Stories by Acacia Hernandez

‘Voices’ Community Conversation: ‘Hiding in Plain Sight: Youth Mental Illness’

“Hiding in Plain Sight: Youth Mental Illness,” is a new two-part documentary. (Credit: “Hiding in Plain Sight”)

On Monday, “Chicago Tonight” co-host Paris Schutz moderated the latest edition of our “Chicago Tonight: Voices” conversation in conjunction with “Hiding in Plain Sight: Youth Mental Illness,” a new two-part documentary by executive producer Ken Burns.

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Pride Parade Returns in Northalsted

(WTTW News)

For the first time in three years, Northalsted and the surrounding neighborhood will host the city’s Pride Parade.

Candidate Forum: Democratic Secretary of State Candidates Anna Valencia, David Moore Square Off

Chicago City Clerk Anna Valencia and Ald. David Moore (17th Ward) are among four Democratic candidates vying to fill his seat. “Chicago Tonight” also invited candidate and former state treasurer Alexi Giannoulias who initially accepted an invitation and then later canceled. Also on the ballot is Sidney Moore.

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Fuller Park

(WTTW News)

Fuller Park is a small community area on the South Side of Chicago, located right off the Dan Ryan Expressway. Despite being considered one of the poorest neighborhoods in Chicago, community leaders have been investing in the neighborhood for years. 

New Law Meant to Increase Mental Health Care Workforce in Illinois

(WTTW News graphic)

COVID-19 has worsened what behavioral health leaders say was already a serious shortage of mental health care providers. 

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Irving Park

(WTTW News)

Irving Park on Chicago’s Northwest Side is a spacious community area with a variety of local businesses and provides easy access to transportation. 

Chicago Beaches Bear Brunt of Climate Change, Erosion as Lake Michigan Levels Fluctuate

(WTTW News)

Chicago’s beaches are seeing fluctuating lake levels and worsening erosion. This, as Lake Michigan levels drop, following two years of record highs.

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: West Elsdon

Gerardo Trujillo is principal of Louis Pasteur Elementary. He organized a mural to be painted on the side of the school, and says that he wanted to give the almost 100-year-old school building some color and inspiration for the community.  (WTTW News)

On the Southwest side, a small community with a population of about 20,000 people offers a suburban feel and is home to many families. And it’s promoting education as the foundation of its hopes and dreams.

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Lincoln Park

(WTTW News)

The Lincoln Park community area lies just west of its 1,200-acre namesake park. It’s one of the city’s most affluent and tony communities, but an uptick in crime has residents concerned, prompting some areas to hire private security.

‘Latino Voices’ Community Conversation: Investment in Youth As Summer Nears

(WTTW News)

With summer quickly approaching, WTTW News reporter Joanna Hernandez moderated the latest edition of our “Chicago Tonight: Latino Voices” community conversation about investments being made in young people by local organizations.

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Humboldt Park Works to Maintain Local Culture

(WTTW News)

La Casita de Don Pedro is one of many parts of Humboldt Park that reminds people of the neighborhood’s deep Puerto Rican roots. Maintaining that culture is something advocates have been focused on.

Calls for Investigation After 3 Residents of Senior Living Facility Die Following Multiple Heat Complaints

(WTTW News)

Three women were found dead Saturday at the James Sneider Apartments in Rogers Park shortly after multiple heat complaints from residents as Chicago temperatures hovered around 90 degrees last week.

WNBA’s Brittney Griner Faces Extended Pre-Trial Detention in Russia


WNBA star Brittney Griner has been in Russian custody since just before Russia invaded Ukraine. Her pre-trial detention was extended another 30 days last week — a sign some experts say could actually provide a glimmer of hope.

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: River North

City Council members and residents are scrambling to figure out more about plans to move a giant temporary Chicago casino into the historic Medinah Temple. (WTTW News)

City Council members and residents are scrambling to figure out more about plans to move a giant temporary Chicago casino into the historic Medinah Temple. It's located in the heart of the fashionable River North neighborhood - home to tourism, commerce and lots of residential units.

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Old Town

(WTTW News)

Located two miles north of downtown, and about a mile from the lake, Old Town a neighborhood that has undergone a lot of change in the past decade. Residents have fought to preserve historic buildings in the area.

Congress Members Weigh in on Possible Roe v. Wade Reversal

The implications of the Roe v. Wade draft decision are mammoth.  If the vote to overturn Roe v. Wade stands, it pushes the question of abortion back into the political process.

Illinois law would protect abortion rights, but how will lawmakers tackle this thorniest of political issues at the federal level?  And what does it mean for the upcoming midterms?

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Englewood on the Rise

(WTTW News)

The South Side neighborhood once had a bustling economy and much larger population. But despite challenges over the decades, local residents and organizations are working to make sure the community has what it needs to thrive.

Alt-Weekly Chicago Reader Faces Uncertain Future as Dispute Over Nonprofit Agreement Continues

(WTTW News)

The future of the Chicago Reader is at stake as a dispute drags on between staff members and one of the paper’s current owners. 

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Woodlawn

(WTTW News)

Construction of the Obama Presidential Center is underway in Jackson Park, and residents on the South Side are bracing for what it will mean for their communities — benefits or displacement. 

Newton Minow On RNC Pulling Out of Presidential Debates Commission: ‘Debates Will Continue’


The Republican National Committee has unanimously voted to withdraw from the Commission on Presidential Debates, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that has officially been sponsoring and producing general election presidential debates since 1987. 

Rush Medical Center CEO on Rise in COVID-19 Cases, ‘Chronic’ Staffing Shortage

(WTTW News)

The Illinois Department of Public Health reported just over 1,463 new COVID-19 cases Monday, up from 756 cases a week ago. That’s in comparison to a high of more than 42,903 cases reported on Jan. 7 at the height of omicron.

The Week in Review: Former Alderman Federally Indicted, Legislative Session Nears End

(WTTW News)

Tax relief coming to Illinoisans. The first domino falls in the Chicago mayor’s race. A temporary defeat for the mayor’s gas tax proposal. And three casino finalists get a public airing.

Frida Kahlo’s Personal Collection of Photos Comes to Pilsen

 “Frida Kahlo after an operation” by Antonio Kahlo, 1946. (Courtesy of Frida Kahlo & Diego Rivera Archives. Bank of Mexico, Fiduciary in the Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo Museum Trust).

A collection of personal photos of Mexican-born artist Frida Kahlo is now on exhibit at the National Museum of Mexican Art in Pilsen. This collection was first presented in Mexico City in 2007, revealing intimate parts and relationships in Kahlo’s life. 

The Week in Review: Mayor Picks Next City Watchdog, Irvin Investigation

(WTTW News)

Chicago has a new Inspector General. Lightfoot floats gas tax relief. WTTW investigates a high-profile gubernatorial candidate’s big donations from contractors. And the new 11th Ward alderperson on the Week in Review. 

Roseland Community Hospital Calls for More State Funding Amid Growing COVID-19 Debt

Roseland Community Hospital, 45 W. 111th St., is facing financial struggles. (WTTW News)

Another South Side hospital is struggling to stay afloat as administrators call for more state funding. We hear from one of its leaders.

Illinois Hotels Seek Public Aid During Slow COVID-19 Economic Recovery

(WTTW News)

Illinois hotel leaders are proposing the Hotel Jobs Recovery Act, which would allocate funds to hotels across the state to rehire workers. The group is proposing $250 million to come from the state’s leftover American Rescue Plan Act funding, giving one-time grants of $1,500 per room for every hotel in Illinois.