Q&A: Roseland schoolteacher aims to revitalize her neighborhood one book at a time

By Elisa Xu Medill Reports Iesha Malone, a teacher at Chicane Collegiate Middle School in Roseland, decided to open her bookstore Rose Café to help fill the book desert in Roseland — the Far South Side neighborhood where she was born and raised. She operates as an online bookseller, also hosting pop-up events in the […]

Filipina-owned clothing brand invests in Chicago communities

By Elisa Xu Medill Reports Megan Banias, a 30-year-old from Chicago’s Brickyard/Belmont Cragin neighborhood, started her online clothing company, Chicago for Keeps, during the summer of 2020. The racial reckoning that began that summer — sparked by the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor,  Ahmaud Arbery and others in encounters with police — made her […]

Chicago tea company founder highlights stories of tea farmers

By Elisa Xu Medill Reports Annie Xiang makes her online Chicago-based tea business about more than selling single-origin loose-leaf tea to customers. It’s about amplifying the stories of the Chinese farmers who cultivate tea and humanizing them in the process. “It meshes my (passions for) community building and cultivating empathy really well,” Xiang said. “I […]