Stories by joanna hernandez

Nyisha Beemon holds a photo of her daughter, Jaya Beemon, who was shot and killed in February 2020. She has since started a foundation in her name. (WTTW News)

Pain Into Purpose: Mother Who Lost Daughter to Gun Violence Wants to Turn Convenience Store Where She Died Into Community Hub

It has been more than two years since Nyisha Beemon’s daughter was shot and killed inside a convenience store. Now, she wants to purchase the store and turn it into a community hub that would offer support and counseling. 

(WTTW News)

Teens Developing Urban Design Skills While Improving Their Neighborhood

The project is part of the city’s INVEST South/West initiative and led by the Chicago Department of Transportation. The initiative works with a variety of partners to revitalize marginalized communities. 

Seena Jacob, founder of nonprofit BookWallah, reads to a group of children at a Boys and Girls Club in the North Center neighborhood. (WTTW News.)

Local Nonprofit Leader Wants to Use Healing Power of Books to Help Kids

Seena Jacob, the founder of the nonprofit BookWallah, is working to help children heal from trauma using books. She founded the organization in 2009 when she says she began to question her life’s purpose and started to visit orphanages around the world. 

(WTTW News graphic)

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Proposed Casino Sites

Chicago has three finalists for potential casino sites, but residents of those communities have mixed feelings. Some fear a rise in crime and the impact a casino could have on neighboring small businesses. Others are hopeful it could provide good paying jobs.

By the looks of the lines at Dinkel’s, lots of customers are going to miss the sweetness of the bakery. (WTTW News)

Confection Connoisseurs Bid Farewell to Dinkel’s Bakery

It’s a bittersweet month as the Lakeview neighborhood says goodbye to Dinkel’s Bakery, a staple in the neighborhood that has been making sweet desserts for decades. 

Liz Ahearn opened Picnic Wine and Provisions in Rogers Park seven months before the pandemic hit. (Joanna Hernandez / WTTW News)

Rogers Park Wine Business Looks to Expand Customers’ Palates While Continuing to Adapt

Liz Ahearn opened her Rogers Park business, 7301 N. Sheridan Road, seven months before the pandemic hit. Like many other shop owners, she’s had to get creative. Despite the challenges, she has managed to keep her business growing. 

Victor Chihuake asks for the FBI to investigate the unsolved homicide of his cousin Ramiro Morales Jr. during a rally outside the Chicago FBI field office on March 22, 2022. (Joanna Hernandez / WTTW News)

Families Plea for FBI Assistance in Solving Chicago Homicides: ‘CPD Has Failed These Families’

Mothers and family members who are seeking justice in the killings of their loved ones stood outside the Chicago FBI field office. The rally was organized by the Little Village Community Council as a way to bring attention to unsolved homicides in the city and to ask the FBI for assistance.

Chef Johnny Clark created a menu inspired by his Ukrainian heritage at his restaurant Wherewithall. (WTTW News)

Wherewithall Chef Honors Ukrainian Heritage, Grandmother Through His Menu

Johnny Clark, chef and owner at Chicago restaurant Wherewithall, is using his culinary skills to help keep Ukrainian culture alive while at the same time raising funds for the country. 

Ariel Mejia, left, and Jen Dentel are co-creator of the “Unboxing Queer History” podcast. (WTTW News)

New Podcast Series Explores Queer History With Help From Library’s Archives

A library filled with collections of people’s stories is coming to life in a new podcast series called “Unboxing Queer History.”

(WTTW News)

21st Annual Chicago International Salsa Congress Kicks Off

After having to go virtual last year The Chicago International Salsa Congress is back this weekend. A four-day event celebrating Afro Latin music and dance. 

Meet a couple that used their stimulus checks to build a pet pantry to help those struggling to buy pet goods. (WTTW News)

Clearing Couple Starts Pet Pantry to Help Those in Need

It has become more common to see donation boxes across the city. Some are filled with books and others with canned goods. We head to Clearing to speak with a couple who has built a donation box to help those with pets. 

The Center for Covid Control is temporarily closing all their locations. (WTTW News)

Local Officials Warn About Some Pop-Up COVID-19 Testing Sites

City and state officials are advising people to be on the lookout for untrustworthy COVID-19 testing sites. What you should know before walking into a pop-up testing site. 

(WTTW News)

Demand for COVID-19 Testing Surges as Holidays Near

Pharmacies are dealing with a shortage of at-home COVID-19 tests as the demand for testing skyrockets ahead of the holidays.

The Read/Write Library is filled with unique publications like creative books, neighborhood newspapers and personal narratives by people who are incarcerated. (WTTW News)

Independent Humboldt Park Library Fighting to Keep Doors Open

For nearly 16 years, the Read/Write Library has been operating in the community, providing unique publications like creative books, neighborhood newspapers and personal narratives by people who are incarcerated. 

Josefina Rengifo (WTTW News)

DuPage County Organization Seeks to Uplift Refugee Women

Every year thousands of refugees seek asylum in the United States. Re:new is helping refugee women get back on their feet by teaching them how to become designers.

(WTTW News)

Ladies of Virtue Seeks to Empower Young Women, Prepare Them for College

Jamila Trimuel founded the nonprofit a decade ago and has made it her mission to help young Black girls go to college. “I see myself in the girls that I serve.”

Heritage Bikes & Coffee in Lakeview (WTTW News)

Chicagoan Pours Love of Bikes, Coffee into Business

Michael Salvatore, a fifth-generation Chicagoan, opened Heritage Bikes & Coffee in Lakeview in 2012. The business combines two things he loves while paying homage to his family and the city’s cycling history.

Chef Carlos Gaytán was born in Mexico and is the first Mexican Chef to win a Michelin Star. (WTTW News)

Local Chefs Work to Bring Black and Brown Communities Together

The Consulate General of Mexico has partnered with two local chefs to host a collaborative dinner to continue to build unity between Black and brown communities and work to heal divisions between cultures. 

There’s a new bar in Andersonville that is one of the only bars left catering to queer women. Chicago Tonight’s Joanna Hernandez recently stopped by to learn more about the inspiration behind the bar’s name: Nobody’s Darling. (WTTW News)

Chicago’s Only Female-Owned, Queer-Friendly Bar Nobody’s Darling Aims to be Inclusive of Everybody

There’s a new bar in Andersonville that is one of the only bars left catering to queer women. Chicago Tonight’s Joanna Hernandez recently stopped by to learn more about the inspiration behind the bar’s name, Nobody’s Darling.

In 2015 Jamie Dalton started Aquarium Info, a blog to share information and tips to help others to start building their fish tanks. During the pandemic she decided to go a little further and transformed her second bedroom into a full functioning fish studio. (WTTW News)

Wicker Park Resident’s Passion Project Swells Into Booming Business

Have you ever wanted to get a fish but had no idea where to start? We head to Wicker Park to meet Jamie Dalton, who began creating educational aquarium videos during the pandemic which led her to a new business venture.

Abby Ramirez (WTTW News)

Local Softball Player Hopes to Inspire Others, Help Women Go Pro

As we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, meet a woman who is proud of her Mexican roots and shares what drove her to play professional softball. 

Kamau Murray, founder of the XS Tennis and Education Foundation. (WTTW News)

Tennis Festival Brings Pro Players to Chicago’s South Side

Tennis fans have the opportunity to catch some top professionals this week at the Chicago Tennis Festival. We meet the tournament’s promoter to learn more about his mission to give kids an opportunity to thrive.

(WTTW News)

Little Village Organization on a Mission to Conserve Monarch Butterflies

The nonprofit El Valor has raised thousands of monarchs, and each year the community comes together for a butterfly release. 

Every Sunday, Ann Marie Frank, along with family members and volunteers, packs up lunches for homeless individuals. (WTTW News)

From a Busy Suburban Kitchen, Sisters Make Lunches for Homeless

Ann Marie Frank is using social media to help feed homeless individuals in her community and beyond. We visit Des Plaines to see how she’s opened her kitchen to make thousands of lunches — with the help of family members and volunteers.

Participants in Chicago Westside Sports play baseball at Columbus Park. (WTTW News)

Chicago Westside Sports Aims to Build Community, Life Skills

A group of police officers and community leaders are using their time off to give back to underserved communities by getting young kids to play sports. We head to Columbus Park on the West Side to learn more.  

A dog models apparel from Pittie Clothing Company, founded by Erin Crowley of Humboldt Park. (WTTW News)

Love of Pit Bulls Inspires Colorful Mission to Break Stigma

A Humboldt Park woman is on a mission to break the stigma surrounding pit bulls — one colorful outfit at a time. How Erin Crowley’s line of dog apparel aims to help change people’s preconceived notions about the breed.