remain in the United States with the legal right to work and “be a part of society, just like everyone else,” said Sara, a DREAMer. “I just want to feel like I have a chance. That’s the reason my parents brought me here,” said Sara as she tucked away her folder containing her high school transcript and college enrollment letter.
Like Sara, thousands of students sat against the walls of the lobby to Navy Pier’s Grand Ballroom, others lay on the red carpet, tiredly waiting to meet with an immigration attorney who would outline any red flags in the process of their application, including any misdemeanors or traffic violations and meeting other criteria outlined in the USCIS website. By the afternoon, Mayor Rahm Emmanuel, Sen. Dick Durbin and Congressman Luis Gutierrez processed around the Grand Ballroom and up to the stadium where they were joined by Senator Cullerton and other heads of organizations to address the DREAMers and support the push for relief and respect as equal individuals, despite their unlawful presence.
Upstairs on the second level of the Grand Ballroom, more than 50 universities, resources and nonprofit organizations manned tables filled with information, job and scholarship opportunities for applicants. Some came to see if they could have a chance at legally working in the United States like Isidro, 24, a young father of two who skipped work to attend the event. “I’m glad I came even though I didn’t get to meet with anyone downstairs. At least I got to speak to an attorney and get some questions I had and get some info on other organizations that can help me to help my family,” he said.
Senator Durbin, Congressman Gutierrez and Mayor Emanuel join thousands of undocumented youth, who will be applying for deferred action that will grant them temporary relief for opportunity to live and work in the US lawfully
The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) will be joined by Senator Durbin, Congressman Gutierrez, Mayor Emanuel and other dignitaries in assisting thousands of undocumented students apply for deferred action, which will grant them the opportunity to temporarily live and work in the U.S. lawfully.
On June 15, 2012, the Obama Administration announced that it would offer many undocumented youths the opportunity to seek “deferred action.” The memorandum offers hope to more than 75,000 youths in Illinois who would be eligible for permanent legal status under the proposed federal DREAM Act. The historic DREAM Relief Day will be the first opportunity for undocumented students to apply for the President’s “deferred action” initiative, allowing them to be shielded from deportation and eligible for work permits, driver’s licenses, and other basic protections.
The DREAM Relief victory could not have been won without a sustained national effort, led by brave children and families “coming out of the shadows” to tell their stories. ICIRR is proud to belong to two national networks that exemplify that sustained commitment to lifting up the leadership or our most vulnerable families: the Center for Community Change’s Fair Immigration Reform Movement and the Equal Voices Campaign for American Families.
ICIRR will have the capacity to provide full-service assistance for 1,500 DREAM Act-eligible youth that includes help with completing deferred action applications, and free information and consultation for up to 5,000 DREAM Act-eligible youths who will also be given a packet that includes a list of required supporting documents, an eligibility checklist, an attorney referral list, a list of GED programs, and a list of upcoming workshop locations and dates.
ICIRR recommends that anyone coming to DREAM Relief Day
· Come prepared with all the required documents listed on dreamrelief.org
· Come early and plan to spend all day
· Expect long lines
· Bring plenty of food and water.
August 15 is only the first day to apply for deferred action. DREAM Act-eligible youth will still be able to apply for deferred action after August 15, and ICIRR will be organizing a series of additional workshops over the next several months. We encourage people to visit dreamrelief.org for information on required documents and further workshops after August 15.
WHEN: Wednesday, August 15 from 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
WHERE: Navy Pier 600 East Grand Avenue – Grand Ball room
9:00 am – Noon – Workshop for DREAM eligible youth (screening and assistance with application) and college fair with DePaul University, Loyola University, Northern Illinois University, Northeastern Illinois University, City Colleges of Chicago, University of Illinois at Chicago, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
12:30 pm – Photo-op with dignitaries assisting DREAMers apply for deferred action
1:00 pm – Ceremony with Senator Durbin, Congressman Gutierrez and Mayor Emanuel, Define American founder Jose Antonio Vargas, and business, education, and other religious leaders
The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights is a statewide coalition of more than 130 organizations dedicated to promoting the rights of immigrants and refugees to full and equal participation in the civic, cultural, social, and political life of our diverse society. For more information, visit www.icirr.org.
“Never say I can’t,” said Tony Melendez as he played the guitar. The room at Navy Pier was captivated. He made everyone laugh with a rendition of a Diana Ross song, “Reach out and touch” by adding funny things to the end of the line like, “Reach out your hands and untie somebody’s shoe.” People did it and the community of techies laughed. This was the last surprise presentation of the Latinos in Social Media Conference of 2011. Aimed to inspire, Melendez has traveled to 46 countries because of music, he explained. The Venezuelan native has played for and been kissed by the pope. His faith in God and Christian lifestyle has worked wonders for the man, making him available to play and tell his story.
There’s only one issue. He was born without arms. So how does he play the guitar you ask? He plays with his feet. Amazing isn’t it? He does everything with his feet. From driving to opening doors, using his phone and walking. “Never say you can’t,” he repeated throughout his inspirational presentation. People cried, especially women. A friend of mine, whom I saw after the presentation said, “Screw the touch up. I’m going to be crying all night.” She ended up recording a good chunk of the presentation to show to her kids. It would be an understatement to say that the presentation didn’t hit home with the LATISM crowd. Phones were up, cameras were out recording as people listened intently as Melendez sang his life story bilingually.
There are possibilities for everything. That’s what I gathered from his story. From being the odd ball kid at school with an older brother wrongly ashamed of him, Melendez proved that he could do just as much, if not more than other kids his age. His brother spoke about the first time he “saw” his brother. It was after Tony had begun to assist the same school as his big brother. “I walked into my mom’s room and asked my mom why Tony had to be at the same school as me,” he explained. It was then that his mother told him that God created him that way and that regardless, they should love him the way he is. That afternoon, Tony proved to his brother that he could play Frisbee by catching with his shoulder and chin and throwing with his right foot, hitting his brother on the bridge of his nose.
I understood the message, loud and clear. Regardless of physical appearance, I can say I relate to this situation. First of all, I cringe when I hear people say, “I can’t.” I feel that by saying that, you close off yourself to any type of possibility of things happening in a positive light. You always can. There’s really nothing that we as humans can’t do; that is, unless you double book yourself on the same night. That’s the only time I’ll accept it. There is always a possibility of “CAN.”
The other thing I related to was pity. Melendez talked about people either offering him prosthetic arms or asking him if he would ever want arms. “What would I do with arms?” he said. Growing up his whole life without them, there is no room for pity. If you’ve never had something, you can’t miss it. “This is all I need,” he said picking up his foot.
I’m a Type 1 diabetic and although you can’t see my “disability” it’s clear and present in every moment of my waking life. When you look at my pump, you see the source of my health, as odd as that sounds. My little battery-operated purple insulin pump gives me my doses, keeps me alive. I was diagnosed at 7 years old. For almost 20 years now, I haven’t known to live my life any different. Checking, poking, prodding; it’s all a part of it and there is no getting rid of it. But I’ve realized that being diabetic has made me who I am. It has made me healthy and vibrant and thankful and motivated. It has given me inspiration, made me angry and overall, has given me patience. So when I hear, “I’m sorry to hear that,” after telling someone that I have diabetes, my first response is not shame but, “I don’t need your pity.” I tell people, “Why are you sorry? It’s not your fault and I’m perfectly healthy.”
If anything, I looked at Melendez and thought to myself, “You’re right, man!” If you were there that night, I hope it reinforced your ambition and ability to move and grow and sing and dance. There’s nothing better than enjoying your life with what you have and not asking for more. Many times what you’re looking for is right in front of you. Grasp it and be thankful.
This past week brought a wave of tech-savvy Latinos to the Midwest for the National Latinos in Social Media Conference. Hosted at Navy Pier, the three-day social media fest brought together the top of the top in Latino branding, blogging and progression of the community in the digital realm. Among panels and workshops, where it wasn’t rude to have your eyes on your phone, iPad or laptop the whole time, there were surprise and guest speakers from some of the most inspirational members of the community.
Thursday night Dolores Huerta graced the dinner stage with her presence. During her talk she explained that we, as Latinos, still have a lot of work to do. Although the struggle for her, as we all know, began alongside Cesar Chavez, her goals today are not much different than those of the 1960s.
“Brown is the new Black,” she said, stressing the fact that we’ve already seen the problems we’re seeing now, namely during the Civil Rights Movement. Racism and prejudice is prevalent in our world and it is happening very strongly against Latinos. “Here in Chicago, there are many undocumented people from Eastern Europe,” she pointed out, then furthering the idea that Latinos are receiving the worst treatment.
“We have to change the policies in the U.S. to help the immigration situation,” she emphasized. In order to help the fact that more undocumented people keep coming to the U.S., we have to acknowledge that those countries must become stronger via economic and financial standpoints.
Focusing on working together and realizing that our immigration issue, although promoted only toward the undocumented, really affects us all; still allowing for discrimination and racism to stay existent, and above all the fact that we all come from the same human blood line although we’re black, white, brown and yellow created a feeling of pride, inspiration and motivation in the Navy Pier ballroom.
The little woman was as feisty as she probably was in the Chavez days, continuing her tireless work of fighting the good fight. Her push for unification among all marginalized communities was the overall message reminding us that the LGBTQ community is still included in that realm. She reminded the room that those who killed Matthew Shepard in Laramie, Wyo. went after Mexicans as well, ultimately linking the weapon that killed Shepard to it’s owner because of the wound on one of the Latinos.
She talked about Chris Weitz’s movie “A Better Life” saying that the room should watch the film. For those of you who are not avid readers of EXTRA, we ran an interview with Weitz not too long ago, written and conducted by Kiko Martinez.
In addition, Huerta asked that we all support Celia Muñoz, who is undergoing a serious political debate right now. She allegedly took a stance to protect and neglect the realities coming out of the White House in regards to immigration. Whether or not it is true, Huerta stated that she had been wrongly accused.
In an effort to join the Latinos in Social Media movement, Huerta has started her own foundation, the Dolores Huerta Foundation, dedicated to “create a network of organized communities pursuing social justice through systemic and structural transformation.” The 501(c)(3) organizes on a grassroots level creating leadership opportunities for community organizing, leadership development, civic engagement, and policy advocacy in the areas of health and environment, youth development and education, and economic development.
Getting to take a picture with her and thank her for her hard work might have been the highlight of the evening for me. It isn’t every day that you get to meet a woman of her strength and caliber. If anyone has studied, read or knows the history of the United Farm Workers Union, you know why many Latinas, and Latinos for that matter, have decided to take an active stance on pushing forward and being progressive with their goals and within the community.