Stories by Erica Gunderson

Juice Vibe Bar in Berwyn. (WTTW News)

Latina Entrepreneurs Help People Find Ways to Wellness

Fitness instructor NK Gutierrez and juice bar owner Anabelle Martinez are helping people meet their wellness goals.

Students at Chicago Public Schools walk along a hallway in this file photo. (WTTW News)

AP Black History Course Sparks Controversy, Debate

The College Board this week released its updated curriculum for an Advanced Placement African American studies course after receiving criticism from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

(WTTW News)

MCA Chicago Speaks Spanish to Art Lovers

The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago has launched its first major bilingual exhibit. The museum plans to present everything, from its website to wayfinding signs, in both Spanish and English by 2024.

Refugees. (WTTW News)

Welcome Corps Program Allows Private Citizens to Sponsor Refugees to US

Refugees to America often find themselves starting from scratch, but a new program is offering everyday Americans a way to give refugees a softer landing.

(WTTW News)

Lee Bey Shows Off South Side Sites in ‘Building/Blocks’

There’s more to Chicago’s architectural legacy than its gleaming downtown skyline. All throughout the city, there are buildings that inspire — you just have to know where to look.

(WTTW News)

Addressing Childhood Obesity in the Latino Community

Latino CPS students are more likely to be overweight or obese than other demographics, data shows. Latino CPS kindergartners in 2020 had an average overweight or obesity rate of nearly 39%; by ninth grade, the average rate climbed to almost 49%.

(WTTW News)

New Citizen Board for Chicago Police Oversight Gets Ready for Election

Voters will elect three-member councils for each of the city's 22 police districts. Those councils will be charged with holding regular meetings and bringing concerns and recommendations from community members to the city and police leadership.

(Petr Kratochvil / Public Domain Pictures)

Proposed Ordinance Offers Course Correction for False Claims Against Gig Workers

Activists said "bad actors" lie about rideshare and delivery drivers to avoid paying. The Chicago ordinance would allow app drivers accused of misconduct to share their story and recoup income if they were found to be unfairly deactivated.

(WTTW News)

Little Village Honors Memory of Shooting Victim Melissa Ortega

It's been one year since 8-year-old Melissa Ortega was shot to death in Little Village. The community is honoring her memory with a mural and peace tree.

(WTTW News)

Chicago Rolls Out Administrative Debt Relief Program

Chicago’s latest phase in debt relief sets its sights on administrative debt, the sort of debt incurred by tickets for noise violations or littering. People can pay the original fine, and the city will waive any accrued penalties or fees.

(Courtesy of Alicia Odewale; Prints & Photographs Division – America National Red Cross Collection)

Stories of Spirit and Strength in Tulsa’s Greenwood District at ‘A Century of Resilience’ Jan. 29

In her work, Tulsa-based archaeologist Alicia Odewale, Ph.D., is uncovering stories from Tulsa's Greenwood district, which was the site of a vicious racial attack in 1921.

(U.S. Department of Homeland Security)

DHS Outlines Protections for Immigrant Workers Experiencing Labor Violations

The new policy allows undocumented workers to make complaints about labor violations and to participate in investigations without fear of immigration-related retaliation.

(Courtesy of YWCA)

Constructing a New Career with Free 11-Week Job Training Program at YWCA

The YWCA Metropolitan Chicago is now accepting applications for a free 11-week program that pays its trainees a stipend to learn the basics of construction and utilities trades.

(WTTW News)

Puerto Rican Culture, Hospitality on the Board at the Stay and Play Game Cafe

Owners Yesenia and Jose Maldonado hosted game nights for years before taking the leap and converting a former bar into a bright, tropically tinged haven for game play.

(WTTW News)

New Cannabis License Process Aims to Focus on Social Equity

The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation announced the latest timeline and application process for obtaining a cannabis dispensary license.

(Alex-197677521 / Pexels)

Equiticity Offers Lawndale Residents Stipends for Climate-Friendly Transportation

The Mobility Opportunities Fund will provide stipends that help limited-income residents of North Lawndale purchase conventional bikes, e-bikes, e-cargo bikes and electric vehicles.

(WTTW News)

In New Book, Last Surviving Witness to Emmett Till Lynching Seeks to Correct Narrative

In “A Few Days of Trouble: Revelations on the Journey to Justice for My Cousin and Best Friend, Emmett Till,” the Rev. Wheeler Parker Jr. gives a firsthand account of those terrible days.

(Chicago Park District)

Snow Much Fun at Polar Adventure Days on Jan. 21, Feb. 25

The afternoon slate of programming features dog-sledding demonstrations, puppet shows, raptor visits, bonfire storytelling, arts and crafts, and of course, hot cocoa.

Students at Chicago Public Schools walk along a hallway in this file photo. (WTTW News)

Applications Open for Illinois Tax Credit Scholarship

The Illinois Tax Credit Scholarship program offers tuition assistance for families who meet income thresholds. There are no merit components to eligibility.

(WTTW News)

58 Years After Martin Luther King Jr.’s Campaign to End Slums, a Look at Affordable Housing in Chicago

When Martin Luther King Jr. came to Chicago in 1965, his mission was to end the slum housing conditions that many Black residents were forced to live in. For 17 months, he fought with boycotts, rallies and marches — a campaign that ultimately contributed to the passage of the Fair Housing Act in 1968.

A file image of the Little Village neighborhood in Chicago. (WTTW News)

Welcome to Chicago: Exploring What It Means to Be a Sanctuary City

Chicago's history as a self-proclaimed sanctuary city dates back to 1985, when then Mayor Harold Washington issued an executive order prohibiting city employees from enforcing federal immigration laws.

Calvin Butler is president and CEO of Exelon. (WTTW News)

New Exelon CEO Calvin Butler Takes Charge at Energy Giant

Energy infrastructure is under constant threat — from extreme weather to security concerns. As the effects of climate change challenge the energy production sector, the utilities charged with producing that energy sustainably, equitably and affordably are at an inflection point.

The Chicago family band A Flor de Piel blends genres to modernize Mexican folk music. (WTTW News)

A Flor de Piel, a Local Family Band, Makes Mexican Folk Music Modern

The sounds of Mexican folk music cross borders, genres and generations. Oftentimes, music is passed through families who play traditional music in celebrations and at home.

(WTTW News)

Make a Resolution: Get Screened for Hypertension in 2023

According to the American Heart Association, about 55% of Black adults have high blood pressure. Black Americans also have disproportionately high rates of severe hypertension and tend to develop it earlier in life.

(WTTW News)

Chicago Model Building Company Has Spent 70 Years Making Ideas Reality

The business of Chicago-based Model Builders Inc. is in the details – precision-crafting models and prototypes of all kinds since 1950. As Model Builders Inc.’s Jeff Harris puts it: “you’re convincing the person that’s looking at it that it’s the real thing, shrunk.”

A mural created by Pablo Serrano at Nourishing Hope. (Credit: Vashon Jordan)

Artist Pablo Serrano, One of the City’s Most Prolific Muralists, On Making Chicago a Home for Art

“Art is responding to life,” Pablo Serrano said. “To the things that we're going through, and fundamental questions that go to — where have we been, where are we at, where are we going?”