All posts by areebashah2020

Hat enthusiast brings California fashion to Chicago

By Areeba Shah
Medill Reports

A year ago, when real-estate agent Aaron Malki was sitting in his Bucktown living room, he realized he wanted to create something.

When he noticed his Polo “dad hat” hanging from the back of his door, he knew exactly how to combine his passions for fashion and philanthropy.

In February, the 28-year-old launched Heart Hats, which reinvests about 7% of profits into Chicago’s youth organizations. His company produces dozens of toppers, from bucket hats to flat-brim designs, all ranging from $25 to $38.

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‘They murder our children, and we get no justice’

By Areeba Shah
Medill Reports

Ronald Johnson would have turned 30 this October.

But instead of celebrating his birthday, his mother, Dorothy Holmes, organized a communitywide discussion to commemorate those who lost their lives to “police violence.” Five years ago, a Chicago police officer fatally shot Ronald Johnson.

“Any mother who is alone in this struggle, don’t let anybody tell you that you’re going to be OK,” Holmes said. “No, you’re not. You’re going to have your good days and you’re going to have your bad days, and you let your good days outweigh your bad days because it hurts, and I don’t wish this pain on anybody.”

Since the death of her son, an avid animal lover known as “dog-man,” Holmes organized with mothers nationally to call attention to how law enforcement responds to issues in communities of color. Six mothers whose sons were fatally shot by police joined her to share their stories in a roundtable discussion with community members Oct. 11 at the University of Chicago.

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After-words bookstore owner shares how she got started

By Areeba Shah
Medill Reports

Beverly Dvorkin, owner of After-words in River North, discovered her love for stories as a toddler. At 15, she got her first job at a bookstore and edited her high school newspaper. She spent a semester abroad in London during college and wrote for City Limits, a feminist magazine.

After living in Boston, Washington, D.C., and London, Dvorkin returned to Chicago at 25 to fulfill her dream of opening her very own bookstore in May of 1997.  Over two decades later, After-words remains one of the few independent bookstores left in Chicago.

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