Stories by Brandis Friedman

Chicago Teachers Union Members Vote to Authorize Strike

File photos of Chicago Public Schools CEO Janice Jackson, left, and Chicago Teachers Union President Jesse Sharkey. (WTTW News)

Ninety-four percent of Chicago Teachers Union members voted to authorize a walkout, according to preliminary results announced Thursday night at the CTU headquarters.

Local Rehab Hospital Turns Gun Violence Victims into Able Survivors

Jonathan Annicks works with staff at Schwab Rehabilitation Hospital. (WTTW News)

Chicago police say shootings and homicides last month were at their lowest point since 2011. But for many survivors of gun violence, physical injuries and trauma can last a lifetime. We visit a local hospital treating many of those victims.

Early Learning Providers Concerned About New City Funding Contract

(Skitterphoto / Pixabay)

The city is making changes to the way neighborhood early learning centers receive funding, and some providers say the changes are destabilizing to families and communities.

Mars Wrigley Internship a Sweet Gig, but Not All Goodies and Gumdrops

Cindy Mancilla spent her summer working at the headquarters of candy magnate Mars Wrigley. And though the company hires hundreds of interns across its various departments, this internship takes the cake – and gives back.

Sister Jean, America’s Favorite Basketball Nun, Turns 100

Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt, better known as Sister Jean, celebrates her birthday with fans and special guests at Loyola University on Aug. 21, 2019. (WTTW News)

Loyola University is celebrating the centennial of Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt, better known as Sister Jean, all week. Gov. J.B. Pritzker helped kick off celebrations Wednesday.

Amid Contract Negotiations, CPS Teachers Gear Up for New School Year

Chicago Teachers Union President Jesse Sharkey speaks about contract negotiations Tuesday, Aug. 20. (WTTW News)

Teachers at Chicago Public Schools still have no contract deal with the Board of Education, and have repeatedly threatened to walk off the job. And another controversy is brewing within their ranks.

‘Hamilton’ Exhibition Brings 18th Century Life into 2019 Reality

“Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, left, and exhibition designer David Korins speak with WTTW News at “Hamilton: The Exhibition.”

Peek inside the soon-to-close, 25,000-square-foot “Hamilton” exhibition on Northerly Island and hear from the man who brought Alexander Hamilton back to life: Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Lightfoot’s CPS Budget Proposes Millions for Upgrades, Improvements

Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks to reporters at a press conference to release the district’s budget proposal on Aug. 8, 2019. (WTTW News)

Mayor Lori Lightfoot unveils her first budget proposal for Chicago Public Schools – and it comes as she negotiates a new contract with the Chicago Teachers Union.

CTU Prepares for Contract Fight with New Mayor

Chicago Teachers Union members hold a rally in the Loop on Wednesday, May 22, 2019. (WTTW News)

Chicago Teachers Union members call on Mayor Lori Lightfoot to make good on promises for educational equity. Meanwhile, upheaval at a Chicago Public Schools board meeting.

Lightfoot Keeps Police and Schools Chiefs, Makes Additional Appointments

Janice Jackson, left, appears on “Chicago Tonight” on April 19, 2018. Eddie Johnson, right, speaks during a news conference Tuesday, March 26, 2019. (AP Photo / Teresa Crawford)

On her first full day in office, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced a number of leaders who will serve in her administration, as well as several senior staff members.

Like a Boss: Hair Care Entrepreneur Shares Experience as a Black Businesswoman

Five years after launching her organic hair-care company with a single product, Monique Rodriguez’s Mielle Organics now has 46 products in more than 100,000 retail stores. 

The Report From Court? Too Few Court Reporters

They play a key role in court proceedings, but industry experts say there aren’t enough of them. What it takes to become a court reporter – and why some say it’s a good alternative to a four-year degree.

Voter Turnout for Historic Runoff on Pace With February Election

As of Tuesday afternoon, more than 370,000 Chicago residents had cast their ballots for the city’s next mayor, treasurer and, in some wards, alderman. 

Illinois Senate Approves Bill to Raise Smoking Age to 21

(Kruscha / Pixabay)

A year after lawmakers approved an identical bill that was vetoed by then-Gov. Bruce Rauner, senators vote 39 to 16 to raise the age from 18 to 21 for the legal purchase and use of tobacco products and e-cigarettes.

Don’t Want Kids? New Chicago Startup Helps Provide Free Birth Control

A Mirena intrauterine device (Sarahmirk / Wikimedia Commons)

A new Chicago startup called Juno4Me connects women with free birth control from reputable health care providers. 

1898 Silent Film Represents Earliest Depiction of On-Screen Black Love

A still image from the 1898 silent film “Something Good-Negro Kiss.”

How a recently discovered film shot in Chicago more than 120 years ago still makes a powerful statement – without saying a word.

Behind the Curtain of the Joffrey’s Newest Production, ‘Anna Karenina’

For the first time in its history, the Joffrey Ballet cues up an entirely new score for its daring new production. We get a peek at the company’s creative process – and personalities.

CPS Unveils Progress Reports to Advance ‘Learn. Plan. Succeed’ Program

While Chicago Public Schools students make plans for their futures, we speak with schools chief Janice Jackson about the present.

CPS: GPA Error Means Up to 800 Students Mistakenly Applied to Some High Schools

Chicago Public Schools is reopening its high school application process for about 800 eighth-grade students who were mistakenly allowed to apply for programs for which they were not eligible.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel Reflects on Lessons in Education

(Chicago Tonight file photo)

Although his tenure has been marked by several school controversies, Mayor Rahm Emanuel is touting his achievements at both Chicago Public Schools and the City Colleges of Chicago. 

1898 Silent Film Represents Earliest Depiction of On-Screen Black Love

A still image from the 1898 silent film “Something Good-Negro Kiss.”

How a recently discovered film shot in Chicago more than 120 years ago still makes a powerful statement – without saying a word.

CTA Bus Driver Steers Changes for LGBTQ Community

The CTA makes a policy change that allows its health insurance plan to cover the cost of gender-affirming surgery for one of its bus drivers.

Tech Stocks Take a Dive Amid Fears of Global Economic Slowdown

Trader Tommy Kalikas works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019. Apple’s shock warning that its Chinese sales are weakening ratcheted up concerns about the world’s second-largest economy and weighed heavily on global stock markets as well as the dollar on Thursday. (AP Photo / Richard Drew)

Tech stocks led the dive Thursday on Wall Street after Apple reported a slowdown on iPhone sales in China. Economist Diane Swonk weighs in.

FAFSA Verification an ‘Unfair Burden’ for Low-Income Students

Though finals are over for most college students, many still have something looming over their heads: financial aid. Why the process is taking longer for thousands of college students seeking federal aid.

Mayor Appoints New Chicago Board of Education Member

Austan D. Goolsbee appears on “Chicago Tonight” in April 2013.

University of Chicago economics professor Austan D. Goolsbee, a former Cabinet member to former President Barack Obama, will serve as the newest member of the Chicago Board of Education.