Archive for March 2013

Former and current CPS students speak on why they are against school closings

A line of Chicago police officers on horseback patrol Daley Plaza during a rally to protest school
closings led by the Chicago Teachers Union on March 27. Photo by Jonathan Gibby
Worry. Anger. Uncertainty. Those were some of the feelings that current and former Chicago Public Schools students and parents expressed about the district’s plans to close more than 50 schools. We caught up with three of them at this week’s rally against school closings to hear their thoughts. Photo by Jonathan Gibby Benjamin Chacon is... Read more »

Evictions begin for Chateau residents

Evictions begin for Chateau residents
Elizabeth Hartline received her court summons last week that told her she was being evicted from her unit at the Chateau Hotel in East Lakeview. She’s been looking for a new place to live since the end of January, when she found out that the building would be vacated, gutted and rehabbed. But she hasn’t... Read more »

Chicago has third highest extreme poverty rate in the nation

Kimberly Drew remembers a woman who testified before the Illinois Commission on the Elimination of Poverty in August. As she stood in front of the microphone, the woman described the last few years of her life. She had gotten pregnant. Then, she lost her job. After that, her car broke down. “By the time that... Read more »
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Did Chicago's Plan for Transformation succeed?

Back in 2002, Terry Peterson, then CEO of the Chicago Housing Authority, said the city’s overhaul of public housing, dubbed the Plan For Transformation, would be successful. “I have every confidence we will succeed in improving the quality of life for the great majority of CHA residents and helping them share fully in Chicago’s blessings,”... Read more »

Immigrants tell stories of broken families to pressure senators on immigration reform

Immigrants tell stories of broken families to pressure senators on immigration reform
Kristina Tendilla’s father served in the U. S. Navy while still living in the Phillipines, and when he came to the United States in the late 1970s, he became an American citizen. He had three siblings, and as soon as he was granted citizenship, he petitioned for them to leave the poverty of their upbringing... Read more »

Three interesting ways to measure poverty in Illinois

A think tank that works on creating economic opportunity came out with its annual scorecard, a state-by-state comparison of household financial security. According to the nonpartisan, Washington-based Corporation for Enterprise Development, Illinois ranks 33 out of the 50 states on how secure families are in their finances. The report analyzes five areas–financial assets and income,... Read more »
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Bill would give businesses that hire ex-offenders bigger tax credits and more

Bill would give businesses that hire ex-offenders bigger tax credits and more
It’s known as “the box”–the little square that job applicants are expected to check on an employment application if they have a criminal record. Cities and states around the country have passed laws to mitigate the effects of “the box” for ex-offenders. Now, Springfield is approaching the issue from a different direction–giving businesses an incentive... Read more »

Video: A community mourns at the funeral of 6-month-old Jonylah Watkins

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Hundreds gathered at New Beginnings Church of Chicago for the funeral of 6-month-old Jonylah Emani Watkins. One week earlier, the baby was shot in the South Side’s Woodlawn neighborhood, according to the Chicago Police Department. —Produced and photographed by Jonathan Gibby and Lucio Villa

Will mandatory prison time for gun possession charges make Chicago safer?

The debate over how to stop the bloodshed in Chicago headed south last week as Illinois lawmakers took up a bill that would put more people with guns behind bars–for longer. There is a logic behind HB 2265, which was introduced by state Rep. Michael Zalewski, a Democrat from west suburban Riverside. The argument: that... Read more »
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Video: One former drug offender devotes his life to helping other ex-offenders

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Between 2000 and 2011, nearly 150,000 Chicago defendants received a prison sentence in the Cook County Circuit Court. The majority of them were from poor neighborhoods on the city’s South and West sides. Raymond Richard was one of those people. At one time, he lived on the streets of Chicago and turned to drugs and... Read more »