In a national study of the diversity in America's largest cities, Aurora ranks as one of the most diverse places in the country.
Photo: Muslims safely gathered in Aurora last summer during Eid al-Adha for an outdoor prayer service at Fox Valley Mall. A similar service will be hosted in Aurora this year in honor of the end of the month of Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr.
Personal finance website, WalletHub, published its comprehensive report comparing the demographic profiles of more than 500 of the largest cities in the nation.
Aurora ranks as the fourteenth-most diverse city in the United States.
"America is undergoing an extreme makeover, thanks to rapid demographic diversification," said Adam McCann of WalletHub. "As the U.S. diversifies, it must stamp out hatred and promote unity, and there's a lot of work to do."
The study compared cities across five major diversity categories cultural, religious, household, socioeconomic, and economic.
"One of the biggest assets of Aurora is our diversity," said Aurora Mayor Richard C. Irvin. "But in order to turn the asset into strength, diversity alone isn't enough. We must focus on equity, inclusion, and belonging across the board."
Illinois Governor JB Pritzker recently lauded Aurora for its Covid-19 vaccine equity initiatives.
In collaboration with a network of community organizations, Mayor Irvin and the City of Aurora launched Black Vax Aurora, Latin Vax Aurora, and Indian Vax Aurora to promote vaccine equity and decrease vaccine hesitancy among the most impacted populations. Thousands of Aurorans were vaccinated as a result.
"What Aurora is doing is 'best in class' outreach," said Governor Pritzker. "It is a model."
The initiatives were supported by the City's cultural advisory boards - the African American Heritage Advisory Board, the Hispanic Heritage Advisory Board and the Indian American Community Outreach Advisory Board – and several organizations, churches, parishes and temples in Aurora.
To promote religious inclusivity, Mayor Irvin implemented in 2017 ecumenical invocations at City Council meetings, where members of different faith communities lead the prayers. Last month, invocations were led by members of the Islamic faith in honor of the month of Ramadan and the Sikh community in honor of Sikh Awareness and Appreciation Month.
This month, the City will honor Asian American Pacific Islander Month in a special celebration at Pacifica Square in Aurora. Located on Aurora's far east side, Pacifica Square will be the largest Asian-themed shopping center in the United States.
"Aurora is a diverse place where every person can be an integral part of the fabric of our community," said Ward 10 Alderman-Elect Shweta Baid, who will be sworn in next week as the first Indian American elected to the Aurora City Council. "This is an ideal place to belong and call home."
Photo: Mayor Irvin and Aurora aldermen join businessman Eddie Ni and leaders of Aurora's Chinese community at Pacifica Square for a Chinese New Year celebration in February 2021. In honor of May as Asian American Pacific Islander Month, Pacifica Square will host a celebration at the end of the month. Located at the intersection of New York Street at Route 59 in Aurora, Pacifica Square is home to dozens of new eateries and stores and will be the largest Asian-themed shopping center in the nation.
WalletHub's report also highlights the rankings of other cities in Illinois, including Chicago (10th), Elgin (39th), Rockford (119th), Joliet (140th), Peoria (143rd), and Naperville (222nd).