Stories by joanna hernandez

Discount Mall vendors rally as they seek answers about their future from the mall's owners on Jan. 31, 2023. (Joanna Hernandez / WTTW News)

Little Village Discount Mall Vendors Given Another Short-Term Extension as Future Remains Unclear

Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez (25th Ward) recently hosted a meeting Tuesday with vendors to reassure them he will be fighting to keep the retail hub open. Novak Construction, the mall’s owner, extended vendors’ leases until the end of March.  

(WTTW News)

Chinatown Readies for Lunar New Year Parade Amid Security Concerns

The Lunar New Year Parade is returning to Chinatown this weekend. As hundreds are expected to gather, the Chicago Police Department will be on alert following the recent mass shooting in Monterey Park, Calif.

(WTTW News)

Volunteers Work to Protect Little Village Street Vendors Amid Uptick in Robberies

Vendors have rallied in front of the Chicago Police Department headquarters, asking for more police presence in the morning, when many vendors are out as early as 4 a.m.

(WTTW News)

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Martin Luther King Jr.'s Legacy in Marquette Park

Over 50 years ago, Martin Luther King Jr. marched through the park and hundreds gathered to fight for fair housing. How the community has changed since then.

Vicki Strawn walks with her son, Nate Strawn, months after receiving a heart transplant. (WTTW News)

Suburban Woman Looks Forward to New Year Thanks to Heart Donor

At the age of 51, Vicki Strawn suffered a heart attack. Living with cardiac problems came with limitations that made it difficult to walk or cook. Strawn finally got the call she’d been waiting for on May 16, 2021.

Little Village vendors call for more protection outside of Chicago Police Department headquarters on Dec. 21, 2022. (WTTW News)

Little Village Vendors Push for More Police Protection After Wave of Armed Robberies

One by one, street vendors recently walked into Chicago Police Department headquarters. They were on a mission to get help following recent robberies of street vendors along 26th Street.

Digital creator and social media influencer Chris Dolo. (WTTW News)

From Carnitas to Barbecue, TikTok Creator Chris Dolo Harnesses Power of Social Media to Showcase Chicago Food Scene

In Chicago, a digital creater who goes by the name Chris Dolo has been able to make a name for himself by reviewing food. He joined “Latino Voices” to talk about his road to TikTok fame and the ways he uses it to showcase local offerings.

(WTTW News)

New Community Campus Hopes to Bring Gathering Space, Activity Hub to Austin

Broader Urban Involvement and Leadership Development is close to completing a large community campus that will bring services and gathering spaces. 

Chicago Youth Boxing Club hosts an amateur tournament. (WTTW News)

Boxing Gym Tucked Inside a Little Village Church Basement Aims to Provide Support and Encouragement

A boxing gym in the basement of a Little Village church is on a mission to provide new opportunities for neighborhood kids. Chicago Youth Boxing Club started in 2006 as a refuge for young people seeking a positive outlet.

Sandra Cisneros reads from her new book of poetry. (WTTW News)

Acclaimed Writer Sandra Cisneros on New Poetry, Chicago Roots

Sandra Cisneros visited her hometown for a reading of her new book at the Field Museum. “Woman Without Shame” is her first published collection of poems in 28 years. 

(WTTW News)

Migrants in Chicago Say They Are in Search of Work, Better Opportunities

Migrants arriving to Chicago from the Texas border say they are looking to build a better lives for themselves and want to provide support to their families back home. 

Karen Villagomez casts a ballot in Tuesday's election. (WTTW News)

After 15 Years of Waiting, DACA Recipient Casts Her First Ballot

“It was really exciting and I’m really grateful that I have the opportunity to use my voice this time around,” said Karen Villagomez, who cast her first ballot Tuesday.

A giraffe is pictured at Brookfield Zoo in November 2022. (WTTW News)

Brookfield Zoo Marks 100 Years Since Groundbreaking With Eye Toward the Future

Brookfield Zoo is celebrating a big milestone. It was a century ago when construction on the grounds began.

(WTTW News)

Pilsen Resident Creates Elaborate Dia De Los Muertos Backyard Altar

In Pilsen, one Chicago resident transformed her backyard into an altar that provides a transportive experience. You’ll find skulls, flowers and all kinds of objects offered to those who once lived.

(WTTW News)

Chicagoans Have Been Engaging in Protest of Iranian Regime

Human rights groups say more than 100 people have been killed in Iran since the death of a 22-year-old woman who was in the custody of police. Iranian Americans in Chicago have a message they want everyone to hear: “Stand with Iranian women.”

Paletas at Paleteria Las Delicias de la Michoacána. (WTTW News)

Owners of La Michoacána Shop Sharing Mexico’s Ice Cream Culture With Chicagoans

The history of La Michoacána goes back decades to a small town named Tocumbo in Michoacán. The brand name has given people like the Garcias opportunities to open their own independent businesses.

(WTTW News)

Columbus Day Parade Held, Indigenous Peoples’ Day Recognized

Some organizations and governments are changing how they observe the holiday, if at all, while many still gather for the annual parade.

Evelyn Flores and Laura Alvarado in their Little Village shop Alborada. (WTTW News)

Family-Run Dress Boutique in Little Village Part of Quinceañera Tradition

A quinceañera is all about the details. A family-run business in Little Village has been playing a part in the quinceañeras of area girls for years.

Dr. Suneel Udani and Quin Taylor advocate for kidney disease awareness. (WTTW News)

Transplant Recipient Advocates for Kidney Disease Awareness

Last year, the National Kidney Foundation launched Kidney Health for Life, a campaign focused on educating and targeting the high rate of kidney disease among the Black, Asian and Latino populations.

Hurricane Fiona hits Puerto Rico. (CNN)

As Puerto Rico Still Struggles With Hurricane Recovery, Chicago Organizations Mobilize

Hurricane Fiona swept through Puerto Rico last weekend leaving millions without power. Now, residents are left to recover and rebuild once again. In Chicago, local organizations and officials are coming together to support people on the island.

Salvation Army Center in Chicago. (WTTW News)

Government Officials, Local Organizations Work to Respond to Hundreds of Arriving Migrants

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott continues to bus hundreds of migrants to cities across the country. That includes Chicago, which has welcomed more than 500 people seeking asylum since Aug. 31. Another bus arrived Thursday night at Union Station.  

Donations for migrants arriving from Texas. (WTTW News)

Community Groups Work to Provide Support to Migrants Arriving From Texas

As buses of migrants arrive from Texas, the city of Chicago and local community organizations are working to get the newly arrived people settled.

(WTTW News)

Vendors at Little Village Discount Mall Told Leases Will Be Extended Until January 2023

After worrying for months that they would be kicked out under a new owner, vendors at the shopping center have been given a short extension on their leases.

(WTTW News)

Pilsen Pantry in Former Church Faces Challenges

A food pantry in Pilsen has been operating out of a former church for the last two years. The founder is hoping to buy the building but says she is running into obstacles with the Chicago Archdiocese.

The Discount Mall in Little Village is pictured in August 2022. (WTTW News)

As Contract Set to Expire, Fate of Little Village Discount Mall Still a Mystery

For now, it’s business as usual inside the Discount Mall in Little Village as customers navigate through the aisles and vendors work to land a sale. But these merchants don’t know how long they have left to run their businesses. 

Adam Carson and Nydia Gonzalez-Carson, owners of Supermarcado Gonzalez in Waukegan. (WTTW News)

Husband and Wife Evolve Waukegan Grocery Store into Community Hub

A husband and wife in Waukegan have transformed their grocery store to include a coffee shop, boutique and a gathering place for fellow entrepreneurs.