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Skokie Celebrates Korean Culture With 60-Event Series

This year's "Coming Together in Skokie" series of events includes movies, dance, books, Kpop, food and more for all to get to know their Korean neighbors.

Skokie Mayor George Van Dusen welcomed the launch of "Coming Together In Skokie and Niles Townhip" focusing on the Korean culture. Photo: Pam DeFiglio, Patch.com.
Skokie Mayor George Van Dusen welcomed the launch of "Coming Together In Skokie and Niles Townhip" focusing on the Korean culture. Photo: Pam DeFiglio, Patch.com.

Taste kim chi, learn about what it was like for a teen boy to leave Korea when his parents opened a store in the U.S., learn a beloved Korean folk tale and more as "Coming Together in Skokie & Niles Township" launches Sunday, Jan. 26 and continues with programs for about two months.

"It will be a great opportunity for people to experience and learn Korean culture," said Tom Suh, president of Korean American Association of Chicago (and Chicagoland) at a preview of the event Thursday.

This is the fifth "Coming Together"program, said Susan Van Dusen, who was one of five women who founded the event five years ago; it has previously focused on the Indian, Assyrian, Filipino and Greek cultures. It has grown every year, but has taken a big leap forward this year by including events at the Morton Grove, Lincolnwood and Niles libraries, and venturing into area schools with programs.  

"We decided to do a program to do two things...number one bring people together, and...number two, we want to have people understand each other through knowledge," said Susan Van Dusen at the preview, held at Skokie Library.

Carolyn Anthony, director of the Skokie Library, said many cultural events offer food tastings and folk dance performances, but in the end, audiences have not really gotten an understanding of the culture. That's why "Coming Together" chose three books for different age groups, in order to help others understand the Korean worldview.

"We wanted people to be able to get more in-depth learning about the culture," she said.

They are: "Everything Asian" by Sung Woo, a tale of how foreign America seems to a teen who moves from Korea to New Jersey; "Kim Chi and Calamari," the tale of a Korean middle schooler adopted by an Italian-American family who must write a school assignment on his ethnic heritage, and "Rabbit and the Dragon King: Based on a Korean Folk Tale," a children's book about a rabbit who must outwit a dragon king who believes he needs a rabbit's heart to restore his health.

All are invited to the events; a kickoff ceremony will be held Sunday, Jan. 26 at Niles West High School with an art exhibit at refreshments at 1:30 p.m. and a program at 2 p.m. The closing and a reception with Korean food will be at 4 p.m.

About 60 events take place after that, from January to March. They include visits by the authors of the featured books, tae kwon do demonstrations, a baby's first birthday celebration, films, cooking demonstrations and tastings, making hanji (rice paper mirror), K-Pop dance, a history of Korean immigration, a history of how Korea became divided, a history of the Korean War and more. 
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