Submitted by City of Aurora
Updated 2/4/2022 10:46 PM
The first day of Black History Month in Aurora began with a history presentation that would impact the future.
During the Feb. 1 meeting of the Aurora city council’s committee of the whole, a resolution to make Juneteenth a paid holiday for city staff was advanced for a final vote of approval at the Feb. 8 Aurora city council meeting.
Both Feb. 1 and Feb. 8 are key dates in a monthlong series of events the city is sponsoring for Black History Month called Aurora In Black.
Much like the city-sponsored Aurora Avanzando series of events for Hispanic Heritage Month last fall, the Aurora in Black series has both in-person and virtual events that shine a spotlight on Aurora’s Black community and underscore the city’s commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion.
A full list of “Aurora In Black” events is available at www.aurora-il.org/AuroraInBlack.
• On Feb. 8, pending final approval of the aforementioned resolution, a resolution signing Ceremony for the resolution to make Juneteenth a paid city holiday will occur during the Aurora City Council meeting at 6 p.m.
Also, during the city council meeting, leaders and advocates will be presented the Mayor’s Award of Black Excellence for their contributions to the community.
• The following day, Black staff members at city hall will host a dialogue with students during the “Changing the Narrative” panel discussion on Feb. 9 at local high schools. The panel discussions will provide accessible role models who will share the importance of history and heritage to their personal and professional aspirations.
• On Feb. 10, the Aurora African American Heritage Advisory will host its first public meeting in two years. The inaugural meeting at 5:30 p.m. will feature a review of the history of AAHAB, an introduction of newly appointed and reappointment members on the board, and the opportunity to interact with board members during an open house immediately following the meeting.
• Some of the Aurora history that advisory board helps to preserve and promote will be on display on Saturday, Feb. 12, during the Fox Valley Park District’s Local Legends Play.
The play features students portraying the lives of the late great Aurora matriarch Marie Wilkinson, along with Lillian Perry, Fred Rodgers, Wilbur Walters, and Mayor Richard C. Irvin, who will be in attendance for the performance. In a separate event this week, Mayor Irvin will meet with the young actors for a private dinner conversation. Tickets for the play are available at bit.ly/3BDTMLW.
• The month will conclude with celebrating Black-owned businesses on Saturday, Feb. 26. The city of Aurora is collaborating with Fox Valley Mall to host ribbon-cutting ceremonies for several new Black-owned businesses at the mall. The celebration will begin at 10 a.m., followed by a round-robin of ribbon-cutting ceremonies at the respective businesses.
The “Aurora in Black” series also features several virtual community conversations that can be watched on the city’s Facebook page.
• At 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 16, and Thursday, Feb. 17, the city will host a two-part virtual community conversation with Black leaders at city hall. Executives in several city departments and divisions will be featured on Wednesday, and a group of Millennial and Generation Z city staff members will be the focus of the conversation on Thursday.
• The following week, the virtual conversations will be held in the evening.
At 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 23, the “Lean on Me” Community Conversation will feature local Black principals sharing their stories of leadership and how they are shaping the next generation of leaders in their schools.
• On Thursday, Feb. 23 at 6 p.m., the “Talented Tenth” Community Conversation will spotlight representatives of the nine traditionally Black fraternities and sororities who will share the mission and work of their organizations at the local level in Aurora.
Additional events may be added throughout the month in partnership with other local organizations.
The full schedule for “Aurora in Black” is available at www.aurora-il.org/AuroraInBlack.