All posts by valerienikolas2019

Puerto Rican superhero wrestles hurricanes and empowers her culture in comics

By Valerie Nikolas
Medill Reports

SAN JUAN – The typical comic book thriller culminates with a superhero fighting an evil villain. In Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez’s “La Borinqueña,” the title character fights not a mere villain but, rather, a hurricane.

An art director, designer, and most recently a graphic novelist, Miranda-Rodriguez created La Borinqueña, a female Afro-Boricua superhero who represents Puerto Rican culture and identity. His comics also address hurricanes and other environmental issues threatening the island.

“We live in an era where people are consumed by popular culture, and have more conversations around it than they do around the real world,” said Miranda-Rodriguez. “So I said, let me create a superhero, and use that as a vehicle to address real world issues—the problems affecting real people.”

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The battleground in suburbia: Illinois’s 6th Congressional District

By Valerie Nikolas
Medill Reports

The congressional race is tightening in Illinois’s 6th District as Democrats vie for control of the U.S. House of Representatives. Incumbent Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) is fighting to keep his seat against Democratic contender Sean Casten. If elected, this would be the clean energy executive’s first time holding public office.

With the midterm elections barely one week away, a New York Times poll from Oct. 26 shows Casten leading Roskam 45 to 44 percent, well within the margin of error. Casten’s victory is not certain, but this race is closer than any of Roskam’s previous six winning campaigns for Congress.

This race, which echoes battles in suburbs across the country, is one of the most closely watched nationwide. Democrats need a net gain of 23 seats to take control the House for the first time since 2011.

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With new storms surging, Puerto Ricans still feel lasting scars from Hurricane Maria

By Valerie Nikolas
Medill Reports

In the aftermath of Michael, the most catastrophic hurricane to hit the U.S. mainland in 26 years, Americans are still healing from the destruction a year ago in Puerto Rico. NASA reports that warmer ocean temperatures due to global warming are a factor in adding energy to hurricanes and maintaining the power they pack.

After Michael’s devastating wrath last week disaster workers and state and national resources are pouring in to restore power and homes for hundreds of thousands of people in the Florida panhandle. Looking at how Puerto Rico is still rebuilding after Hurricane Maria last year can give insight into the effort and toll of rebuilding communities and lives.

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