Thank You to our December Chapter Meeting Presenters

Gary Aleranga & Melanie Munoz for presenting

Conscious Inclusion

and to our location & food host - St. Joseph Hospital

Diversity Message

December is a wonderful month to appreciate many diverse cultures religious and seasonal celebrations—Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza and the winter solstice to name a few.  It has also become a month of giving—to our families and friends and, often through our places of work, to the community at large.

I would like to share a story about intercultural giving of which I first read in an article from Chicago’s Beverly Review earlier this year.  It is a story about a bond between the Choctaw Nation, a Native American people, and the people of Ireland which began at the time of the potato famine in Ireland.

On March 3, 1848, a group of Choctaw raised what would be about $5.000.00 in today’s money, to donate to the Irish famine relief effort.  These people did not have much themselves. In 1830 the Indian Removal Act forced them to leave their homes and about 15,000 of the Choctaw were forced to walk the: “Trail of Tears” to be relocated.  They suffered illness and poverty as a result. Just 15 years later, the compassion for another suffering people was great and they did what they could to help.

In 1989, a human rights organization renewed the bond between these two peoples and commemorated the compassion and generosity of the Choctaw people. In 1990, Choctaw leaders accepted an invitation to travel to Ireland and in 1992, Irish leaders took part in a 500-mile trek with the Choctaw, from Oklahoma to Mississippi, reversing the original ‘Trail of Tears.’ As recently as 2011, Mary Robinson, the former president of Ireland, visited the Choctaw headquarters in Oklahoma to announce a scholarship program for Choctaw youth.

Today, many workplaces sponsor food drives and fund raisers for many good causes. Social media has helped the word to get out to and from all over the globe.  It is inspiring to think that over 170 years ago, the plight of the people of Ireland and the generous response of the Choctaw people went viral and created a bond that has lasted until today.

Ellen Stone

"NIEAPA members shall seek to develop an awareness of their own personal and cultural values and beliefs as one way of appreciating the importance of multicultural identities in our own lives and in the lives of those we serve.  NIEAPA members shall have and continue to develop specialized knowledge and understanding about the values, traditions and systems of all employees at the workplaces they serve."

Northern Illinois Chapter Employee Assistance Professionals Association (NIEAPA)

Address: 400 E. Randolph #2305, Chicago. IL 60601Phone: +1 (312) 756-7756

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