CAIR-Chicago Outreach Coordinator Gerald Hankerson presented to an intercultural communications class from Westwood College. He outlined the many cultural dynamics within the Muslim American community and the difficulties the community faces in the larger American society. The presentation and a short video focused on the demographic profile of the Muslim American community and the key civil rights issues surrounding misconceptions about Islam.
Organizers from Westwood later stated that the presentation triggered many classroom conversations with students about radicalization, the real meaning of the word jihad, why women wear hijabs, and whether men and women are seen as equals.
Student comments included:
“It is clear that Gerald is very passionate about Islam and his job. That alone made it worth the trip. The video made me emotional because no person should ever have to deal with that much hatred and ignorance. I was disgusted by the people shouting profanities. ”
“Our trip to CAIR was a great experience.”
“The video that Gerald showed us about bigotry touched my heart. ”
“The overview that Gerald presented extremely well has made me more comfortable with Muslims overall. I hope that his organization bring forward everything they are trying to accomplish.”
“I learned to only believe half of what I hear and see. ”
Hankerson participate in one of our career round table sessions for the University of Indiana Bloomington’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA) Chicago Career Exploration Trip. The Event invited representatives from Chicago institutions to discuss the professional world with UI Bloomington students. Hankerson talked about CAIR-Chicago’s ongoing mission to fight bigotry and defend civil rights as well as the diverse internships and externships offered at the downtown office. CAIR-Chicago maintains a close working partnership with UI Bloomington and, next week, will host participants from UI Bloomington’s annual Hoosier Externship Program.