“I’ll try my best”: Congolese refugees rebuild

By Emilie Syberg Last month in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a widely circulated video appeared to show Congolese government soldiers killing unarmed civilians. The U.N High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, denounced the attack and others like it in the DRC, referring to “massive human rights violations”. Refugees from the areas […]

Bringing seeds to life at Plant Chicago

By Emilie Syberg At Plant Chicago’s recent Saturday farmer’s market, local organic recycling plant Nature’s Little Recyclers hosted a seed swap. Market attendees, who came to enjoy a craft beer from Whiner Brewery and pick up some vegetables for the week ahead, lingered over seed packets ranging from squash to marigolds. Ed Hubbard, the founder […]

African refugees seek a new life in South Africa

By Emilie Syberg South Africans live, work, and study alongside refugees and migrants from Somalia to Mozambique, drawn by the promise of a better life. But xenophobia has frequently made its presence known, most recently at an anti-immigrant march last month in Pretoria, South Africa’s capital city. Emilie Syberg talked to refugees and migrants in […]

“One day at a time”: a journey through addiction

By Emilie Syberg Alcoholism can create chaos, loss, and even despair. Many battle the addiction up to the breaking point before finding the way out. Overcoming alcoholism, however, can lead to a singular grace, a new life, and a more profound understanding of self. On a recent Chicago morning, Paul talked about his past, present, […]

Potential NEA cuts impact Chicago arts organizations

By Emilie Syberg “If you could change one thing about your life, what would it be?” Abby Harris-Ridker, a book club leader for Literature for All of Us, posed that question to a small group of high school students at their weekly Tuesday meeting at an alternative school in Humboldt Park. The book club members—all […]

‘Refugees are welcome here’: Chicagoans protest immigration ban at O’Hare

By Katie Watkins and Emilie Syberg After President Donald Trump signed an executive order last week banning travel to the United States from seven largely Muslim countries, public reaction was swift and vocal. Chicagoans gathered both Saturday and Sunday night at O’Hare’s international terminal to protest, some offering their services as lawyers to those affected […]

Meditating on addiction

By Emilie Syberg Three people interviewed for this story requested that their last names be withheld to protect their privacy. A group of strangers slowly fill a small room in the basement of the Shambhala Center in the West Loop on a Sunday. A few use folding chairs to seat themselves, but most sit on […]