Stories by erica gunderson

Border Surge Complicates Path Forward on Immigration

(WTTW News)

The Biden administration is struggling to manage a new cycle of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border as it looks to Congress to pass sweeping immigration legislation.

Reparations Blueprint: What Evanston’s Move Means for Rest of US

Evanston has become the first city in the country to offer reparations for Black residents. Last week, aldermen voted to distribute $10 million over the next 10 years, using tax money from the sale of recreational marijuana. We discuss the local and national outlook.

Luvvie Ajayi Jones Wants You to Become a ‘Professional Troublemaker’

From jumping out of airplanes to zip-lining through the jungle, Luvvie Ajayi Jones has become an expert at challenging fear — but not all of her daring adventures involve leaving the ground. She tells us about her new book, “Professional Troublemaker: The Fear-Fighter Manual.”

Remembering Longtime Chicago Broadcaster Bill Campbell

Bill Campbell appears on “The Week in Review” with Joel Weisman in 1981. (WTTW News)

In this 1981 clip from “The Week in Review,” Bill Campbell, who was then in his third year as editorial director at WLS, talks with host Joel Weisman about his signature on-location editorials and deriving meaning from his work.

The Chicago Lighthouse Leads Residents to Independence and Employment

The Chicago Lighthouse offers children’s education, vision care, rehabilitation, and job training for people with vision impairment and employs them in a variety of capacities. (WTTW News)

The Chicago Lighthouse offers children’s education, vision care, rehabilitation and job training for the blind, visually impaired, disabled and veteran communities and employs them in a variety of capacities. 

Southeast Side Organizers Say Solution to Pollution Problem Includes Clean Industry Jobs

Over the years, industry has taken a toll on the Southeast Side, harming both the natural environment and the health of residents. (WTTW News)

In recent months, the tension between industry and community has escalated as protests erupted against metal scrapper General Iron’s proposed relocation to the Southeast Side. And while activists say the area has been overburdened with industry, the need for jobs with low barriers to entry is still high.

La Ultima Palabra: Lorena Mesa

Data engineer Lorena Mesa recommends Chi Hack Night, PyLadies, and Python Software Foundation for data and tech lovers. (WTTW News)

The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day (March 8) had a theme of “Choose to Challenge,” and data engineer Lorena Mesa wants to challenge your career aspirations. Here, she gives us the last word on Latino representation in tech.

The Last Word: Rachel Allison Hall

Rachel Allison Hall gives Black Voices the last word. (WTTW News)

The Chicago-based comedian and actor talks about making the most of a year spent at home.

Looking Back at a Year of COVID-19

(WTTW News)

This month marks the anniversary of pandemic-induced shutdowns across Illinois. As we close out a year of COVID-19, we assess the road behind us, and the journey ahead. 

Latino Voices: One Year of COVID-19

Dr. Marina Del Rios receives the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by city officials on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020 at The Loretto Hospital. (WTTW News)

A look back on the impact of the pandemic on the Latino community after one year, with doctors Marina del Rios, Juanita Mora and Evelyn Figueroa.

How Technology is Helping the Visually Impaired Find Employment

Jose Martinez (WTTW News)

With 10,000 people turning 65 every day in the U.S., the number of people with visual impairment or blindness is expected to rise significantly in the coming years. Here’s how two Chicago-area institutions have been working to support the visually impaired for over a century. 

Criminal Justice Law Will End Cash Bail, Mandate Body Cameras

(WTTW News)

Gov. J. B. Pritzker signed a criminal justice bill Monday that is massive both in its size – 764 pages – and scope. We discuss the the coming changes and what concerns the bill raises for opponents.

Notes on Jazz: ‘Bebop Fairy Tales’ Riffs on History

Jazz is the foundation of Mark Ruffin’s entire career as a music historian, journalist and broadcaster. In this week’s Black Voices Book Club selection, the principles of jazz composition also inspired his fictional takes on topics of race and intolerance.

‘Our People’ 1968 Interview: Sammy Davis Jr.

Sammy Davis Jr. appears on WTTW’s “Our People” in 1968. (WTTW)

In this recently rediscovered interview, the Grammy Award-winning actor talks with “Our People” host Jim Tilmon about how media representations affect popular perceptions.

Day Laborers Face Increased Difficulties Amid COVID-19

(WTTW News)

How Chicago’s day laborers, many of whom are undocumented, are finding — and not finding — work during the coronavirus pandemic.

La Ultima Palabra: Anyiné Galván Rodríguez

Anyiné Galván Rodríguez (WTTW News)

From Cuba to the Dominican Republic to right here in Chicago, millions of Afro Latinos speak their culture through their language and wear their African heritage on their bodies, especially in their hair texture.

‘Our People’ 1968 Interview: Diahann Carroll

A still image from video shows an interview with Diahann Carroll on “Our People.” (WTTW)

Black women’s hair, particularly in the workplace, has been the subject of endless discussion in recent years. In this rediscovered 1968 interview from the WTTW show “Our People,” actor Diahann Carroll tells a story that demonstrates it’s not exactly a new issue.

‘Begin Again’ Book Revisits James Baldwin’s Body of Work

Princeton University professor Dr. Eddie Glaude Jr. talks about his hopes for the nation — and those of writer James Baldwin — in this week’s Black Voices Book Club selection.

New Plan ‘Protect Chicago Plus’ Guiding City’s Vaccine Distribution

(WTTW News)

Chicago has launched a COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan that partners with community organizations to get vaccinations to people in the 15 communities most impacted by the pandemic. Carmen Vergara of Esperanza Health Centers tells us more.

La Ultima Palabra: Rafael Esparza

Rafael Esparza (WTTW News)

Chef Rafael Esparza has worked in some of Chicago’s most storied kitchens. As part of our series, he gives us the last word on how works of mutual aid give cover to failures of public policy.

Housing Insecurity a Year-Round Problem in Chicago, Advocates Say

A homeless encampment in Chicago. (WTTW News)

This month’s deep freeze has left Chicago’s homeless residents in deadly peril. But housing insecurity is not just an extreme-weather problem, some advocates say, and the city needs to take a bolder approach to housing policy.

How the Torture Archive, Justice Center Are Helping Survivors Heal

A new archive detailing the experiences of police torture survivors went online this month. We hear from two people who are helping those survivors heal.

‘Our People’ 1969 Interview: George Kirby

A still image from video shows an interview with George Kirby on “Our People.” (WTTW)

In this rediscovered interview from the WTTW series “Our People,” host Jim Tilmon gets the Chicago comedian to tell one of his signature stories.

New Book ‘White Fright’ Investigates Roots of American Racism

“White Fright: The Sexual Panic at the Heart of America’s Racist History” re-examines the Reconstruction era through the 1960s and offers a new perspective on America’s history of white supremacy. Author Jane Dailey joins us as part of our Black Voices Book Club series.

Dr. Julie Morita: Vaccine Distribution Needs ‘A Shot of Equity’

(WTTW News)

Recent data indicates Latino and Black populations are getting vaccinated at half the rate of white populations. Dr. Julie Morita, a member of the Biden administration’s COVID-19 task force, gives us a shot in the arm on vaccine equity.

What Children Should Be Learning About Black History

(WTTW News)

With Black history month underway, we take a closer look at how and what we teach our children about Black history with state Rep. La Shawn Ford, a former Chicago Public Schools teacher, and Maureen Tatsuko Loughnane, executive director of the nonprofit Facing History and Ourselves.