All posts by rebekahfrumkin

What price statehood? For some Puerto Ricans, a loss of independence

By Rebekah Frumkin and Hannah Rank

LA PERLA, Puerto Rico — It’s a sunny February morning in La Perla, a low-income neighborhood beside Old San Juan’s northern city wall. Lifelong resident Lourdes López-Rivera stands on a beachside cliff, considering the Caribbean’s cyan expanse.

“They keep talking about development here,” she says, shaking her head. “Then we’ll have to move.”

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For Englewood seniors, the struggle is real but so are the friendships

by Rebekah Frumkin and Carlos D. Williamson

For Roger Shannon, finding an affordable place to live was never a problem. His job as a social worker allowed him to live modestly but comfortably. When he first moved into senior citizen community housing 12 years ago, he continued to work, and paid for rent and food without difficulty. But after his retirement last year, he was forced to tighten his budget.

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At clubs like Stone Park’s Playpen, sex work no fun and games

By Rebekah Frumkin and Jenny Lee

To an observer, it looks like a slow night at The Playpen in Stone Park: A few customers linger around the bar while two more play a leisurely game of pool. But for 26-year-old Naperville native Natalie Escobar, it’s a night to make money.

“It’s good to have customers and clients who are regulars,” Escobar says. “They’re my bread and butter.”

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Artist aims for radical visibility with new clothing line for queer people with disabilities

By Rebekah Frumkin

Sky Cubacub, who uses the personal pronoun “they,” runs excitedly around this Lakeview studio, retrieving various chainmaille garments in the process. The bounty includes a chainmaille vest, a halter dress and bands of “metamaille,” or chainmaille that has itself been woven into a chainmaille pattern.

“I’m super drawn to chainmaille because of its texture, and the way it moves,” Cubacub says, smiling. “It’s like: kinetics!”

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Englewood comeback proves ingenuity is homegrown

By Rebekah Frumkin

With Englewood set to welcome a Whole Foods on 63rd and Halsted and an adjacent Starbucks this year, the South Side neighborhood is battling stereotypes that it’s an unlikely choice for expansion.

“It was almost a national joke, Whole Foods coming into Englewood,” says Jim Harbin, program director at the Greater Englewood Community Development Corporation. “That really stunned some people, initially.”

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White privilege is real, Black Lives Matter founders tell Loyola crowd

By Rebekah Frumkin and Carlos D. Williamson

It’s wrong for people to say all lives matter when certain races clearly have an advantage, said Black Lives Matter founder Alicia Garza during a celebration in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Wednesday at Loyola University.

“What we’re trying to shift here is a paradigm, where the experiences of white folks are used to control how everybody else should live,” Garza said.
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ADA at 25: Chicago sees uptick in arts and cultural accessibility for people with disabilities

By Rebekah Frumkin

Jonathan Sondergeld pauses in front of Andy Warhol’s “Twelve Jackies” in The Art Institute’s modern and contemporary art gallery so his tour group can catch up with him. After a quick conversation in American Sign Language (ASL) with his fellow tour guide, he turns to the assembled.

“Can everyone see me?” he signs.

Some nod, others sign back, “Yes.”
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Empowered Fe Fes gives young women sense of disability pride and community

By Rebekah Frumkin

At 21, Alexis Smith already has the résumé of someone twice her age. She’s a poet, memoirist and activist working on a short film about inclusivity for people with disabilities. She also has spastic quadriplegia cerebral palsy, for which she uses crutches 90 percent of the time and a power wheelchair the remaining 10 percent.

“Every time we talk about ourselves as being disabled, we’re not looking for sympathy,” Smith says. “There’s nothing to be sympathetic about.”
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Uptown homeless endure cold in tent city

By Rebekah Frumkin

Chicago’s homeless struggle to survive the bitter cold in tents. Medill reporter Rebekah Frumkin spent time talking with residents of the Uptown Tent City, an encampment under Lake Shore Drive where 20 of Chicago’s roughly 125,000 homeless live.

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