Chicago teens find confidants and confidence by putting pen to paper

By Elyse Samuels Chicago Public Library, along with several other sponsors, hosted Chi Teen Lit Fest in mid April. The first-ever event at the Harold Washington Library Center at Columbia College was planned by teenagers, who brainstormed and came up with a variety of workshops, panels and activities. The halls filled with teenagers discussing poetry, written narratives, […]

Chicago dancer and musician discovers her heritage one step at a time


By Elyse Samuels Lorena Iniguez started her artistic career in dance, carrying on her father’s love for Mexican folk dance. Iniguez now plays more than ten instruments and performs with the Grammy-nominated Mexican folk group, Sones de Mexico Ensemble. [vimeo 162582604 w=474]

Exploring a different kind of “Open Shop”


Article by Elyse Samuels Photo-slideshow by Elyse Samuels The mixed aroma of bike grease, wine and a leftover burrito fill the air as seven women work in a small bicycle shop covered with posters of bike parts, bumper stickers and such slogans as “believe in coexistence.” Light laughter and grumbles of focused concentration fill the […]

Women take biking into their own hands


By Elyse Samuels In 2012, four women bicyclists banded together out of frustration over the lack of women in the biking community in Chicago. Through their initiative and passion they created Women Bike Chicago, an organization that supports women in their biking endeavors. “We want female cyclists to feel like they have a voice,” said […]

New WINGS Metro women’s shelter opens on Southwest Side


Text by Elyse Samuels Audio by Jenny Lee “To have something that can save other women’s lives,” Amanda Sexton said referring to her mother’s death, “that really means a lot to us.” Amanda’s mother, Brenda Sexton, was a Chicago police officer in the 9th Police District. She died at the hands of her abusive boyfriend […]

Salon Professionals go beyond beautification


By Elyse Samuels According to a 2010 Center for Disease Control and Prevention Summary Report, “1 in 3 women and 1 in 7 men experience violence by their partners in their lifetimes.” That is why the Chicago City Council’s Public Safety Committee organized a hearing last fall introducing a new bill that will require training […]

Fighting Domestic Violence with Perpetrator Intervention

South Suburban Family Shelter

By Elyse Samuels Ten adults sit around a long rectangular table in a comfortable conference room with t-shirts adorning the walls proclaiming statement such as, “hands are for helping, healing, holding, not for hitting” or “everyone deserves a happy home, everyone deserves to smile.” For 20 hours over the course of three days this group […]