Stories by Erica Gunderson

In the Wake of Roe Overturning, a Look to the Future of LGBTQ Rights

(WTTW News)

The Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade raises the question of whether the constitutionality of gay marriage could soon be on the table. Also, activists are mobilizing as about 12 states are proposing legislation affecting LGBTQ Americans. So, what’s next for LGBTQ rights? 

Hermosa’s Lopez Brothers Bring Mexican Flavors to Craft Beer

(WTTW News)

For lovers of a craft brew, Chicago’s beer steins overflow with options, you can belly up to more than 160 craft breweries in the city. But even here, it’s rare to find a microbrew crafted by Latinos. Lucky for Chicagoans, there’s a spot that offers brews with all the flavors of Mexico, created by a pair of hermanos from Hermosa.

Big Mural With a Big Message: Artist Asend on ‘Love Always Wins’

(WTTW News)

Not many muralists can say their work is seen by hundreds of thousands of people every day, but Chicago artist Asend can make that claim. His towering work on the side of Carnivale Restaurant in the West Loop is hard to miss at its site overlooking the Kennedy Expressway.

Community Reacts to New Police Foot Pursuit Policy

Chicago Police Supt. David Brown speaks about the department’s new foot pursuit policy that was unveiled Tuesday, June 21 2022. (WTTW News)

The policy prohibits officers from pursuing people for only running from police nor can they pursue people for parking and ordinance violations and certain traffic offenses. The finalized version comes a year after officers shot and killed 22-year-old Anthony Alvarez and 13-year-old Adam Toledo in separate shootings that followed foot pursuits.

CPS Class of 2022 Grads Look Back on Learning in a Pandemic, Forward to What Comes Next

(Courtesy Hope Chicago)

Like all of the nation’s high school graduates, the Chicago Public Schools class of 2022 has spent more than half of their high school experience navigating the pandemic. But CPS students also had to contend with contention between the Chicago Teachers Union and CPS administration, including two strikes.

Chicago Tonight: Latino Voices, June 18, 2022 - Full Show

Univisión’s Alex Hernández guest hosts the June 18 episode of “Latino Voices.” (WTTW News)

Preventing health issues in Latino men. A look at upcoming changes for the city's workforce. A taste of Chilean music. And Class of 2022 high school graduates reflect and look ahead.

Get Dad to the Doc: Improving the Health of Latino Men

(Nathan Dumlao / Unsplash)

This weekend, many Latinos will come together to celebrate the men who hold a cherished place in their families. It may be a good opportunity to give them a nudge to see their doctor. 

Chilean Musicians Pascuala Ilabaca y Fauna Come to Chicago

(Courtesy Pascuala Ilabaca)

Composer, singer, accordionist and pianist Pascuala Ilabaca and her band Fauna are playing in Chicago for the first time next week. The band’s music blends traditional instruments and rhythms with lyrics reflecting a feminist perspective.

Minimum Wage Boost, Fair Workweek Enhancements Take Effect July 1

On July 1st, a scheduled increase to Chicago’s minimum wage and enhancements to the fair workweek ordinance take effect. (WTTW News)

Some changes are coming soon for Chicago’s workers. July 1, a scheduled increase to the minimum wage takes effect, as well as enhancements to the Fair Workweek Ordinance.

Luis Gutierrez, Sen. Dick Durbin Form Organization to Modernize Immigration

Former U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez speaks about the launch of Our Nation’s Future at the Union League Club of Chicago, Friday June 17, 2022. (WTTW News)

Former U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez and Senator Dick Durbin announced the formation of a new immigration reform organization called “Our Nation’s Future.” 

New Law Requires Lifesaving Equipment Along Illinois’ Lake Michigan Shores

(WTTW News)

The Lake Michigan Rescue Equipment Act, signed into law by Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Thursday, means lifesaving equipment like life rings are mandated at all access points to the lake, as well as warning signs in more dangerous areas. 

Efforts to Create Affordable Housing Gaining Ground in Logan Square, Pilsen

The Lucy Gonzalez Parsons apartments opened in May 2022 near the Logan Square Blue Line station. (WTTW News)

The Lucy Gonzalez Parsons apartments opened in May near the Logan Square Blue Line station. The seven-story complex, which features retail space and 100 affordable units. In Pilsen, the Pilsen Housing Cooperative offers a blueprint for community-led affordable housing. 

Grant Offers Free Tree Planting to Chicago, South Suburban Groups

A group from Thomas Kelly High School in Chicago help plant trees. (Credit: Openlands)

The nature conservation group Openlands and search engine Ecosia are hoping to boost the number of trees in underserved areas through their TreePlanters Grant Program. 

How Improved Bike Infrastructure Can Save Lives

(WTTW News)

Despite the city’s stated plans to do more to protect cyclists, transit advocates say there is a long way to go to make the streets welcoming for bikes.

Big Dreams Come to Life in ‘Alebrijes: Creatures of a Dream World’ at Cantigny Park

Eighteen monumental versions of the folk art known as alebrijes are in the park as a part of the exhibit “Alebrijes: Creatures of a Dream World” brought to Cantigny Park by the Mexican Cultural Center Du Page in collaboration with Meztli Artist Collective in Mexico City. (WTTW News)

The art of alebrijes started with a dream. In 1936, a feverishly ill Mexico City paper artist, or cartonero, named Pedro Linares said he dreamt of magically mishmashed creatures exclaiming “alebrije!” When he recovered, he began making and selling colorful papier mache versions of the beasts.

A New Plan for Lake Calumet Places Recreation and Industry Side-by-Side

The 442-acre Lake Calumet is perhaps the most visible remnant of the rise and fall of industry on Chicago’s Southeast Side over its years as part of the Port of Chicago.  (WTTW News)

The 442-acre Lake Calumet is perhaps the most visible remnant of the rise and fall of industry on Chicago’s Southeast Side. Earlier this year, the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning issued its master plan for Lake Calumet, which it says creates a place where industry, nature, and recreation can coexist.

¡Viva La Fiesta! Latino Festivals Return to Back of the Yards and Humboldt Park

(Courtesy Fiestas Patronales Puertorriqueñas)

Festival season is in full swing, and two upcoming fiestas are back in full force next weekend.

Helping Kids Cope With Violent Events

(WTTW News)

As details emerge about the shooting deaths of 19 children and two teachers in Uvalde, Texas, America’s parents find themselves in a sadly familiar position — having to explain the events to their own children and helping them confront fears about violence.

Little Village Mural Welcomes Library Patrons ‘Home’

(WTTW News)

Muralist Joseph Perez and a group of young artists created a cheerful welcome for patrons of the Little Village branch of the Chicago Public Library. The mural was completed through Yollocalli Arts Reach, the youth initiative of the National Museum of Mexican Art. 

Community Organizations Question Utility of Expanded Curfew Rule in Curbing Violence

People walk through Millennium Park on May 20, 2022. (WTTW News)

In addition to a new rule requiring minors visiting Millennium Park to be accompanied by a “responsible adult” after 6 p.m. Thursday through Sunday, Mayor Lori Lightfoot is asking for an expanded curfew to begin at 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday nights. 

One Day Gamer’s Universe Convention Offers Free Gaming Fun for Chicago Teens

(Credit: Chicago Public Library)

Gamer’s Universe will be held Saturday, May 28, at the Harold Washington Library. The free-of-charge gaming convention offers options for players of all levels. 

Cook County Public Defenders Take on Immigration Cases

(WTTW News)

The Defenders for All Act took effect at the beginning of this year. Since then, the Cook County Public Defenders’ immigration unit says it’s taken on over a dozen cases free of charge — the largest county in the nation to do so.

Suburban Teens Make a Match with Rugby

(WTTW News)

At the west suburban Morton high schools, a full-contact team sport born in England has become an unlikely favorite among their largely Latino student body.

Black Voices Crossover Conversation: Ward Remap Process Leaves Residents Feeling Left Out

(WTTW News)

The new Chicago ward map garnered enough City Council votes to dodge a referendum, but some community organizations say it reflects the same old problems.

Latino Voices Crossover Conversation: New Ward Map Leaves Communities ‘Disappointed’

(WTTW News)

Chicago City Council members voted 43 to 7 to approve a new ward map this week. The approval came after a monthslong tug-of-war between the council’s Latino and Black Caucuses over the balance of wards. The approved map has 14 wards with a majority of Latino voters — one short of the 15 wards the Latino Caucus had demanded.

La Ultima Palabra on College Faculty Diversity

(WTTW News)

Dr. Alejandro Lugo has taught anthropology and Latinx studies at several colleges, including the University of Illinois. As part of our Last Word series, he gives La Ultima Palabra on the change he says needs to happen to better serve all students.