Winter Water Wonderland, by boat

 

Even though the temperatures are dropping, Chicago’s water taxi service is in full swing. These 5 gems along the Chicago River await you.

 

By Jacqueline Lumley
Medill Reports

FRiver Logo
or the first time in almost a decade, the city of Chicago will extend river taxi service past Thanksgiving through mid-December in 2017. For less than $10, you can purchase a day pass and ride from the Loop to Chinatown and beyond, taking in Chicago’s storied architecture along the way. That makes now the perfect time to welcome winter with Medill Report’s guide to a full day of snowy riverboat rides and delicious food.

Morning: Coffee at The French Market

Start your day with some fresh brew from Chicago’s French Market. Located in the Ogilvie Train Station, this market hosts space for more than 30 artisan food vendors, with choices ranging from high-end charcuterie to fresh-baked croissants to ice cream. It’s the perfect spot for a grab-and-go breakfast before embarking on your riverboat adventure.

Route: Turn right after exiting Ogilvie Train Station and head toward the river down Washington Avenue. Walk down the staircase and wait for the 10 a.m. water taxi at the Ogilvie/Union (West Loop) stop. You can purchase your ticket on board or ahead of time online.
Continue reading

Pan-Womanist organization FURIE supports collective resistance with self-defense classes

By Natalya Carrico
Medill Reports

FURIE (Feminist Uprising to Resist Inequality and Exploitation) is a grassroots, Pan-Womanist organization from Chicago. In July 2017, FURIE began weekly women’s self-defense classes in Humboldt Park, which have now moved to a performing arts space, Voice of the City, in Logan Square.

Continue reading

Jews have been the target of most hate crimes this year, Chicago police data shows

By Caroline Tanner
Medill Reports

There have been 50 reported hate crimes in Chicago during the first nine months of 2017, according to data released by the Chicago Police Department in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.

This follows a 20 percent rise in hate crimes in Chicago from 2015 to 2016, from 60 to 72 reported incidents, aligning with a national increase in hate crimes across the country. Many attribute rising hate crimes to the heated rhetoric of President Donald Trump and an increasingly polarized political climate.

In this year’s data, religion and race each account for 42 percent of total reported hate crimes in Chicago.
Continue reading

Back of the Yards Public Library: When a library can’t serve its community

By Kate Cimini
Medill Reports

While the re-introduction of a public library to the Back of the Yards neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago has been a boon to the community, its location has placed severe limitations on its ability to serve community members, and even, some allege, have detracted from other public services.

The sign for the Back of the Yards Public Library (photo at top of story) is nearly half a block from the entrance to the library, making it difficult to find. Although the community is relieved to once again have a local library after a multi-year gap, its location is proving problematic in a variety of ways.
Continue reading

West Side Church Provides a Safe Haven for Chicago Veterans

By Xinyi (Ethel) Jiang
Medill Reports

More than a hundred Austin neighbors from the West Side gathered on the Saturday before Thanksgiving to celebrate and honor the service of veterans at the Healing Temple Church.

This “Musical and Award Luncheon” is part of the “Standup for Veterans” program sponsored by the Arthur Lockhart Resource Institute. Every month, the institute provides African-American veterans with resources and referrals for housing, employment opportunities and mental health services.  

Veterans have dinner at the Healing Temple Church. (Xinyi Jiang/MEDILL)

Ike Dowsey, JR. served as an ordnance specialist for the Marines from 1976 to 1982. During his time in service, Dowsey lost a lot of comrades.

“It’s deep,” said Dowsey. “But still you had to do your job. You had to be able to get your strength from somewhere else.”

Continue reading

Volunteers open their homes to those traveling to Chicago for abortions

By Sofi LaLonde
Medill Reports

A blue state among red states in the Midwest, Illinois is often considered an “oasis” for reproductive health care when it comes to access to abortion. But even with less-restrictive abortion policies, clinics in the state are concentrated in Chicago, leaving gaps in access for women statewide, particularly in southern parts of the state.

For the women who travel from all parts of the Midwest to Chicago for easy abortion access, paying for an abortion can be expensive. According to the Guttmacher Institute, 75 percent of abortion patients in the United States are low-income.

But a Chicago nonprofit aims to make abortions more affordable for those who trek long distances to get one in the city.

Midwest Access Coalition, an entirely volunteer-run organization, helps clients with the costs of traveling to Chicago for an abortion and connects them with volunteers who put them up in their homes. The organization serves both Illinois residents and out-of-state patients traveling to Chicago.
Continue reading

It’s not too late to train for your first marathon, top coaches say

By Caroline Tanner
Medill Reports

“If you can put one foot in front of the other faster than you walk, then you’re a runner,” says New York City running coach and triathlete Corinne Fitzgerald.

Fitzgerald uses this mantra to guide marathon runners as a coach at Mile High Run Club (MHRC), a studio that trains runners through treadmill workouts in New York.

“If you would have told me in middle school or even college then that I was going to be a run coach, I would have told you there’s no way in hell that’s happening,” said Fitzgerald, who has been coaching for five years.

Continue reading

The Concussion Conundrum

Researchers are still perplexed as to the effects of concussions on female athletes. But a Northwestern duo believes accounting for the menstrual cycle could be the key.

By Brittany Callan
Medill Reports

For rugby player Brittany O’Dell, it took a Will Smith movie to scare her into taking sports injuries seriously.

The 2015 true-life film “Concussion” chronicled the discovery of the degenerative brain disease Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, or CTE, and starred Smith as Dr. Bennet Omalu, the physician who discovered the condition. O’Dell, who plays for Chicago North Shore Women’s Rugby, says watching the film opened her eyes to the potential long-term effects brain injuries in her sport could have for athletes who didn’t take them seriously. “That made me scared a little bit,” she says. “That made me want to enforce recovery to everyone.”
Continue reading

Immigration courts remain backlogged in big cities as judges are sent to the border

By Mariana Alfaro
Medill Reports

In April, Attorney General Jeff Sessions sent 25 immigration judges to detention centers near the border and promised to add 125 new judges to the bench in the next two years, all part of the Administration’s plan to “fight against criminal aliens.” This plan was criticized by immigrant communities and advocates as a way to expedite deportations without due process, delaying more than 20,000 cases in immigration courts across the country.

As judges headed to detention facilities on the border, immigration courts across the country continued to struggle with a backlog of cases that, though dating back to the Obama-era, has grown under President Donald Trump’s administration.

According to Politico, in January there were around 540,000 cases caught in the immigration court backlog. By August 2017, the number had grown to 632,261, with nearly 50 percent of these cases in California, New York and Texas — states that account for nearly half of the country’s immigrant population, according to the Pew Research Center. Judges sent to the border told Politico that their dockets were nearly empty in their newly assigned courts, with some likening the temporary uproot to a vacation.

Continue reading

Panel addresses shortcomings of ‘me too’ campaign for women of color

By Cailin Crowe
Medill Reports

“Me Too” — it’s a short but powerful phrase that has taken social media, politics, workplaces and dinner tables by storm…at least for white women.

The viral social media campaign has been tweeted more than 1.7 million times and is credited with creating a unified platform for women to share sexual harassment stories. But reporting and sharing stories of sexual harassment remains more difficult for women of color compared to white women, according to Veronica Arreola, the director of Latin@s Gaining Access to Networks for Advancement in Science. And while actress Alyssa Milano is widely credited with the tweet that launched the “Me Too” hashtag, others point out that a black woman, Tarana Burke, started the movement 10 years ago to provide support for women of color who are survivors of sexual assault.

“We’ve been sounding this alarm for years. People just started noticing when white women joined in,” said Arreola.

Continue reading