Stories by erica gunderson

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

More Latinos in Nursing Needed for Culturally Competent Care

(WTTW News)

As the American population ages and needs more healthcare — and as the American demographic continues to become increasingly Latino — finding ways to draw more people, especially Latinos, into nursing is crucial to providing effective health care.

Community Groups, Anti-Violence Organizations Working to Keep Kids Safe This Summer

(WTTW News)

In recent weeks, children as young as three years old have been caught by crossfire in incidents of gun violence. Oftentimes those pulling the trigger are themselves very young. But community groups and anti-violence organizations are mobilizing to stop violence before it starts through outreach and intervention.

Chicago Park District Summer Program Registration Open

Chicago Park District superintendent Rosa Escareño calls the CPD day camps “the best deal in town” from a cost perspective, she wants people to know that there are discounts available for those who need it. (Courtesy Chicago Park District)

The warm weather has finally arrived, and that means it's time to start planning your summer activities. The Chicago Park District opened registration at the park district website for all its summer programs, including the one many parents have been waiting for — day camps. 

How a Roe Reversal Could Impact Illinois Latinos

United States Supreme Court Building (Mark Thomas / Pixabay)

In Illinois, Gov. J. B. Pritzker says no matter how the Supreme Court eventually rules, abortion is still safe and legal in the state. But that’s not the case everywhere in the Midwest.

City College Valedictorians Reflect on 2020-2022 Experience

Seventeen hundred students from the City Colleges of Chicago walked across the stage at the Wintrust Arena in the first in-person commencement ceremony for the colleges since the pandemic began.  (Courtesy City Colleges of Chicago)

Seventeen hundred students from the City Colleges of Chicago walked across the stage at the Wintrust Arena in the first in-person commencement ceremony for the colleges since the pandemic began.

Love Purse Carries Necessities, Inspiration to Women in Need

The pandemic sparked an idea for local woman Maria Castro. She found a way to get everyday necessities — plus a touch of inspiration — to women in need. (WTTW News)

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated housing insecurity, substance abuse, human trafficking, and domestic violence, often leaving women struggling with those issues with virtually no resources to move forward. But the pandemic also sparked an idea for local woman Maria Castro. She found a way to get everyday necessities — plus a touch of inspiration — to women in need.

Red Moon Rising: Total Lunar Eclipse Coming to Chicago May 15

“All you need are your eyes, a comfortable chair and a blanket to enjoy,” Chicago astronomer Joe Guzman said. “Those who have telescopes set them up and share this experience with your family as we observe one celestial object get in the way of another!” (WTTW News)

A celestial show is coming to Chicago next weekend - on the evening of Sunday, May 15, a lunar eclipse will grace the night skies. Chicago astronomer Joe Guzman says it's a great reason to spend an evening moongazing.

State Street Buildings Face Wrecking Ball Due to Security Concerns

Buildings at 220 S. State St. and 202 S. State St. are being recommended for demolition as part of a security plan for the Dirksen Federal Building. (WTTW News)

The 1913 Consumers Building at 202 South State St., and its neighbor, the 1915 Century Building, were designed by two of Chicago’s most storied architecture firms. But multiple federal agencies have concluded the towers’ locations just east of the Dirksen Federal Building render the country’s largest federal courthouse vulnerable to attack and pose too much of a security risk to keep.

Family-Owned Business Brings Mexico to the Mag Mile

Shoppers stepping inside this Michigan Avenue store are swiftly transported from busy urban streets into a vibrant Mexican street market bursting with handcrafted goods. (WTTW News / Erica Gunderson)

Shoppers stepping inside this Michigan Avenue store are swiftly transported from busy urban streets into a vibrant Mexican street market bursting with handcrafted goods.

‘Our Soldiers, Our Lady of Guadalupe’ Documentary Premieres on WTTW

Our Lady of Guadalupe, Chicago’s first and oldest Mexican-American parish, lost 12 young men in the Vietnam War during a brutal five-year period.

Through first-hand accounts and archive footage, “Our Soldiers, Our Lady of Guadalupe” examines a community in turmoil as Chicago’s first and oldest Mexican American parish lost 12 young men in the Vietnam War in a five-year span.

Proposed CPS Budget Cuts for 2022-2023 Alarm Affected Communities

(WTTW News)

The Chicago Teachers Union and advocacy groups are protesting the budget cuts they say their schools are facing. This is after Chicago Public Schools released individual school budgets with more than 40% of schools expected to see fewer dollars.

New Think Tank’s Mission: Improve Health Outcomes for Black and Brown Chicago

(WTTW News)

Cook County Health recently unveiled The Change Institute, a think tank they say will bring the urgency and focus of the COVID-19 pandemic response to addressing these other health issues.

Working Toward Environmental Justice: A Voices Crossover Discussion

(WTTW News)

Chicago’s environmental justice advocates are working to address the systematic structures that created these inequities. They say a greener future is possible as long as the city and industry are willing to do the work.   

All-Black Opera ‘Quamino’s Map’ Leads Audiences on Unexpected Journey

A sketch of a costume from the opera “Quamino’s Map.” (Credit: Danielle Preston)

When it comes to the stories told about Black people in theater, 18th century London might not be the first time and place that comes to mind. But composer Errollyn Wallen is hoping to change that with “Quamino’s Map,” a new opera being staged at Chicago Opera Theatre.   

Wage Increases, Other Labor Wins at El Milagro

(WTTW News)

Workers at El Milagro tortilla factories are declaring some victories. They say they’ve seen wage increases totaling more than $1 million this month — in addition to the installation of air conditioning in lunchrooms.

ChiTeen Lit Fest Helps Teach Teens to Tell Their Stories

The for-teens-by-teens ChiTeen Lit Fest takes place April 24 - 30 at branches across the city.

A week’s worth of workshops, programs and events include everything from learning how to make your own zine, to a mystery improv game to conversations with authors, podcasters, and local musicians. Some events require pre-registration.

Correcting Past Wrongs to Move Forward: A Voices Crossover Conversation on Environmental Justice

(WTTW News)

When it comes to industrial pollution, it’s often Chicago’s Latino and Black communities who bear the brunt. In those communities, past industrial abuses still cast a shadow with the air, water, and soil pollution resulting in higher rates of asthma, cancer, lead poisoning and other health issues.

Comedy Troupe Brings Mirth and Mariachi to Improv

The members of Los Improviachis will be the first to tell you they’re not traditional mariachis. (WTTW News)

A group of local comedians is bringing a taste of Latin culture to their comedy routine. In what is often a white-dominated space, they hope their acts add some variety and relatability. 

Chicago Artist Ali Six Creates Mural for Wicker Park

Muralist Nikko Locander, also known as Ali Six, said he wants people to find hope in the 15-foot-high mural “The Butterfly Effect” he created to grace a Wicker Park train embankment. (WTTW News)

Chicago spring may be fickle, but the recent explosion of public art has also brought some color and life to the city. One local muralist is hoping his 15-foot-high mural in Wicker Park inspires people to find hope. It’s called “The Butterfly Effect.”