Stories by acacia hernandez

(WTTW News)

‘Latino Voices’ Community Conversation: Viewing Chicago as a Sanctuary City Amid Ongoing Border Crisis

On Monday, WTTW News reporter Joanna Hernandez moderated the latest edition of our “Latino Voices” community conversations and discussed with community leaders what being a sanctuary city to immigrants really means.

(WTTW News)

What the Fight for Water Equity Looks Like for Black Residents, Seen Through the Lens of ‘Wishing Well’ Exhibit

A 2022 Guardian analysis found that majority Black and Latino neighborhoods had the highest concentration of lead in their tap water. As of a few months ago, the city of Chicago had replaced fewer than 300 lead service lines out of about 390,000.

(WTTW News)

Teachers, Parents Plead for Hope Learning Academy to Keep Its Doors Open Following Sudden Closure Announcement

Hope Learning Academy in March abruptly announced it was closing its doors at the end of this school year — a surprise to parents and teachers alike because the school had just inked a four-year contract with CPS weeks prior.

Fred Waller is introduced as Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson’s choice for interim superintendent of the Chicago Police Department on May 3, 2023. (Heather Cherone / WTTW News)

As Johnson Picks Interim Top Cop, Search for Permanent Superintendent Continues Ahead of Sunday Deadline

The search is underway for Chicago’s next police superintendent. The city’s Community Commission for Public Safety and Accountability is in charge of recommending three candidates to Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson by July 14.

(WTTW News)

Chicago’s Mexico Week Kicks Off Ahead of Cinco de Mayo

The Mexican Consulate in Chicago is partnering with the government of Jalisco to offer Mexican and Jalisco-inspired dishes, traditional dances and music, children’s workshops and much more.

(WTTW News)

Community Leaders Call for Answers on Plans to Turn Old South Shore High School Into Shelter for Migrants

City officials are calling this a humanitarian crisis, with stretched resources and few housing options, now that more than 8,000 migrants have arrived.

(WTTW News)

‘Home Away From Home’: Woodlawn Community Steps in to Help Migrants Bused From Texas Following Some Tension

It's been three months since a group of migrants was moved into the shuttered Wadsworth Elementary School in the Woodlawn community following objections from some nearby residents. Now, some locals have joined forces to help integrate their new neighbors into the community.

‘Voices’ Community Conversation: Discussing Expectations for Chicago Mayor-Elect Brandon Johnson When it Comes to Crime, Education, Environmental Justice

On Monday, community leaders weighed in on expectations they have of Johnson’s administration regarding crucial issues that impact Chicago’s Black and Latino communities, and the city as a whole, as part of the latest edition of our WTTW News “Voices” community conversation series.

Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson takes “Chicago Tonight” on a tour of the Austin neighborhood on April 13, 2023. (Michael Izquierdo / WTTW News)

Brandon Johnson on Raising a Family in Austin, Choosing the Next Top Cop

“Chicago Tonight” co-anchor Brandis Friedman sat down with Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson for a wide-ranging interview. When he takes office on May 15, Johnson will be the first mayor in nearly a century to call the West Side home.

Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson takes “Chicago Tonight” on a tour of the Austin neighborhood on April 13, 2023. (Michael Izquierdo / WTTW News)

Touring Chicago’s Austin Community With Mayor-Elect Brandon Johnson

When he takes office on May 15, Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson will be the first mayor in nearly a century to call the West Side home.

Robert “Wes” Wheeler Jr., Chicago’s Special Agent in Charge, appears on "Chicago Tonight" on April 10, 2023. (WTTW News)

Chicago FBI Chief on Violent Crime, Counterterrorism Following First 100 Days In Office

Today marks 100 days on the job for Robert “Wes” Wheeler Jr,, Chicago’s new FBI chief. It's already been an eventful few months involving bribery, kidnapping and carjacking cases, and of course, there are ongoing corruption cases that the FBI’s had a hand in pursuing. 

Workers rally at the Addison Portillo’s production facility. (Shelly Ruzick / Arise Chicago)

Addison Portillo’s Production Workers Are Calling for a Seat at the Bargaining Table

Portillo’s is celebrating 60 years of Chicago-style hot dogs and its famous Italian beef sandwiches. Meanwhile, workers at the company’s production facility in Addison are leading efforts to form a union with Iron Workers.

Ruth Cruz, who has declared victory in Chicago’s 30th Ward, and Ald. Gilbert Villegas (36th Ward) appear on “Latino Voices” on April 8, 2023. (WTTW News)

Discussing A New City Council Era With Latino Winners in Chicago’s Runoff Election

Chicago City Council will look a lot different this year following Tuesday’s runoff election — made up of many younger, more progressive alderpeople who will be working with Chicago’s Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson.

A $58 million mixed-use development, known as United Yards, will include retail, a health clinic, brew pub and affordable housing. (WTTW News)

$58M Development to Bring Retail, Affordable Housing to Back of the Yards

Chicago’s Invest South/West project is underway in the Back of the Yards. A $58 million mixed-use development, known as United Yards, will include retail, a health clinic, brew pub and affordable housing.

(Courtesy Archer Aviation)

Taking a Flight to Your Flight? New Air Taxi Service to O’Hare Coming in 2025

United Airlines is partnering with Archer Aviation to offer flyers an air taxi service from Vertiport Chicago on the Near West Side to Chicago O’Hare International Airport.

Former U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel appears on "Chicago Tonight" on March 23, 2023. (WTTW News)

Former US Defense Secretary Hagel on Future of Liberal Democracy Amid Ongoing Russia-Ukraine War

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is now more than a year old with little sign of any resolution in the near future. Meanwhile, the U.S. has supplied billions of dollars’ worth of military aid and supplies to help push the invading Russians back. Many wonder how much more might it take.

(WTTW News)

Cook County, Bad Neighbor: Addressing Smog Pollution in Latino Communities

Cook County is the worst neighbor in the country when it comes to smog, according to new data from the EPA. Health-damaging smog can travel hundreds of miles to neighboring counties and states.

(WTTW News)

How Illinois State Police Are Addressing Gun Violence on Expressways Amid Recent Deaths

Despite a recent shooting on I-57 that killed two teenagers and an infant, Illinois State Police say tactics to reduce gun violence on expressways are working.

A tornado is captured in Champaign, Illinois, on Feb. 27, 2023. (Courtesy of Andrew Pritchard)

At Least 2 Tornadoes Briefly Touch Down in Chicago Suburbs

At least two brief tornadoes touched down in the Chicago suburbs Monday — one in Joliet and another on the far north side of Naperville. 

The “Mom, I Don’t Want War” exhibit is part of a joint Polish-Ukrainian project, featuring children’s art made in Poland during World War II and the German occupation from 1939 – 1944, compared to children’s art from Ukraine created during its current war with Russia. (WTTW News)

Local Museum Portrays Russia-Ukraine War Through the Eyes of Children

The “Mom, I Don’t Want War” exhibit compares children’s drawings during the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict to Polish children’s art made during World War II and the German occupation.

(WTTW News)

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Refugees Find Safety in Ukrainian Village One Year Into War

Friday marks one year since Russia invaded Ukraine. Millions of people have since fled the war-torn country, some seeking refuge in Chicago.

Pilsen homes. (WTTW News)

County Officials to Host Workshops As Longtime Pilsen Homeowners Demand Property Tax Relief

Teresa Fraga of the Pilsen Neighbors Community Council has been a homeowner in Pilsen for the last 43 years. She said she was expecting a $2,500 bill in December but instead received one for $14,279.

Logan Square residents watch the WTTW News mayoral forum live from Palenque LSNA. (Acacia Hernandez)

Mayoral Forum Reaction: Some Logan Square Residents Feel A Disconnect with Candidates

Logan Square residents watched the WTTW News mayoral forum live Tuesday. Some in the audience said they felt a disconnect from candidates, while others said candidates were giving talking points — not real answers.

(WTTW News)

What’s the Human Role in ShotSpotter Gunfire Detection System? CEO Explains

ShotSpotter alerts law enforcement to potential gunfire with the goal of reducing gun violence in Chicago. Critics say it's ineffective and contributes to overpolicing in Black and Latino communities.

(WTTW News)

ChatGPT: What to Know About the New AI Technology

Some school districts have banned the chatbot, which can answer questions, generate essays and even write scientific papers from a short prompt.

(WTTW News)

Warmth Can't Last Forever: Frigid Temps to Hit Chicago Next Week

With temperatures averaging in the mid to high 30s, Chicago is seeing its fourth warmest January on record. Climatologist Trent Ford said the only years that were warmer were 1880, 1939 and 2006.