Chicago Students Learn the Art of Mariachi

By Katie Watkins At some Chicago public schools, students are learning the art of mariachi music. Officially founded in 2013, the Chicago Mariachi Project offers in-school and after school mariachi classes at several elementary, middle and high schools in the city. Students from across the Chicago area can also audition to be a part of […]

Taking the Plunge to Support Special Olympics

By Katie Watkins Thousands of Chicagoans jumped into Lake Michigan on Sunday morning for the 17th annual Polar Plunge, bearing the almost-freezing water to raise money for Special Olympics Chicago. The Polar Plunge kicked off at North Avenue beach about 10 a.m. with a small ceremony. Bagpipers from the Shannon Rovers Irish Pipe Band marched […]

Immigrant dinner series celebrates the food of different cultures

By Katie Watkins Lakeview restaurant Southport and Irving launched a new Unity in Diversity dinner series that features the traditional dishes of different ethnicities. Each month, a guest will be invited to share their favorite family recipes. Chef Berta Navarro kicked off the first dinner on February 23, cooking her grandmother’s recipes from Jalisco, Mexico. […]

Sanctuary restaurants provide ‘a place at the table for everyone’

By Katie Watkins Over the past several months, small yellow signs have been popping up in the windows of cafes, bars and restaurants across Chicago. Their red and black lettering carries a powerful message: “Sanctuary restaurant, a place at the table for everyone.” The signs are part of the national Sanctuary Restaurant movement, which seeks […]

Supporters inspired by Obama’s call to action

Audience Watches Obama

By Katie Watkins and Ritu Prasad Joyce Brown still vividly remembers celebrating with the crowd in Grant Park when America elected its first black President. “It was surreal. It was like a fairytale,” said Brown, 68, reminiscing as she watched McCormick Place empty slowly after President Barack Obama’s farewell address Tuesday night. Brown, a South […]