By: BRIAN NADIG
THE KURDISH Cultural Center of Illinois recently opened its doors in a storefront at 4217 N. Milwaukee Ave. The nonprofit organization held a grand opening on Saturday, Jan. 7. The center offers cultural and historical programs and discussions affecting the Kurdish people around the world. (Photo by Rob Mandik).
The nonprofit Kurdish Cultural Center of Illinois, which offers a variety of educational and social activities, recently opened at 4217 N. Milwaukee Ave.“There are many (Kurdish) families in the Portage and Jefferson Park area,” said Ba-hadin Kerborani, a vice president on the center’s board. Between 1,000 and 1,500 Kurds are estimated to live in Chicago, he said. A Kurdish cultural center had been located at 4803 N. Milwaukee Ave. but it closed about 6 years ago. That group has since reorganized and is now leasing a storefront at 4217 N. Milwaukee, Kerborani said. “OUR ULTIMATE goal is to buy a place,” he said. Having its own location allows the organization to host more community programs, including Kurdish language classes, and to offer more activities in which families can connect and form friendships, he said. The center also offers cultural and historical programming and discussions on recent issues affecting Kurds throughout the world. The center held a grand opening on Saturday, Jan. 7.“The Kurdish people, the largest stateless nation in the world, live in Kurdistan, which has been occupied by Iran, Iraq, Turkey and Syria since the 16th century, with a population of an estimated 40 million,” the center’s Web site states. Kerborani said that he moved to Chicago in 2011 and holds a passport from Turkey, where he said the Kurdish people face many challenges and restrictions. “THE TURKISH government has designated us a minority… and has had bans on the (Kurdish) language and newspapers,” he said.
For more information on the center, visit kurdsofillinois.org.