Stories by Acacia Hernandez

A migrant shelter located at 2241 S. Halsted Street. (WTTW News)

Officials and Organizers Weigh in on Chicago’s 60-Day Shelter Limit for Migrants, Discuss Long-Term Housing

Mayor Brandon Johnson suspended the 60-day shelter limit for migrants for the third time since November this week, saying in a news conference that the city’s plan for temporary emergency shelter “was never meant as a long-term housing solution.”

(Andrea Piacquadio / Pexels)

Goodbye Gas Stoves? Proposal Seeks to Make All New Construction in Chicago Use Electric Appliances

Advocates say the proposed ordinance aims to combat climate change and reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions, while critics believe it would increase cost and risk reliability.

Fred Hampton (WTTW)

A ‘Black Voices’ Community Conversation: Latest Efforts to Preserve Legacy of Illinois Black Panther Party

For the latest “Black Voices: A WTTW News Community Conversation,” Brandis Friedman met with leaders and researchers to discuss their push to memorialize the Illinois Black Panther Party and include its history in the National Register of Historic Places.

School hallway file photo. (WTTW News)

2 Chicago-Area Private Schools Say They’re Closing After ‘Invest In Kids’ State Program Expires

The controversial program known as Invest In Kids took donations from people and businesses. It used that money to subsidize student tuition for low-income families at private and trade schools before expiring last year. Critics of the program say it takes away resources from the public schools the majority of state children attend. 

The current home of the Chicago White Sox, Guaranteed Rate Field, is pictured in a file photo. (WTTW News)

Bye-Bye, Bridgeport? Chicago White Sox Eye New Digs on Near South Side

Discussions are being held with developers and city officials on an early plan to bring a new Chicago White Sox stadium to vacant land known as The 78 south of the Loop. 

A “Hats & Hot Chocolate” event in North Park. (Provided)

Rogers Park Resident Collects 1,800 Handmade Hats to Help Migrants Keep Warm

One Rogers Park resident is making it her mission to help migrants by giving them knitted and crocheted winter hats. She reached out to local and online crafting groups asking if others wanted to do the same.

Dr. Olusimbo “Simbo” Ige appears on “Chicago Tonight: Black Voices” on Jan. 17, 2024. (WTTW News)

Meet Chicago’s New Public Health Commissioner, Olusimbo ‘Simbo’ Ige

The city of Chicago has a new public health commissioner filling this high-profile role after the ousting of Dr. Allison Arwady in August. Dr. Olusimbo “Simbo” Ige is the first Black woman to lead the Chicago Department of Public Health on a permanent basis.

People at a naturalization ceremony. (WTTW News)

Who Should Have US Citizenship? Renewed Calls for Ban on Birthright Citizenship

Some Republican presidential candidates said they want to do away with birthright citizenship for the children of immigrants living in the U.S. unlawfully. Right now, anyone born in the United States automatically becomes a U.S. citizen.

(WTTW News)

What a Permanent Child Tax Credit Could Mean for Families in Illinois

Advocates and lawmakers are calling for a permanent child tax credit to help lessen the economic burden on struggling families.

(WTTW News)

Spotlight Politics: Policy Banning Chicago Police Officers From Joining Extremist Groups to Take Effect

The ban on Chicago police officers belonging to extremist groups takes effect Saturday. The U.S. Supreme Court took a pass on the latest challenge to Illinois’ assault weapons ban. And why it took decades to prove former Ald. Ed Burke's corruption and abuse of power.

In Rockford, Ill., 355 migrants recently arrived by plane.

Several Chicago Suburbs Take Steps to Prevent More Unannounced Migrant Drop-Offs From Texas

The Chicago City Council passed an ordinance allowing officials to impound buses bringing migrants to the city outside official hours and landing zones. It’s led multiple suburbs to follow in Chicago’s footsteps by passing similar emergency policies.

(agilemktg1 / Flickr)

Illinois Health Officials Say Racism is a Public Health Crisis Creating Care Disparities

The State Health Improvement Plan is part of a larger five-year plan that Illinois officials will use to outline and address the major public health issues facing the state.  

Two people ride bicycles in Chicago on Dec. 28, 2023. (WTTW News)

A Wet, Warm & Snowless December: What’s Behind the Record High Temperatures

It’s winter in Chicago, but where’s the cold weather and snow? December’s temperatures are averaging about nine degrees higher than normal.

Chicago-Area Christmas Concert to Feature Music From Across Latin America

The newly designed program is expanding from the Mexican region to include music from Peru, Spain, Guatemala and many others — calling it “A Latin American Christmas” with music that was heard from the 15th to the 18th centuries.

(Michael Izquierdo / WTTW News)

There’s Renewed Efforts to Redefine Chicago’s Neighborhood Boundaries. Here’s How You Can Help

We all know Chicago as the city of neighborhoods, but how exactly are those neighborhoods defined? And do those boundaries last mapped out in the 1920s still hold true? That’s what a group of scholars and researchers from the University of Chicago is venturing to find out.

2021 Holiday Posada in Little Village. (Courtesy of Little Village Chamber of Commerce)

Drawing Foot Traffic to Chicago Small Businesses Through ‘Holiday Activations’

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, when you spend $100 at a small business, $48 stays in the community versus when you spend the same $100 at a big-box store or national retailer, only $14 stays.

City Council. (WTTW News)

Alds. Lopez and Sigcho-Lopez Debate Attempt to Add Sanctuary City Referendum to March Primary Ballot

A handful of Chicago City Council members want voters to weigh in during the March primary election on whether Chicago should stay a sanctuary city for undocumented immigrants. 

What Homelessness Among Latinos Looks Like Amid Growing Need for Housing

According to the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless’ recent report, which just became available in Spanish, an estimated 68,000 people are homeless in Chicago.

(WTTW News)

Teacher Vacancies in Illinois Disproportionately Impact Students of Color: Report

“Most tragically, students of color and students from low-income households are dramatically more likely to be in districts with high vacancy levels, more than twice the vacancy rates than the rest of state,” said Robin Steans, president of Advance Illinois.

Danny Sotomayor speaks at a protest in May 1989. (Courtesy of Bill McMillan)

A ‘Latino Voices’ Community Conversation: Who Was Danny Sotomayor?

Reflecting on the impact political cartoonist and activist Danny Sotomayor had on the AIDS epidemic in Chicago during the 1980s and 1990s. 

File photo of homes in Cicero. (WTTW News)

Cicero Independiente’s Yearlong Project Reveals Air Quality in Cicero is ‘Much Worse’ Than in Surrounding Communities

The project involves sensors installed and monitored by the Cicero Independiente and MuckRock providing data to back up what many community members were already feeling.

Chicago City Hall. (Michael Izquierdo / WTTW News)

Spotlight Politics: City Budget Approval; Proposal Could Remove Chicago’s Sanctuary Status

Chicago's City Council members are preparing to vote on Mayor Johnson's spending plan. The latest on a measure that would remove Chicago's sanctuary city status. And former Ald. Ed Burke's trial could finally resume this week following a COVID-19 delay.

(WTTW News)

Chicago-Area Advocates Head to Washington to Push for Work Permits for Longtime Undocumented Immigrants

The Biden administration has started to grant temporary protected status to almost 500,000 Venezuelan migrants who are already in the country — quickly making them eligible to work. Meanwhile, advocates are pushing for work permits for more than 180,000 undocumented immigrants in Chicago who have been in the city much longer.

File photo of food pantry shelves. (WTTW News)

Food Insecurity is on the Rise Again. How Chicagoans Are Helping Meet the Need Ahead of the Holidays

According to the Greater Chicago Food Depository, one in five households in the Chicago area is facing food insecurity. A national report found that 17 million households were food insecure at some point in 2022.

Danny Sotomayor was an AIDS activist and the first openly gay nationally syndicated political cartoonist. (Lisa Howe-Ebright)

Late AIDS Activist Danny Sotomayor’s Legacy Featured in Latest Episode of WTTW Series ‘Chicago Stories’

The late Chicago AIDS activist Danny Sotomayor didn’t just open doors at City Hall. He was also a political cartoonist and an organizer who used civil disobedience to wage war on city officials marginalizing the LGBTQ+ community.

Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx appears on “Chicago Tonight: Black Voices” on Nov. 1, 2023. (WTTW News)

Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx on the First Month Without Cash Bail

It’s been more than a month since Illinois became the first state to eliminate cash bail entirely. Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx said her office was preparing for almost 18 months before the Pretrial Fairness Act went into effect.