All posts by carolinetanner2018

Cuba’s future population is tied to the strength of its private sector

By Caroline Tanner
Medill Reports

HAVANA – For young people in Cuba, like 19-year-old computer science student Julien Martos Farinos, the emerging private sector presents the greatest opportunities for professional growth and wealth after six decades of Communist Party rule.

“Most young people want to go to the private sector because it represents more money,” said Martos, who studies at the University of Havana. “Most of my friends are planning to go to another country to make money and maybe they come back, maybe they don’t.”

As President Raul Castro prepares to step down this year, a central question facing his still unidentified successor is how to spur a moribund economy that fails to provide basic sustenance to the population and continues to hemorrhage young workers. More than a million Cubans have departed for the United States since 1960. The government is struggling to find ways to the most talented people at home – and that means providing economic outlets. Continue reading

First-time female Congressional candidate hoping to challenge the status quo

By Caroline Tanner
Medill Reports

CHICAGO – “Even now, I talk to women my age and they’re still looking for permission,” said Democratic political hopeful Sameena Mustafa. “I think that we’re in a moment where it’s clear that we’re not going to get permission.”

Rather than waiting to be told, Mustafa, a former real estate broker, is using Donald Trump’s election as the inspiration she needed to quit her job in favor of political pursuits — to run as a Democrat for Illinois’ 5th congressional district.

As an Indian-American woman, she represents a new face vying for a seat that has long been held by powerful white men, including former Governor Rod Blagojevich, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and now incumbent Mike Quigley, who has held the seat since 2009.

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

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

In tough times, influential women unite to inspire one another

By Caroline Tanner
Medill Reports

CHICAGO – “Every woman is a pioneer,” rang loudly through the Chicago Theatre on October 24, during a night of honest talk between eight women on a couch, designed to portray a conversation you’d have with your friends in your living room. Aimed at uniting public figures with fellow women, the traveling Together Live Tour brought together 3,000 people, almost exclusively women, mostly white and young. A few men accompanied their dates, appearing to be fathers, husbands and boyfriends.

The audience was first subjected to a live reading of love letters and text messages between a former professional athlete and a New York Times bestselling author. It was reminiscent of a scene from a bad Lifetime holiday movie, but audience members didn’t seem to care, soaking up the real-life love story.

Chicago marked the second-to-last stop of the national 10-city tour, in which influential women shared their personal stories of challenging times and struggles marked by growth. Speakers included authors, Olympians, actresses, social justice activists and entrepreneurs.

During a nearly four-hour conversation with each other and the audience, the panelists talked honestly and informally about various issues they’ve all faced at one point in their lives and careers, including racism, sexual harassment, failure and the decision to speak up.

Lincoln Park resident Alyssa Hannah, 16, attended the speech with her mom and said the idea of letting go of fear resonated with her.

“I stay in fear a lot,” said Hannah, a University of Chicago Lab School student. “The idea of just doing it is really important.”

The tour was co-founded by Jennifer Randolph Walsh, who runs the literary division of the talent agency WME.

“The Together Tour is the evolution of a collective dream — a fierce, intersectional, multi-generational gathering where you will hear from badass, earth-shaking, hilarious, authentic storytellers from across the globe,” Walsh said.
Continue reading

From YouTube consumer to vlogger, David Budimir taps back to his sixth-grade roots

By Caroline Tanner
Medill Reports

 

WASHINGTON, DC — A content marketer for a D.C.-based tech company by day, Columbia Heights resident David Budimir, 26, has been producing “vlogs,” or video blogs, since he was a 12-year-old at Williamsburg Middle School in Arlington, Va.

Budimir and his roommate, Alex Druy, at their apartment in D.C. Photo courtesy of David Budimir’s Instagram-@dbudi.

“The first video he made was a promotional video that played at the beginning of our daily student news program,” said Alex Druy, 25, a consultant for the federal government and Budimir’s sixth-grade locker partner. “It was a re-make of the American [version of the] television show, “The Office,” and featured students running around doing banal things at school.”

Budimir was on to something, with a passion for video that predated social networking sites such as Facebook and YouTube. In addition to being the most popular digital site for sharing video content exclusively, YouTube is also the second-largest social networking site, behind Facebook. According to Pew, 63 percent of adult web users use YouTube.
Continue reading

From high school senior to politician, Josh Lafazan continues his political quest

By Caroline Tanner
Medill Reports

SYOSSET, N.Y.— On most days, at just 23 years old, Democratic Nassau County Legislative candidate Josh Lafazan is the youngest one in the room. It’s something that Lafazan is used to by now, since becoming one of the youngest elected officials in the history of New York State. In 2012, at 18, Lafazan was elected to the Syosset Central School Board of Education in Long Island, winning 82 percent of the vote.

Syosset, New York

Now he’s running for the 18th district legislative seat against Republican incumbent Donald N. MacKenzie, 39.

Take a look around his campaign headquarters in Syosset and you might call him a kid among kids. Though he’s certainly not the tallest one in the room, standing a few inches under 6 feet, he may be the oldest. On his campaign team, some interns are as young as 14, marking what is perhaps the most unique part of Lafazan’s campaign and his candidacy — the youth of it all. His campaign team consists of his 25-year-old campaign manager, Rob Silverstein, and about 40 interns, ranging in age from 14 to 21.
Continue reading