Stories by Evan Garcia

COPA’s Interim Leader Looks Forward to Civilian Oversight Board

Andrea Kersten, interim chief of Chicago’s Civilian Office of Police Accountability appears on “Chicago Tonight” via Zoom, July 21, 2021. (WTTW News)

The Chicago City Council has approved a measure to create a board of civilians to oversee the Chicago Police Department, the police board and the Civilian Office of Police Accountability. Andrea Kersten, the interim chief administrator of COPA, shares her thoughts.

Digging into Chicago’s COVID-19 Vaccine Disparity

(WTTW News)

A recent South Side Weekly report used city data to show that Chicago’s vaccine disparity is widening between wealthier parts of the city, like the Loop, and areas on the South and West sides with a majority of Black and brown residents.

Riding High and Low: Exploring Chicago’s Vibrant Custom Bike Culture

Malcolm Langford, 14, rides a tall bike at a Logan Square Park meetup organized by the custom bike club Rat Patrol on June 11. (WTTW News)

Have you ever thrown out a broken bike or any of its spare parts? There’s a chance a local bike club scooped up that trash to make a work of art on wheels. We visit Logan Square to learn about the city’s bustling custom bike culture.

National Museum of Mexican Art Prepares to Reopen Its Doors

Mexican painter Carmen Chami's work is featured at the National Museum of Mexican Art (Courtesy NMMA)

When it reopens its doors July 1, the National Museum of Mexican Art will be kicking off operations with a major financial boost after it received an $8 million donation from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott.

Examining the E-Scooter Data of Chicago’s 2020 Program

While officials discuss a possible future permanent e-scooter program in Chicago, several members of City Council are raising safety concerns about the swift modes of transport. (WTTW News)

Last year’s electric scooter program, which ran from August to December, saw an increase in the number of available scooters but a decline in overall ridership, according to a Chicago Department of Transportation report.

Illinois State Climatologist: This Year’s Spring Driest Since 1934

What could drier-than-normal weather mean for your garden and the greater climate? A climate change specialist and floral expert weigh in.

Young Skateboarders Gain Their Footing Through New Chicago Program

The Chill Foundation’s skateboarding program kicked off in November 2020 in Chicago. (WTTW News)

Skateboarding has long been considered a sport, an art form and even a lifestyle by its devotees. In Chicago, a new program has helped young people break out of the pandemic blues by learning the basics of skateboarding while picking up valuable life lessons along the way.

‘Live at Mister Kelly’s’ Documentary Details Iconic Chicago Nightclub

Mister Kelly's, which operated from 1953 to 1975, is the subject of a new film unpacking its star-studded rosters and broader impact. (WTTW News)

The Chicago nightclub helped launch the early careers of music and comedy acts like Barbra Streisand and Richard Pryor, while achieving status from established jazz artists such as Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughn, who both recorded live albums at the Rush Street venue.

Higher Education Programs Tackle Latino Issues Domestic and Abroad Amid COVID-19

(WTTW News)

Within university programs dedicated to Latino studies, the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on Black and brown communities, as well as tensions surrounding police brutality, are emerging in classroom discussions and curriculum.

Ida B. Wells’ Pioneering Journalism Highlighted in New WTTW Film

An image taken from the WTTW documentary “Ida B. Wells: A Chicago Stories Special.” (Courtesy WTTW)

Journalist and activist Ida B. Wells took great risks to expose the horrors of racism and fight injustice through her investigative writings. Wells’ life and groundbreaking work are the subject of a new WTTW Chicago Stories documentary airing Friday.

WBEZ ‘Reset’ Host Sasha-Ann Simons on Covering Chicago

(WTTW News)

A new WBEZ series examines how Chicago’s institutions interact with its residents. Sasha-Ann Simons, the station’s new host of “Reset,” joins us.

Logan Square Farmers Market Gives Businesses a Boost Amid COVID-19

Pete Ternes, owner of the brewpub Bungalow by Middle Brow, takes a pizza out of the Logan Square restaurant’s oven on April 30, 2021. Bungalow by Middle Brow is one of several vendors participating in this year’s Logan Square Farmers Market. (WTTW News)

One of Chicago’s only weekly, nearly year-long farmers markets opened on Sunday, just in time to provide some extra help to the farmers, restaurateurs and other food producers selling their goods in the city’s Northwest Side neighborhood. We meet some of this year’s vendors.

Rep. Jesus ‘Chuy’ Garcia Looks Forward to Open and Inclusive Redistricting Process

(Meagan Davis / Wikimedia Commons)

With a Democratic governor and supermajorities in the state Senate and House, Democrats are in the driver’s seat to redraw the state’s political boundaries. Do Illinois Latinos now warrant more representation in Congress than they currently have?

Internet Cookies May Boost Online Experience But Raise Privacy Concerns

(Cytonn Photography / Unsplash)

As data breaches in recent years have exposed weaknesses in the storage and transfer of personal data, lawmakers in the United States and Europe have expressed concern over the tracking of users online. 

Duckworth Pushes $35B Investment in Water Infrastructure

U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth speaks with “Chicago Tonight” via Zoom on Thursday, April 29, 2021. (WTTW News)

President Joe Biden made sweeping proposals in his address to Congress on Wednesday. Among them, a pledge to tackle lead in drinking water. U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth has proposed $35 billion to update water infrastructure and improve drinking water quality across the country.

Chicago Designer Creates Clothing for Children with Sensory Disorders

Minor Details founder Dina Lewis shows off her “squeeze tee,” designed to fit comfortably on children with sensory processing disorder, in her design studio on April 15, 2021. (WTTW News)

Former real estate agent Dina Lewis moved from New York City to Chicago in 2018. Soon after, she decided to pursue a professional endeavor that was personal to her: designing clothing for kids with special sensory needs. We visited the design studio of Minor Details to learn more.

Chicago Music Venues Try to Stay Afloat Despite Bungled Federal Aid Rollout

The digital rollout of the Shuttered Venues Operators Grant program to assist venues with payroll, rent and other financial obligations is delayed nearly two weeks after its planned launch due to an onslaught of demand and applications. (WTTW News)

A recent bungled federal aid rollout worth 16 billion dollars for music venues and theaters across the country is adding more strain to a stressful situation.

Photos: Little Village Peace Walk Memorializes 13-Year-Old Adam Toledo

Little Village resident Andre Gordillo, right, raises his arms in protest during the Adam Toledo peace walk on April 18, 2021. “I think it’s important to show that I care about my community and that I want justice to be done for the wrongful murder of a 13-year-old,” Gordillo said. “This is a peaceful, youth-led march.” (Evan Garcia / WTTW News)

Several hundred people gathered Sunday evening in Little Village to mourn the death of Adam Toledo and participate in a peace walk through the neighborhood. The 13-year-old was fatally shot by a police officer on March 29.

Providers Combat Vaccine Hesitancy After Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Pause

(WTTW News)

Health officials recommended a pause on the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine this week after six people experienced rare but severe blood clots. We discuss the situation—and concerns about vaccine hesitancy—with Dr. Juanita Mora, an allergist and immunologist at the Chicago Allergy Center.

Photos: Thousands March to Protest Police Killing of 13-Year-Old Adam Toledo

Protester Natalia Sustaita holds a sign reading “He Had His Hands Up!” at a Logan Square protest April 16, 2021, over the fatal police shooting of 13-year-old Adam Toledo. “I feel it’s important to show solidarity with Adam Toledo because he was just a child,” Sustaita said. “And if the money and resources that are given to the Chicago Police Department would’ve been used to fund the community of Little Village, maybe the situation would’ve been different.” (Evan Garcia / WTTW News)

Thousands of protesters gathered in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood Friday evening to protest the police killing of 13-year-old Adam Toledo last month. Toledo was fatally shot by a police officer in the Little Village neighborhood, about 6 miles south of the protest.

Canceling Student Loan Debt an Undue Burden, Critics Say

As of April 2020, more than $1.7 trillion in student loan debt is owed by Americans, a figure that grows six times faster than the U.S. economy. (WTTW News)

Americans owe more than $1.7 trillion in student loan debt. Now, President Joe Biden is facing new calls to cancel $50,000 or more of loan debt per student. But critics say it would put an undue burden on Americans who never went to college.

Who Stormed the US Capitol? New Report Digs Into Demographics of Those Arrested

Pro-Trump supporters breach security gates at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. (WTTW News via CNN)

A new analysis from the University of Chicago looked at the demographics of the 377 individuals arrested for the Jan. 6 attack. The study’s author said he had expected to discover something about the economic conditions of the rioters but was surprised that the data told a very different story.

Bill Awaiting Pritzker’s Signature Declares Violence a Public Health Crisis

(WTTW News)

It’s been a violent start to 2021 in Chicago, which has recorded 131 homicides in the first three months of the year. Now, a measure sitting on Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s desk declares violence a public health crisis and takes aim at racial inequities in the state’s health care system.

Illinois’ Law Protecting Biometric Privacy Could Be Changed

Illinois’ law regulating the collection of biometrics – or physical measurements like fingerprints – is one of the strictest in the nation but could be amended through a current bill in the state Legislature. (WTTW News)

A New York Times tech columnist calls it the “best law you’ve never heard of.” She is speaking of Illinois’ biometrics privacy act, which essentially gives residents protections against companies that want to gather biometric info like face scans and fingerprints. But now, several bills in the Illinois General Assembly aim to strip away some of those protections.

Fishing with a Fire Extinguisher? We Check Out Powerlining in Chicago

Florin Deleanu powerline fishes at Montrose Harbor in Chicago on March 12, 2021. (WTTW News)

This time of year at Montrose Harbor, you’ll see people lining the lakefront with fire extinguishers — but they’re not putting out flames, they’re fishing. Powerlining is a unique fishing style with local roots.

Viral Tweet Stokes NCAA Tournament Gender Gap Accusations

University of Oregon player Sedona Prince is shining light on the inequalities between weight-room facilities for the men’s teams competing in Indianapolis and the women’s teams competing in San Antonio. (WTTW News via @sedonaprince_)

College basketball’s most important competition is in full swing. But a tweet by University of Oregon player Sedona Prince is shining light on the inequalities between weight-room facilities for the men’s and women’s teams. Deadspin senior writer and editor Julie DiCaro offers her perspective.