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‘Day of the Immigrant’ planned for Sept. 22

Southwest Suburban Immigrant Project will host its eighth annual ‘Day of the Immigrant’ Sept. 22 at the Bolingbrook Performing Arts Center.

The event will feature authentic food, folkloric dance performances, live music and a bilingual resource fair. Admission is free and the community is invited.

“We want to celebrate contributions that immigrants make to the suburbs, especially with the national anti-immigrant rhetoric,” said Jose Vera, co-founder and executive director for the Southwest Suburban Immigrant Project. “We wanted to combat that to make sure people understand immigrants are an important part of the fabric of our suburban community.”

Close to 15,000 people came out to the event last year.

“It’s a family event where you bring everyone together,” Vera said. “We’re there to celebrate. Like I said, we’ve been having this event for eight years. Especially, with right now, the national anti-immigrant rhetoric even coming from the federal administration, having people coming together to celebrate and have a good time makes a big statement to say that immigrants are welcome, here, in the suburbs.”

Vera said as part of the program, they invite elected officials to come out and commit to working for the immigrant community in the following year.

Guests of note this year will include Congressman Bill Foster, State Sen. Pat McGuire and State Rep. Natalie Manley.

Vera said SSIP started planning for this year’s Day of the Immigrant in January.

“It’s a big event, and we have a small staff,” he said. “We have a very dedicated planning committee to help us put this event together.”

Vera said SSIP has been working hard to promote this year’s event.

“Because this is our eighth year planning it, a lot of people just ask us about it,” he said. “There’s a lot of social media. There’s a social media event [page created] that a lot of people are able to see it. … We try to promote it through passing out flyers.”

Day of the Immigrant serves as SSIP’s biggest platform to educate the community.

“We’re able to talk about Know Your Rights and talk about our programs,” Vera said. “We usually get a large number of people that sign up for things that they can take advantage of in our community.”

The event is a fundraiser, as well, providing support for SSIP programming.

Organizers behind Day of the Immigrant have volunteer and sponsorship opportunities available.

For more information, visit www.ssipchicago.orgor call 630-296-6755.

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