Sharing Syrian stories: local high schoolers interview refugees with StoryCorps

By Jay Bouchard When her college campus was bombed in 2011, Salam Abdulrazzak wanted to remain in Syria and protest the Assad regime’s unwarranted cruelty. But at her parents insistence, she reluctantly left in January 2012 and sought refuge in the United States. She thought her stay was temporary, but after more than four years […]

HourVoice: Workers’ rights smartphone app to launch in Chicago

By Jay Bouchard In an effort to empower and protect the rights of low-wage hourly workers, a first-of-its-kind mobile application is launching Monday in Chicago with the potential to increase global workplace transparency. Don Chartier, a retired business executive and first-time entrepreneur, spent the past year developing HourVoice. The smartphone application allows low-wage employees to […]

Flint Congressman talks water crisis with Illinois activists

By Jay Bouchard In the wake of Flint, Michigan’s water crisis, U.S Rep. Dan Kildee (D) is reaching out to Illinois in an effort to gain legislative support and brief his neighboring state on ways it can support Flint. Kildee, a Flint native, visited west suburban Lombard on Saturday to discuss ways local activists can […]

Federal agency, faith-based groups join to combat human trafficking in Chicago

By Jay Bouchard Recalling her years as a sex-trafficking victim in Chicago and Miami, Sam Wijeyakumar reflected that “if God had not been part of my healing process, I’d probably be dead.” Wijeyakumar, now an activist working to end human trafficking, offered her sobering testimony as part of a “clarion call” in which local faith […]

God is secondary in New Hampshire primary

By Jay Bouchard MANCHESTER, NH—Tom Rettberg reflects the historical nature of New Hampshire voters—a fickle electorate notoriously tough to impress. Standing in a crowded gymnasium waiting to hear Marco Rubio speak, Rettberg, an undecided voter from Weare, NH, described how he has spent months creating a comprehensive spreadsheet ranking each candidate in the Republican primary […]

Christianity on stage in Iowa: Jerry Falwell Jr. joins Trump for weekend rallies

By Jay Bouchard DAVENPORT, Iowa – In a final push before Monday night’s Iowa caucuses, Republican front-runner Donald Trump is rallying crowds with the help of one of the country’s most prominent evangelical Christian leaders. Jerry Falwell Jr., president of Virginia’s Liberty University,  is lending his name and reputation as the New York real estate […]

Evangelical Christians hold summit on refugee crisis

By Jay Bouchard While an unprecedented number of migrants seek refuge across the globe, evangelical leaders and activists are seeking to trigger a bold Christian response to the refugee crisis. “Will we be remembered for taking care of those in one of the greatest crises to ever happen, or will we be remembered for living […]

Mayor Emanuel joins Jewish, African American communities for MLK celebration

Text by Jay Bouchard Video by Brendan Hickey The Star of David, featured prominently in the windows and architecture of Stone Temple Baptist Church, illuminates a rich history between Jews and African Americans in Chicago. A former synagogue in North Lawndale, Stone Temple Baptist Church was host to a Martin Luther King Jr. Day event […]

City lawmakers join local activists to prevent immigration raids


By Jay Bouchard Chicago activists and city politicians are responding to the federal government’s increased deportation efforts by organizing community awareness campaigns and filing resolutions condemning raids on undocumented families. Several Chicago-area immigration rights organizations have hosted workshops and led door-knocking campaigns in an effort to educate undocumented immigrants about their rights in the instance […]