All posts by wanyingzhao2020

Amid COVID-19 pandemic, empty store shelves are showing people’s concerns

By Wanying Zhao
Medill Reports

Michelle Kwong stocked up more than usual during her regular grocery shopping trip for her family of four at the Freshmart in Chicago’s Chinatown.

She pushed two carts to the checkout counter — one full of snacks, vegetables, meat, and some frozen foods, and another one stuffed with three bags of rice and a case of Wang Lao Ji, a Chinese herbal tea drink.

“I’m not hoarding, but I did buy more than usual just because I’m afraid that they are going to run out if the virus comes down,” said Kwong in Mandarin.

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Bronzeville Boutique connects women with trendy Chinese fashion designs

By Wanying Zhao
Medill Reports

China, the world’s largest clothing manufacturer, is also taking a rapid lead in clothing design. At the Bronzeville Boutique on Chicago’s South Side, owner Treva Salaam discovered her favorite land of fashion is Guangzhou, China.

“I go to a lot of clothing shows. I go to major shows in Vegas, Los Angeles, and New York. And the faces I always see are Asian faces. So, why not go where I see the people come from?” Salaam said. She has been working in fashion retailing for three decades, but her trip to Guangzhou in October 2019 proved transformative — she finally got to witness and learn the whole making and trading process in person. Continue reading

Navy Pier’s Chinese New Year celebration brings a taste of ‘home’ to share with Chicago

By Wanying Zhao
Medill Reports

Ushering in the Year of the Rat from the Chinese zodiac, Chicago celebrated Chinese New Year with a grand gala of Chinese culture at Navy Pier.

Honoring one of the most important festivals in China, the Chinese community in Chicago enjoyed a taste of home while thousands of miles away and shared it with thousands of others. The Jan. 25 programming was presented by ComEd. Chinatown also hosted an annual parade and more celebrations  across the area feted the holiday.

Photo at top : Chicago’s Chinese New Year celebration incorporated music and dance performances, Kung fu show, arts, Chinese food and more. (Wanying Zhao/MEDILL) Video produced by Wanying Zhao/Medill; music  by Xia yu by Guifrog

Women’s March Chicago 2020 speaks for everyone

By Wanying Zhao
Medill Reports

Chicago’s annual Women’s March proved that the march reaches far beyond women’s issues and women marchers.

This year, thousands of men, women and children gathered in downtown Chicago and marched their way from Grant Park to Federal Plaza at Clark and Adams streets. Then part of the crowd continued on to Trump Tower.

The cold and drizzle did not stop the crowd from connecting and chanting out their messages. And, what is worth noticing is that people with signs concerning Donald Trump led the troop at the forefront, focusing on immigration, intolerance and climate change.

At a sign-making event two days before the march, Kelly Jameson of Keeper Designs planned on making three signs – “Climate Justice,” “No more lies,” and “All roads lead to oil.” She has always been an activist on social issues, but “right now it’s really complicated, with Iran and so much shit going on. How can anybody deal with it?” said Jameson.

Jameson has been deciding what to put on the signs for quite some time, and she kept her notes whenever words popped up in mind. “Lies came up here a lot,” she said.

Diana Rodriguez is a brewer at Goose Island brewery. She works as hard as everybody else in the team but, in a male-dominated workplace, her words are not always taken seriously, she said. “A lot of times, people would ask questions and I would answer them. But then they would look at a guy to reassure him. They just wouldn’t trust my information so much as they would trust men,” she said. “Why wouldn’t anybody believe what I’m saying?”

This year, she made a sign reads “Women of the house” to support women empowerment in the White House, the brewery house and private households.

This was the first time that Laura Perez participated in the Women’s March.

“Seeing so many people sharing your ideas and what you fight for, it made you feel like you’re not alone,” said Loyola University student Laura Perez.

Perez, who is from Colombia, is a student at Loyola University. Her hometown – Bogota, Colombia — has elected a female mayor for the first time in history. “The revolution would be feminist,” said Perez, and she remains hopeful about conquering gender inequality in Colombia in the future.

With the Chicago Women in Trade’s drumbeat setting the pace, joy and excitement filled the two hours of marching.  All kinds of signs moved like a floating newsreel of issues for 2020.

“It’s gonna be a crazy year,” said Cate Prather, a student from Notre Dame University. “People who are running right now I really don’t know.”

Photo at top: The 2020 Women’s March brought thousands of marchers to downtown Chicago and cities across the country. (Photos for this story: Wanying Zhao/MEDILL)