Thursday, October 1, 2009

Judge Ruben Castillo to reflect on Lincoln and the American Dream

If you're in Chicagoland, you won't want to miss an upcoming Lincoln event. Thanks to my friend, David Early at the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, who sent this information to me. His press release contains everything you'll need to know, so I've included it in its entirety.

Judge Ruben Castillo on Lincoln’s Leadership for a Multicultural World

Abraham Lincoln likely never envisioned today’s multicultural society. However, even in his day, the United States grappled with the immigration issue. What lessons for today can we find in Lincoln’s steadfast commitment to the ideals of freedom, democracy, and equality of opportunity?

On October 12, at the Chicago History Museum, U.S. District Judge Ruben Castillo of the Northern District of Illinois will reflect on Lincoln’s legacy and its impact on immigration policy, human rights, and citizenship in the United States today.

The program is free and begins at 6:30 p.m. A reception precedes the event at 5:30 p.m.

“Abraham Lincoln and the American Dream: Lincoln’s Leadership for a Multicultural World” is a free program sponsored by the national Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission and presented in partnership with the Chicago History Museum, the National Museum of Mexican Art, and the Newberry Library. Seating is limited and reservations are encouraged by visiting the CHM’s Web site at .

“The legend of Lincoln has withstood the critical test of time,” said Judge Castillo. "Lincoln’s thoughts on issues that cause constant debate in our country, still serve as a great, guiding beacon in the 21st century.”

Judge Castillo was appointed to the Federal bench in 1994 by President Bill Clinton. He is the son of a Mexican father and a Puerto Rican mother, and is the first of his family to graduate from college. He earned his bachelor's degree from Loyola University in Chicago, working nights as a clerk at the Illinois Circuit Court of Cook County. He earned his law degree from Northwestern University in 1979.

For five years, he was an associate attorney with the firm Jenner & Block, before being appointed an assistant U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois in 1984. In 1988, he became a regional counsel for the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund, before returning to private practice with Kirkland & Ellis in 1991. He has served as a member of the U.S. Sentencing Commission since 1999.

The U.S. Census Bureau projects that minorities, which now account for roughly one-third of the U.S. population, are expected to become the majority in 2042. By 2050, the Census Bureau projects the nation will be 54 percent minority. Even sooner, by 2023, minorities will comprise more than half of all children.

“The American values of freedom and democracy, which Lincoln so eloquently articulated, are immutable,” said Eileen Mackevich, ALBC executive director, “even as American demographics change rapidly. As we become more and more multicultural, will Lincoln continue to hold the American imagination? The Lincoln Bicentennial has give us the opportunity to explore this issue and we look forward to Judge Castillo’s perspectives.”

WHAT: “Abraham Lincoln and the American Dream: Lincoln’s Leadership for a Multicultural World”
WHO: Ruben Castillo, U.S. District Judge for the Northern District of Illinois
WHEN: Monday, Oct. 12, 2009 *Reception at 5:30 p.m. *Program at 6:30 p.m.
WHERE: Chicago History Museum, 1601 N. Clark Street, Chicago

About the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission & Foundation
Congress established the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission to recommend appropriate ways to commemorate the 200th birthday of Abraham Lincoln in 2009. The Commission is predicated on the premise that it will function as a public-private partnership. Congress appropriates funds for administration. Private funding is necessary, however, to produce programs, events and materials planned for the Bicentennial. To support the public-private partnership, and insure that Lincoln activities continue into the future, the Commission established the ALBC Foundation [a 501(c)(3) based in Washington DC] in 2007. For more information, please visit

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