Stories by Joanna Hernandez

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Puerto Rican Festival Kicks Off in Humboldt Park

Preparations are underway for the Puerto Rican Festival in Humboldt Park. (WTTW News)

Fiestas Patronales Puertorriqueñas is a four-day event featuring live music, games and food all celebrating Puerto Rican culture.

Local Museum Portrays Russia-Ukraine War Through the Eyes of Children

The “Mom, I Don’t Want War” exhibit is part of a joint Polish-Ukrainian project, featuring children’s art made in Poland during World War II and the German occupation from 1939 – 1944, compared to children’s art from Ukraine created during its current war with Russia. (WTTW News)

The “Mom, I Don’t Want War” exhibit compares children’s drawings during the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict to Polish children’s art made during World War II and the German occupation.

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Refugees Find Safety in Ukrainian Village One Year Into War

(WTTW News)

Friday marks one year since Russia invaded Ukraine. Millions of people have since fled the war-torn country, some seeking refuge in Chicago.

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Logan Square Residents See Property Tax Hikes

(WTTW News)

Some longtime Latino residents in the Logan Square community say they don’t know how long they will be able to keep paying property tax hikes, maintain a home and survive.

‘Chicago Tonight’ In Your Neighborhood: Robbins Calls For Federal Help to Fix Aging Water Infrastructure

The village of Robbins water tower is pictured on Dec. 1, 2022. (WTTW News)

Over Thanksgiving week, hundreds of Robbins residents were left with dry homes following two water main breaks. It is just part of a long history of water infratructure problems in the town. 

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: McKinley Park and Future of Damen Silos

The Damen Silos are pictured on Nov. 10, 2022. (WTTW News)

The state announced it will enter into exclusive negotiations with MAT Limited Partnership to take over the Damen Silos property. The 23-acre property located along the Chicago River has been vacant for years. 

‘Chicago Tonight’ In Your Neighborhood: Rebuilding in Austin Following Building Explosion

(WTTW News)

building explosion on Sept. 20 left one person dead and several injured in the Austin community on Chicago’s West Side. With help from neighbors, residents are slowly starting to rebuild. 

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: East Side

(WTTW News)

The neighborhood is an industrial corridor. It has a long history that dates back decades with the arrival of steel mills that drove hundreds of immigrants to move to the area to work and build. We started by talking to a long-time resident who tells us more about the economic impact of the steel mills' shutdown.

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: North Park

(WTTW News)

North Park was originally a Swedish community and over the years it’s become more diverse, with a blend of different cultures and backgrounds.

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Waukegan

(WTTW News)
Located about 30 miles north of downtown Chicago, Waukegan has recently become a hub for Planned Parenthood doctors in Wisconsin to treat their patients since that state halted abortions after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Pullman and West Pullman

(WTTW News)

Chicago’s Pullman and West Pullman areas were once industrial communities where workers lived and worked. The neighborhoods on the Far South Side have since experienced an economic downfall, but over the years people have pushed for growth to improve the quality of life. 

After Highland Park Shooting, a Look at Local Gun Laws and Firearms Access

(WTTW News)

Just under a month ago, the Highland Park chapter of March for our Lives organized an anti-gun violence rally at Sunset Woods Park – the same location of a Thursday candlelight vigil – following mass shootings in Uvalde, Buffalo, and Tulsa among others. Attendees then marched through Highland Park, including right through the site of this past weekend’s shooting.

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Irving Park

(WTTW News)

Irving Park on Chicago’s Northwest Side is a spacious community area with a variety of local businesses and provides easy access to transportation. 

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: West Elsdon

Gerardo Trujillo is principal of Louis Pasteur Elementary. He organized a mural to be painted on the side of the school, and says that he wanted to give the almost 100-year-old school building some color and inspiration for the community.  (WTTW News)

On the Southwest side, a small community with a population of about 20,000 people offers a suburban feel and is home to many families. And it’s promoting education as the foundation of its hopes and dreams.

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Old Town

(WTTW News)

Located two miles north of downtown, and about a mile from the lake, Old Town a neighborhood that has undergone a lot of change in the past decade. Residents have fought to preserve historic buildings in the area.

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Roseland

(WTTW News)

Located on Chicago’s South Side, neighborhood leaders are engaging in block-to-block outreach to tackle gun violence. Others are working to bring investment into a corridor that was once a hub for small businesses. We speak with residents and some of those leaders on the frontlines.

Guien the Agave Is Nearing Garfield Park Conservatory’s Glass Ceiling: ‘She’s Trying To Be a Skyscraper’

Guien the agave, at Garfield Park Conservatory, Feb. 7, 2022. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

Guien the agave continues to amaze. She’s now topped 20 feet and is fast approaching the Garfield Park Conservatory’s glass ceiling. Staff are trying to get the plant to slow her spurt.

‘Chicago Tonight’ In Your Neighborhood: Leading Community in North Lawndale

(WTTW News)

In the fall, UCAN announced Christa Hamilton would be the first female and first Black person to lead the organization. More recently, lifetime resident pastor James Brooks became the CEO of the Lawndale Christian Health Center.

Laquan McDonald’s Family Responds to Release of Jason Van Dyke

(WTTW News)

We spent the day in North Lawndale — the neighborhood Laquan McDonald grew up in — and spoke with family members and the community about Jason Van Dyke’s release as part of our community reporting series.

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Kenwood

(WTTW News)

Kenwood stands along the shore of Lake Michigan with a mix of 19th century mansions and affordable housing. It’s an area that’s been fighting the closure of schools and gun violence. We talk with residents who have been here for decades about their investment into the community and more.

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Grand Boulevard

Located on Chicago’s South Side, the Grand Boulevard community is home to several historic institutions. (WTTW News)

The area includes part of the Bronzeville neighborhood. And it has a rich history, from its churches to its hospital. We spoke with community leaders about that and efforts to bring people together this holiday season.

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Andersonville

Located in the Edgewater community on Chicago’s northside, Andersonville has one of the most concentrated areas of Swedish heritage and is home to a large LGBTQ plus community. (WTTW News)

Located in the Edgewater community on Chicago’s North Side, Andersonville has one of the most concentrated areas of Swedish heritage and is home to a large LGBTQ community. Learn more about the history as well as what the area is doing to adopt eco-friendly initiatives.

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Naval Station Great Lakes in North Chicago

Naval Station Great Lakes is the largest military installation in Illinois and home to the Navy’s only boot camp. (WTTW News)

Located about 35 miles north of downtown Chicago on the shores of Lake Michigan, North Chicago houses Naval Station Great Lakes, home of the Navy’s only boot camp.

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Resurrection in Pilsen

Pilsen, a largely Mexican community just southwest of Chicago’s Loop, is coming together to celebrate Día de los Muertos, an important day throughout Latin America. (WTTW News)

Despite COVID-19 concerns, celebrations are coming together in Pilsen, a community just southwest of Chicago’s Loop with a substantial Mexican population.

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Revitalizing North Lawndale

Community gardening in North Lawndale (Courtesy Young Mens Educational Network Chicago)

Located on Chicago’s West Side, North Lawndale is a neighborhood that has dealt with decades of disinvestment and vacant spaces. Community members have taken things into their own hands by creating community gardens and safe spaces for the next generation.

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Arlington Heights

Suburban Arlington Heights is a close neighbor to O’Hare airport and about a 40-minute drive from downtown Chicago. (WTTW News)

Arlington Heights is a suburban neighbor to O’Hare airport and about a 40-minute drive from downtown Chicago. The village is one of the largest in the northwest suburbs and is home to what was, until last weekend, the world-renowned Arlington International Racecourse.