Stories by Erica Gunderson

Black Voices: The Debut Episode

Chicago Public Schools students talk about their first week of virtual classes. We explore the history of police in schools, and the local connections of the NFL’s first Black team president.

Black Voices: First Week in 2020 School Year Tests CPS

How did the first week of virtual school go at Chicago Public Schools? We speak with a panel of CPS students about their experiences.

Black Voices: Northwestern, Booth Alum Named NFL Team President

From the football field to the front office: We speak with Jason Wright, the NFL’s first Black team president.

Latino Voices: The Debut Episode

A new school year begins. Is CPS making the grade? Presidential candidates vie for Latino votes. A photography exhibit in the Loop is closing soon — we visit “Temporal: Puerto Rican Resistance.” Watch the full show.

Latino Voices: Is CPS Making the Grade With Remote Learning?

(WTTW News)

After a long holiday weekend, Chicago Public Schools students logged in Tuesday for their first week of remote learning to open the 2020 school year amid the pandemic. The pluses and minuses of week one.

Latino Voices: Perspectives on the 2020 Election

A record 32 million Latinos will be eligible to vote in 2020, making Latinos the largest ethnic or racial group this election. Have the candidates done all they can to garner support from Latino voters? 

Amplifying ‘Voices’: New Weekend Shows Debut on WTTW

(WTTW News)

This weekend, we’re premiering two new shows focused on amplifying the voices of Chicago’s Black and Latino communities. We talk with the hosts of our new shows “Black Voices” and “Latino Voices.”

‘Black Women’s Equal Pay Day’ Spotlights Persistent Wage Gap

(WTTW News)

According to census data, women in the workplace, especially Black women, make far less than white men on average. Cherita Ellens, president and CEO of Women Employed, talks about how to close the pay gap.

Ask Geoffrey: Chicago’s Coach Houses

Geoffrey Baer shares the history of Chicago’s original tiny houses – coach houses – in this installment of Ask Geoffrey. 

State Rep. Calls for Pause on Teaching History in Illinois Schools

(WTTW News)

Is it time to abolish, or radically alter the way history is taught in Illinois schools? A debate over how the subject is taught.

Large Nonprofits Struggle to Provide Services While Locked Out of Pandemic Aid

(Courtesy of the YMCA)

Their size and reach allow them to get assistance quickly and efficiently to people in need, but nonprofits with more than 500 employees cannot apply for forgivable loans under the CARES Act.

Free Craft Project by Local Artist Lets Kids Build Their Own Blocks

(Courtesy of Matt Bergstrom)

Chicago artist Matt Bergstrom wants kids across the city to get to know the homes that make up their neighborhood blocks by building them with their own hands, one free printable model at a time. 

Red Onions Linked to Multistate Salmonella Outbreak

(stux / Pixabay)

Nearly 400 people in 34 states, including 10 in Illinois, have become ill with a strain of the bacterial disease linked to red onions from a major California producer, according to a food safety alert from the CDC.

5 Things to Know About Chicago’s Quarantine Order

(veerasantinithi / Pixabay)

Ready to hit the open road? You might want to rethink those travel plans. Even a simple day trip to Wisconsin could cost you two weeks at home — or a possible fine.

Ask Geoffrey: What’s the Chicago Parental School?

Geoffrey Baer on the reform school that was once WTTW’s neighbor.

Where Next, Columbus? Fate of Temporarily Removed Statues in Question

An empty pedestal in Grant Park where a statue of Christopher Columbus stood recently. (WTTW News)

Mayor Lori Lightfoot ordered the temporary removal of two Christopher Columbus statues in Chicago last week following protests that turned violent. Now, activists are hoping to make their removal permanent — but the debate isn’t over.

Eerily Quiet, Wrigleyville Still Offers Cubs Fans ‘Something to Cheer For’

Game day in Wrigleyville on Sunday, July 26, 2020. (Erica Gunderson / WTTW News)

In any other year, a parking spot near Wrigley Field on a game day would be a mirage or a miracle. But on the third day of the 2020 baseball season, parking spots were easy to find, and the cheek-to-jowl lines were nonexistent.

Need a Quick Fix for Your Bike? Six Corners is the Spot

A Dero Fixit bike repair station near Milwaukee and Kilpatrick avenues in Portage Park. (Erica Gunderson / WTTW News)

For cyclists, there’s never a good time for a slipped chain or flat tire, but there might be a good neighborhood for running into those hiccups: Portage Park. Here’s why.

Ask Geoffrey: Revisiting Chicago’s Drive-ins

Geoffrey Baer serves up some fast food history with a side of super signs in this week's Ask Geoffrey.

Black Restaurant Week: A Look at What’s on the Menu

(WTTW News)

Friday marks the start of Black Restaurant Week, a nationwide showcase of Black-owned restaurants now in its fifth year. Here’s a look at what to expect.

‘Party is Over’ for Downtown Landlords as Leasing Dips, Vacancies Rise

(WTTW News)

The gleaming skyline that makes Chicago an architectural wonder is primarily made up of office towers. But those glassy marvels have been largely empty since March. A look at the prospects for downtown commercial real estate.

Protesters Gather Near Mayor’s Home Following Clash With Police in Grant Park

Protesters and police gather in the Logan Square neighborhood on Saturday, July 18, 2020. (@soit_goes / Twitter)

Hundreds of protesters gathered near Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s Logan Square home late Saturday, continuing calls to defund the police, end police presence in Chicago Public Schools and implement remote learning in the fall amid the pandemic.

For 105 Days, Kenwood Couple Made Their Front Porch a Stage

Married musicians and educators Yakini Ajanaku and Jean-Paul Coffy kicked off the daily concert series in March as a way to help their block stay connected through the long days of quarantine due to COVID-19. 

Ask Geoffrey: Chicago’s Vanishing Water Tanks

(WTTW News)

They’re rare now, but rooftop water tanks once stood sentinel atop every large building in the city, keeping them safe from threat of fire.

Lessons of Deadly 1995 Heat Wave Echo in 2020 Chicago

Mayor Richard M. Daley shares his skepticism about heat-related deaths in the summer of 1995. (WTTW News)

A look back at Chicago’s deadly heat wave — and how it compares to the coronavirus pandemic — with Eric Klinenberg, author of the 2002 book, “Heat Wave: A Social Autopsy of Disaster in Chicago.”