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Pritzker ignores Arab business needs again in latest appointments

Governor JB Pritzker’s Illinois Office of Tourism inducted 30 small businesses into the Illinois Made Program and once again the governor ignored and marginalized Arab-American businesses. Pritzker’s anti-Arab and anti-Muslim policies are a longstanding issue that he has refused to address. Pritzker calls it the “Illinois’ most diverse class of creators” to date, recognizing small businesses in an effort to encourage residents and visitors to travel throughout Illinois

Arab American, however, praised the efforts of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) for its efforts to engage Arab American and Muslim American businesses, but said Governor Pritzker had created an atmosphere of marginalization American Arabs and Muslims.

Governor Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) today announced that 30 small businesses or “Makers” have been recognized through the Illinois Made program.

Each year, the Illinois Office of Tourism selects a group of small businesses that exemplify the hidden gems, unique experiences and products that make Illinois a great place for residents and visitors to explore.

“I couldn’t be prouder to announce the 2022 Illinois Makers Class, the most representative of our diverse state since the Illinois Made program was established,” said Governor JB Pritzker.

“Here in Illinois, we have it all: beautiful woodcarvings, mouth-watering baked goods, and the most delicious barbecue in the country, all thanks to our small businesses. With Small Business Saturday fast approaching, I encourage all residents and visitors to check out the latest 30 makers making Illinois, Illinois. Congratulations, Illinois Makers Class of 2022!”

Closure notices posted on the doors and windows of Arab-American businesses during Mayor Lori Lightfoot's closure of Arab-owned stores from June to September 2021. Photo courtesy of Ray Hanania
Closure notices posted on the doors and windows of Arab-American businesses during Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s closure of Arab-owned stores from June to September 2021. Photo courtesy of Ray Hanania

The Illinois Makers Class of 2022 represents the most diverse since the program’s inception, with more than 60% of businesses owned by women or people of color. From French pastries to elegant handcrafted china, each of the Illinois makers featured helps inspire travel across the state.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our Illinois economy, and their distinctive products and experiences help make communities unique and provide locals and visitors with many reasons to explore our great state. We’re excited to announce the new Illinois Makers Just-in-Time for Small Business class on Saturday, November 26,” said Sylvia I. Garcia, Director of DCEO, which includes the Illinois Office of Tourism.

“We are thrilled to have Illinois’ most diverse group of new manufacturers this year, offering Illinois-made products that showcase their unique craftsmanship, history and experiences.”

The Illinois Made program encourages residents and visitors to discover the authentic people, products and experiences created by small businesses across the state. The program, which includes 236 manufacturers, continues to boost tourism in all regions of the state.

New Illinois manufacturers reflect a wide range of businesses, from bakeries, breweries and distilleries to restaurants, retail stores and farms. This year, 19 of the businesses represented are owned by women and/or people of color, more than any Illinois Made class to date. The new creators include the following businesses by region (asterisks indicate women-owned businesses and/or people-of-color businesses):

Chicago and beyond (Chicago and surrounding suburbs)

Great Rivers Country (northwestern and southwestern Illinois)

Trails to Adventure (Southern Illinois)

StarView Vineyards – Cobden*

Lincoln Land (central Illinois)

The Illinois Office of Tourism promotes Illinois creators by including them in road trip itineraries, the biannual Enjoy Illinois travel magazine, events, seasonal campaigns, and the annual giveaway guide. Illinois Made vacation. The 2022 Illinois Made Holiday Gift Guide, which encourages consumers to support small businesses through the holiday shopping season, is available online. The Illinois Office of Tourism (IOT) encourages residents to nominate businesses for the Illinois Made program; Name a local business using this form.

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Cory E. Barnes

The author Cory E. Barnes