Stories by erica gunderson

Decoration Without Exploitation: Home Decor Items That Pay Artisans Fairly

An item from the Nadur Collection on the website of local fair trade business Blossom Inspirations. (Credit: Blossom Inspirations)

How the local business Blossom Inspirations is building bridges between American and Latino cultures through artisan crafts.

Celebrating and Supporting Latino LGBTQ Youth

(nancydowd / Pixabay)

In honor of National Coming Out Day, we speak with a group that’s making sure young LGBTQ Latinos have role models in their communities.

Black Republicans Work to Increase Their Ranks

Patricia Easley appears on “Black Voices” on Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020. (WTTW News)

About 10%-15% of Chicago voters cast their ballots for the GOP. Republicans are even harder to find in the Black community, but they do exist — and they say they’d like to see more Black support for President Donald Trump.

Latino COVID-19 Concerns Missing From Presidential Debate

President Donald Trump, left, and former Vice President Joe Biden at the first presidential debate Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020, at Case Western University and Cleveland Clinic, in Cleveland, Ohio. (WTTW News via CNN)

Amid the chaos of Tuesday’s debate, the presidential candidates discussed COVID-19, health care, the economy and white supremacy, but neither spoke directly about how these issues affect the Latino community.

Chicago Board of Elections Prepares for Historic Vote

(WTTW News)

Setting Chicagoans up for a safe and secure election is a tall order in a year beset by a pandemic, post office woes and concerns about voter intimidation. 

La Ultima Palabra: Ray Salazar

Educator Ray Salazar has the last word on the unprecedented challenges facing Chicago teachers and students during the coronavirus pandemic.

How a Chicago Native is Helping Kids Put Stock Into Themselves

Rendel Solomon speaks with “Chicago Tonight: Black Voices” via Zoom. (WTTW News)

Rendel Solomon tells us about his nonprofit initiative One Stock One Future, which aims to turn one million youth into public company shareholders via workshops and donated funds. 

Chicago’s Lack of Affordable Housing Hurting Latino Families

(WTTW News)

A task force released recommendations this week to help Chicago increase its affordable housing stock. We ask two housing activists to share their thoughts on that guidance.

3 Years After Hurricane Maria, Some Evacuees Still Struggling

The aftermath of Hurricane Maria, which hit Puerto Rico in September 2017. (WTTW News via CNN)

Since Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico in 2017, the U.S. territory has suffered greatly. Hundreds of Puerto Ricans who made the wrenching decision to move to Chicago after the hurricane have also struggled to recover.

Black Voices: The Debut Episode

Chicago Public Schools students talk about their first week of virtual classes. We explore the history of police in schools, and the local connections of the NFL’s first Black team president.

Black Voices: First Week in 2020 School Year Tests CPS

How did the first week of virtual school go at Chicago Public Schools? We speak with a panel of CPS students about their experiences.

Black Voices: Northwestern, Booth Alum Named NFL Team President

From the football field to the front office: We speak with Jason Wright, the NFL’s first Black team president.

Latino Voices: The Debut Episode

A new school year begins. Is CPS making the grade? Presidential candidates vie for Latino votes. A photography exhibit in the Loop is closing soon — we visit “Temporal: Puerto Rican Resistance.” Watch the full show.

Latino Voices: Is CPS Making the Grade With Remote Learning?

(WTTW News)

After a long holiday weekend, Chicago Public Schools students logged in Tuesday for their first week of remote learning to open the 2020 school year amid the pandemic. The pluses and minuses of week one.

Latino Voices: Perspectives on the 2020 Election

A record 32 million Latinos will be eligible to vote in 2020, making Latinos the largest ethnic or racial group this election. Have the candidates done all they can to garner support from Latino voters? 

Amplifying ‘Voices’: New Weekend Shows Debut on WTTW

(WTTW News)

This weekend, we’re premiering two new shows focused on amplifying the voices of Chicago’s Black and Latino communities. We talk with the hosts of our new shows “Black Voices” and “Latino Voices.”

‘Black Women’s Equal Pay Day’ Spotlights Persistent Wage Gap

(WTTW News)

According to census data, women in the workplace, especially Black women, make far less than white men on average. Cherita Ellens, president and CEO of Women Employed, talks about how to close the pay gap.

Ask Geoffrey: Chicago’s Coach Houses

Geoffrey Baer shares the history of Chicago’s original tiny houses – coach houses – in this installment of Ask Geoffrey. 

State Rep. Calls for Pause on Teaching History in Illinois Schools

(WTTW News)

Is it time to abolish, or radically alter the way history is taught in Illinois schools? A debate over how the subject is taught.

Large Nonprofits Struggle to Provide Services While Locked Out of Pandemic Aid

(Courtesy of the YMCA)

Their size and reach allow them to get assistance quickly and efficiently to people in need, but nonprofits with more than 500 employees cannot apply for forgivable loans under the CARES Act.

Free Craft Project by Local Artist Lets Kids Build Their Own Blocks

(Courtesy of Matt Bergstrom)

Chicago artist Matt Bergstrom wants kids across the city to get to know the homes that make up their neighborhood blocks by building them with their own hands, one free printable model at a time. 

Red Onions Linked to Multistate Salmonella Outbreak

(stux / Pixabay)

Nearly 400 people in 34 states, including 10 in Illinois, have become ill with a strain of the bacterial disease linked to red onions from a major California producer, according to a food safety alert from the CDC.

5 Things to Know About Chicago’s Quarantine Order

(veerasantinithi / Pixabay)

Ready to hit the open road? You might want to rethink those travel plans. Even a simple day trip to Wisconsin could cost you two weeks at home — or a possible fine.

Ask Geoffrey: What’s the Chicago Parental School?

Geoffrey Baer on the reform school that was once WTTW’s neighbor.

Where Next, Columbus? Fate of Temporarily Removed Statues in Question

An empty pedestal in Grant Park where a statue of Christopher Columbus stood recently. (WTTW News)

Mayor Lori Lightfoot ordered the temporary removal of two Christopher Columbus statues in Chicago last week following protests that turned violent. Now, activists are hoping to make their removal permanent — but the debate isn’t over.

Eerily Quiet, Wrigleyville Still Offers Cubs Fans ‘Something to Cheer For’

Game day in Wrigleyville on Sunday, July 26, 2020. (Erica Gunderson / WTTW News)

In any other year, a parking spot near Wrigley Field on a game day would be a mirage or a miracle. But on the third day of the 2020 baseball season, parking spots were easy to find, and the cheek-to-jowl lines were nonexistent.