Stories by Marissa Nelson

‘Black Voices’ Community Conversation: Chauvin Trial Verdict

A screenshot from the “Black Voices” community conversation on Monday, April 26, 2021. (WTTW News)

Brandis Friedman and a panel of guests discuss the Derek Chauvin verdict, including what it means for racial justice and policing in Chicago and the U.S. Watch it now.

US Poverty Rates Reach Pandemic High in March

(Photo by Aaron Doucett on Unsplash)

The U.S. poverty rate last month reached its highest point during the pandemic at 11.7%, according to researchers at the University of Chicago and the University of Notre Dame. We discuss the issue as part of WTTW’s Firsthand initiative exploring poverty.

Community Organizations Want to Help Greater Englewood Get Vaccinated

Part of our ‘Chicago Tonight’ In Your Neighborhood series

The Greater Englewood Area, made up of Englewood and West Englewood, has faced historic disinvestment. Now it’s lagging behind in the percentage of residents who are vaccinated against COVID-19. These community organizations are helping to inform residents about the vaccine and make appointments more accessible.

Community Organizations Call for Investment in Little Village

A memorial of candles and flowers for 13-year-old Adam Toledo sits near the alley where he was killed March 29 by a Chicago police officer. (WTTW News)

Protesters took to the streets this weekend — both in Little Village and other parts of the city — after the Civilian Office of Police Accountability released videos of the fatal police shooting of 13-year-old Adam Toledo. We speak with neighborhood organizations working to help residents.

Little Village Community Responds to ‘Excruciating’ Police Shooting Video

A flyer with the name and face of Adam Toledo, the 13-year-old boy who was fatally shot by a Chicago police officer on March 29, is shown on a lamppost in the Little Village neighborhood, where he lived and died. (WTTW News)

Feelings about Adam Toledo’s killing are particularly raw in Little Village, where Toledo’s family lives. We spent the day talking with residents and local leaders about their community, and the fatal shooting of the 13-year-old who called it home.

Chicago’s Mental Health Care Plan Invests in Services, Not Yet Reopening Clinics

(WTTW News)

In 2012, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration closed half of the city’s clinics. Mayor Lori Lightfoot campaigned on reopening the centers but has focused her tenure so far on investing in organizations that provide mental health services.

Illinois Universities Plan for Return to Campus in the Fall

Students on the campus of Northwestern University. (WTTW News)

As students wrap up their spring semesters, colleges and universities have started announcing plans for the fall. We discuss the outlook for three area universities.

Little Village Community Leaders Say They Want More Than a Foot Pursuit Policy

A vigil for Adam Toledo, the 13-year-old boy fatally shot by police on March 29, takes place in Little Village on Monday, April 5. (WTTW News)

The Little Village Community Council wants to meet with Mayor Lori Lightfoot about policing policy changes. They also want to meet with the police department about the shooting of 13-year-old Adam Toledo.

Documenting a Neighborhood Story, ‘Somos Pilsen’ Mural Features 46 Residents

Artist Mateo Zapata talks about the mural “Somos Pilsen.” (WTTW News)

Public art has become synonymous with Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood. A new mural on 18th Street is using the medium to preserve the community’s history, and to memorialize dozens of its residents. 

Equity, Privacy Concerns Among Considerations for Vaccine Passports

(WTTW News)

As COVID-19 vaccine eligibility expands, a growing number of companies say they will require proof of vaccination before opening their doors. We weigh the legal and ethical concerns surrounding vaccine passports as the country looks to reopen. 

The Week in Review: Chicago Police Shoot and Kill 13-Year-Old Boy

(WTTW News)

Another attack at the U.S. Capitol. Questions surround the police shooting of a 13-year-old boy. Mixed signals on Chicago police reform. And the mayor warns of a COVID-19 “quantum leap” in the last week.

How Changing the Filibuster Could Impact Bipartisanship

Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell has said ending the filibuster would bring a “nuclear winter” on the Senate floor. (WTTW News)

A growing number of Democrats see the filibuster, an action designed to delay or prevent a vote on a measure, as a barrier to accomplishing their legislative goals. Is it time to abolish the filibuster?

‘Latino Voices’ Community Conversation: Latinas

A screenshot from the “Latino Voices” community conversation on Monday, March 29, 2021. (WTTW News)

For Women’s History Month, WTTW News shined a light on Latinas, exploring their history in Chicago and the U.S., the adversity they face and the role they play in their communities. Watch the full discussion.

Proposals Could Expand Eligibility for Earned Income Tax Credit

(WTTW News via CNN)

Two bills in the Illinois General Assembly would expand eligibility for the earned income tax credit. As part of our Firsthand initiative exploring poverty in Chicago, we take a look at the credit, and what it could mean for low-income households.

Affordable Housing Development in Albany Park Heads to City Council

The site of a 50-unit affordable housing development in Albany Park. (WTTW News)

Plans for a 50-unit affordable housing development are underway in Albany Park, a diverse community on Chicago’s Northwest Side that is not alone in facing gentrification. We discuss housing with Diane Limas of Communities United and Ald. Rossana Rodriguez Sanchez as part of our community reporting series.

Greektown Outdoor Exhibit Provides Coronavirus-Safe Art Experience

A scene from the “Fanciful Fish” outdoor exhibit along Halsted Street in Greektown. (WTTW News)

A Chicago neighborhood is preparing to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Greek independence. And while traditional festivities have been canceled for the second year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Greektown community has still found a way to brighten area streets.

Chicago’s Black and Latino Communities Bearing the Brunt of Pandemic’s Health, Economic Impact

Erica Lopez speaks with “Chicago Tonight” about the death of her mother and father, who both contracted COVID-19. (WTTW News)

From rates of infection to unemployment following the economic shutdown, some residents of Chicago have been cut deeper by the pandemic. We talk about the specific challenges facing hard-hit communities, and some of the support systems in place.

Southern US Border Sees Surge in Migrant Children Crossing

More unaccompanied migrant children are crossing the southern U.S. border. (WTTW News via CNN)

Southwest border crossings are on track to reach the highest level in the last 20 years, according to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. We discuss what’s happening at the border and how the Biden administration is addressing it.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker Reflects on COVID-19 Pandemic, One Year In

Gov. J.B. Pritzker appears on “Chicago Tonight” via Zoom on Monday, March 15, 2021. (WTTW News)

It’s been a full year since Gov. J.B. Pritzker took the extraordinary step of issuing an executive order to halt dine-in service at bars and restaurants across the state. Five days later, the stay-at-home order was announced. The governor joins us to reflect on the past year and discuss what’s ahead.

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Beverly

Tim McSweeney, co-chair of the South Side Irish Parade committee. (WTTW News)

As part of our community reporting series, we visit the home of the South Side Irish Parade — one of several canceled for the second year in a row — to see how neighbors are celebrating St. Patrick’s Day and dealing with the economic devastation caused by the pandemic.

Women of Color Hit Especially Hard by Pandemic, Unemployment

(WTTW News)

Women have lost more than five million jobs since February 2020, according to the National Women’s Law Center. Over the past year, women have borne the brunt of the employment fallout — and that effect has been even more acute among women of color.

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Greektown

(WTTW News)

As restaurants in Greektown work to recover from the coronavirus pandemic and its restrictions, the neighborhood is hosting its inaugural Greektown Restaurant Week. 

Average US Life Expectancy Drops One Year, New Report Shows

Highest decrease among Black, Latino individuals

(WTTW News)

U.S. residents can expect to live one year less, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that uses data from the first half of 2020. That decrease in average life expectancy is even steeper in Black and Latino communities. 

‘Black Voices’ Community Conversation: Black Women

A screenshot from the “Black Voices” community conversation on Monday, Feb. 22, 2021. (WTTW News)

From Harriet Tubman and Rosa Parks to Marsha P. Johnson and Stacey Abrams, Black women continue to be key leaders in our communities. This Black History Month, WTTW News shined a light on Black women during our February community conversation. Watch it now.

How Therapists are Helping Clients While Managing Their Own Mental Health

(WTTW News)

Over the past year, therapists have helped their clients through a myriad of challenges: a global health and economic crisis, a reckoning with racial injustice, a tense political climate and a deadly mob at the nation’s Capitol. And they’ve done so while also managing their own mental health.

Fight Over Metal-Scrapping Plant Shines Light on Community’s History With Industry

South Deering (WTTW News)

Protesters are urging the city to stop a metal-scrapping company from opening on the Southeast Side. What both sides have to say.