Ravisloe Country Club in Homewood was filled with attendees who paraded their hats and fascinators at the sixth annual Hats Off to South Suburban Women, a political fundraising luncheon on July 9 in support of Cook County 6th District Commissioner Donna Miller.
The lunch was highlighted by keynote speaker Nobel Peace Prize nominee Juliana Taimoorazy.
Taimoorazy was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2021 for helping persecuted Christian communities in Iraq. She is the founder and president of the Iraqi Christian Relief Council.
In her speech, Taimoorazy spoke about the persecution and exile of Assyrians that has taken place over the country’s history. Over several generations, Assyrians have battled for their identity and their Christian faith.
“Today, I stand here before you as a witness and the words in which I offer you today, I hope you will carry deep within your hearts because these words rise from the depth of my humanity,” Taimoorazy said during her speech. “My humanity which binds me to you and through me, they bind you to those who have suffered immensely.”
Miller felt it was important to have Taimoorazy as the keynote speaker because of the advocacy work she has accomplished around the globe.
“She’s just been such an amazing inspiration for not only people in her country but people abroad, and from her speech today, she just told us all how we can work together to make something happen and we shouldn’t turn a blind eye on what’s been happening in another country,” Miller said.
During her speech, Taimoorazy told the stories of several Assyrians who have been exiled, lost family members and experienced great loss.
Taimoorazy expressed her anger at the lack of involvement from women and children’s rights advocates. She challenged attendees to become involved in humanitarian efforts to help persecuted Assyrian and Christian communities abroad.
“Today, the outrage would be that we would walk away from this without being a voice for the women who are waiting on us to act. We weren’t able to stop the first persecution, but we must come to their aid now,” Taimoorazy said.
Taimroozay put out a call to action for all in attendance to tell the stories of the persecuted to ensure they are not forgotten.
“She really put a challenge for us to make sure we offer our support and guidance, and she can lead us with that, so I think it was really amazing,” Miller said.