Past Event

Bridging Divides: Women, Immigration, and Culture

Despite the overwhelming number of women immigrants to the United States, the important role of gender in immigration is largely overlooked. Across the spectrum of immigration experiences, women are often critical advocates for the needs and interests of their local communities.
How can we bring women into our understanding of the immigrant experience? What role do these women play in their communities – both locally and in their country of origin? How do traditional gender roles change in the process of immigration?
Join the Illinois Humanities Council and the Chicago Cultural Alliance for an exciting panel and audience discussion with representatives from three Chicago ethnic community organizations: Casa Michoacán, the Ethiopian Community Association of Chicago, and the Ukrainian National Museum.
Hear how women’s voices make a difference at these community institutions from three diverse perspectives: African, Latino, and Eastern European.
Refreshments (in the form of authentic ethnic cuisine) will be served!
Free. Open to the public. Reservations are required.
Casa Michoacán: Claudia Lucero was born in Durango, Mexico and immigrated to the United States at the age of 17. She worked with the National Alliance of Latin American and Caribbean Communities (NALACC) as a Regional Coordinator of the Mid West, and as the Leadership Program Coordinator for CONFEMEX, the Confederation of Mexican Federations. Claudia is currently President of Durango Unido en Chicago, one of the federations in the Chicago area. In 2006, the Redeye newspaper named Claudia one of “Chicago’s Top 40.”
Ethiopian Community Association of Chicago: Fatima Traore was born in Mali, West Africa. She is President of the Illinois Association of Hair Braiders, and she is a business owner of a local hair braiding solon. Fatima is involved with the Ethiopian Community Association of Chicago through her efforts with the United African Organization on several community issues, such as advocating for a special hair braiding license, which is crucial for the employment of many African immigrant women.
Ukrainian National Museum: Helen Matwyshyn was born in Ukraine and came to the U.S. as a refugee after WWII. As a member of the Ukrainian National Museum and the Ukrainian Women National League of America, Helen helped to create an exhibition to mark the 25th Anniversary of Chernobyl disaster and continues to work with women’s groups that were first to advocate for much-needed aid to Ukraine during WWII.
Guest Speaker & Moderator: Xóchitl BadaAssistant Professor of Latin American and Latino Studies at UIC. Professor Bada is co-editor of Invisible No More: Mexican Migrant Civic Participation in the U.S. and Context Matters: Latino Immigrant Civic Engagement in Nine U.S. Cities. Her book, Mexican Hometown Associations in Chicagoacán: From the Local to Transnational Civic Engagement (Rutgers University Press, Forthcoming 2014) demonstrates how and why emergent forms of citizen participation practiced by Mexican Hometown Associations engage simultaneously with political elites in both Mexico and the United States, and the ways they operate at multiple scales, from the local, to the state, national, and international.

This event is free and open to the public. However, reservations are required and can be made online at

Co-sponsored by the Chicago Cultural Allianceas part of their Heritage Matters series, this event is part of the IHC’s “Bridging Divides” series, which draws on the humanities to help local communities address seemingly intractable social, cultural and political divides.

The “Bridging Divides” series is made possible in part by the generous support of The Boeing Company and is part of the IHC’s Conversations on Contemporary Issues program.


If you need a sign interpreter or require other arrangements to fully participate, please call 312.422.5580 at least 72 hours prior to the event.Street parking is available. For additional parking locations near the facility, please visit For more information, please call 312.422.5580.