General Interest

Black girls perceived, often treated as older and less innocent, study finds

By Giulia Petroni
Medill Reports

In the summer of 2012, a 15-year-old black girl was arrested by police for using her student MetroCard in Harlem, New York. Officers questioned her age – they thought she was too old to use a card valid only for youths under 19 – and kept her in costudy until they got her birth certificate.

After being treated at a hospital for the damage caused by handcuffs on her wrists, Alexis Sumpter said she would have never gone to the same station again.

African-American females are perceived less innocent and more adult-like than white females, reveals the report “Girlhood Interrupted: The Erasure of Black Girls’ Childhood” published last year by the Georgetown Law Center on Poverty and Inequality.

“This is the evidence of what we call adultification,” said Thalia Gonzales, professor at Occidental College and co-author of the research.

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Coach Niraj Patel readying his team to take on the upcoming season

By Annanya
Medill Reports

The Naperville Baseball Academy, always a home for one of America’s favorite sports, has a growing second life as a cricket center for Chicago United, one of the major  area clubs.

Coach Niraj Patel is readying his team to take on the upcoming season if games against other clubs in the region.

Patel, who represented Rajasthan Royals when they won the inaugural Indian Premier League in 2008, now permanently lives in Chicago.

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Dom and Tom: twins’ $11-million firm is still friends and family

By Alexa Adler
Medill Reports

Dominic and Tom Tancredi, the twin brothers who co-founded Dom and Tom, a privately-owned, nine-year old digital product development company with offices in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, believe the “secret sauce” behind their company’s success is working with friends and family, because they are “people who trust you” and whom you can trust.

Armed with this philosophy, the Tancredi brothers have grown company revenues from $4.13 million in 2013 to $11.87 million in 2017 and almost doubled the number of employees over the same period from 34 to 66.

While their basic business model of receiving “dollars for expertise and services” is “thousands of years old,” according to Tom Tancredi, their close-knit staff has proved adaptable in providing the corporate clients they serve with a menu of products and services that has evolved over time, beginning with their core expertise of “web services and development on an engineering level, to project design, development, ownership, quality assurance, project management and visual project development from inception to completion.”

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Your Senator Filled Out An NCAA Bracket – You’ll Never Guess Who They Picked

By Brian Baker
Medill Reports

Shortly before the NCAA Tournament tipped off last Thursday, Virginia U.S. Senator Mark Warner sent a tweet that included a picture of his bracket. “Just filled out my #MarchMadness bracket. @UVA’s going all the way,” it read. The University of Virginia did not go all the way.

Millions of Americans participated in the annual ritual of filling out a bracket for the NCAA Tournament last week. By the weekend, many were ripping them up.

On ESPN’s website alone, 17.3 million brackets were submitted. The reasoning behind selections can vary from school mascots to favorite team colors. For politicians, who are increasingly joining in on the bracket fun, the rationale seems clear: pick the school from your home state.

Senator John McCain, from Arizona, picked the University of Arizona. Former President George H.W. Bush, who lives in Texas, picked Texas A&M. Indiana Senator Todd Young picked Purdue University. Nevada Senator Catherine Cortez Masto picked Nevada.

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Twitch gamers hope new community guidelines will combat online harassment

By Jourdan Kerl
Medill Reports

The live streaming video platform Twitch improved online security this March to protect professional and amateur streamers from harassment and hate speech that have plagued some users.

Twitch, a subsidiary of, updated the Community Guidelines to reflect how important community of streamers is to the platform to combat the issues surrounding hateful conduct. A statement released in February gave users a better idea of what would take effect in March.

“Conduct we deem to be hateful will result in an immediate indefinite suspension. Hate simply has no place in the Twitch community,” the statement stated. “Our goal is to ensure Twitch is a place where everyone feels welcome and we will continue to listen to you as we grow and adapt these policies as needed.”

Chicago streamers Tanya DePass, Brandon Stennis and Dennis White, Jr. share their thoughts on the new Community Guidelines in the video.

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Election night dims early for State Sen. Daniel Biss

By Elizabeth Beyer
Medill Reports

The crowd of roughly 350 staffers, volunteers and supporters of State Sen. Daniel Biss (9th) shifted from joyful to somber in just two hours after the polls closed across Illinois earlier this evening.

Billionaire businessman J.B. Pritzker won the Democratic gubernatorial primary race with more than 45 percent of the vote, nearly matching the 50 percent vote count that Biss and Chris Kennedy captured combined.

A supporter of State Sen. Daniel Biss listens as he delivers his concession speech on election night.

Biss shot ahead shortly after polls closed with less than 1 percent of the precincts reporting, but the race quickly turned in favor of Pritzker. The State Senator lost both the gubernatorial primary and his current senate seat this evening. His senate seat was up for re-election this year and Biss was only able to enter one political contest.

But Biss, who ran as the “middle-class candidate” among the front-runners, offered hope and gratitude in his concession speech.

“In so many ways, what we did was a success. We saw a broken system here in Illinois, a system where big money and political machines have way too much power,” Biss said during his concession speech. “We knew the solution to that, more than any one policy, was to fight for our democracy.”

The crowd listens to State Sen. Daniel Biss’ concession speech following his defeat in the primary for the Illinois gubernatorial race.

Nora Handler, a 62-year-old campaign volunteer for Biss said the State Senator’s record of supporting policy issues for people with disabilities motivated her to join Get Out the Vote efforts in support of the candidate.

“I’ve seen him on the streets fighting for budget cut issues and wage issues for people who support people with disabilities, long before he ran for governor.” said Handler. The state senator and former University of Chicago math professor has held office in Illinois since 2011 .

The race heated up quickly between Biss and Pritzker, from the first televised forum when Pritzker called into question the State Senator’s voting record in support of Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan, to the last gubernatorial forum, where Biss called the billionaire’s campaign a fraud.

Pritzker is estimated to have spent nearly $70 million to win the primary. Wealthy businessman Chris Kennedy is the son of the late Senator Robert F. Kennedy.

[Photo at top: Illinois State Sen. Daniel Biss (9th) and gubernatorial primary candidate pauses for the applause before delivering his concession speech on election night. He was joined on stage by his running mate State Rep. Litesa Wallace (67th), his family, and supporters.]

West Side substance abusers find an oasis for free treatment

By Yunyi (Jessie) Liu
Medill Reports

Nichelle Groves hesitated for a while before entering the door near the intersection of Lake Street and Sacramento Boulevard. Since her insurance wouldn’t cover any more inpatient hospital care after a month, Groves followed a recommendation to the Above and Beyond Family Recovery Center, though she didn’t really believe she could get help here to overcome drug abuse.

Now, more the a year later, she knows she went to the right place.

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Pain management remains vexing in opioid epidemic

By Juliette Rocheleau
Medill Reports

When Hercules faced the Hydra of Lerna, he learned the hard way that cutting off one of its many heads would only result in two more growing in its place. As the U.S. attempts to battle its own Hydra in the form of the opioid abuse crisis, victory remains similarly elusive.

Though the opioid crisis has grown to encompass thousands of Americans struggling with heroin addiction, one root of the epidemic can be traced to the prevalence of highly addictive legal pharmacological substances. However, measures put in place to control the growing epidemic are having adverse affects on people struggling with pain management, and unconventional treatments are gaining more attention.

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Chinese festivals bring diverse students together at the Pretoria Chinese School

By Xiaozhang (Shaw) Wan
Medill Reports

The traditional Chinese drum team joins together students of diverse origins and is part of the celebration for Chinese festivals at the Pretoria Chinese School in South Africa.

As drumbeats rang in the Year of the Dog in February, the school came alive with a bang. Singing and dancing, students and staff dressed in colorful clothes to welcome the New Year.

Celebrating the Chinese New Year has been a tradition since the school was founded in 1934, when Chinese weren’t permitted into the regular schools in South Africa.

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Chinese students find love and community in the Werewolves Club

By Xiaozhang (Shaw) Wan
Medill Reports

Anqi Hu, a 27-year-old Chinese graduate student, didn’t expect to find the love of her life in the Chinese Werewolves Club at Northwestern University.

“If it were not for the club, we wouldn’t have met each other,” said Hu, in her 5th year as a mechanical engineering Ph.D. student.

Five couples have found their significant others in the club over the last year, according to Xin Xu, 26, president of the Werewolves Club and a 4th year PhD student in applied physics.

The club was officially established on the Valentine’s Day of 2017.
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