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In light of the ongoing protests around the police shooting death of Laquan McDonald, Medill reporters covered stories of activism. From environmental activism on Chicago’s Southside, to student protests led by Northwestern University Football players in 1980 and Chicago’s public high school students, Chicago is alive with activism.
By Shane Monaghan
Thirty-five years ago, in the basement of football player Ben Butler’s house on the South Side of Chicago, a plan was cemented to address how African-American athletes were treated at Northwestern University.
In a place that for many of them had become a home away from home and with all but one African-American member of the football team there, Black Athletes United For the Light (BAUL) was born. Continue reading
By Arionne Nettles
A marathon is not standard therapy after trauma, but Karli Butler used a 26.2-mile run as just that. After surviving not one but two horrific attacks, Karli decided that the best way to deal with her scars — the ones that no one else could see — was to run the Chicago marathon. Arionne Nettles tells the story.
By Amanda Koehn and Kevin Stark
On November 16th, a dozen activists sat down on a cold, asphalt road blocking trucks from entering an industrial shipping area. They were parents, teachers, and even an alderman. And they were there to protest petcoke— a byproduct of oil refineries that community members say diminishes air quality and causes health concerns like asthma.
Activists in Chicago and around the country are taking action on both local issues like petcoke and major global environmental issues, especially in light of the Paris climate talks. But are their messages as effective as they could be? To what extent should scientists join in?
By Kelan Lyons
Before this school year, Denise Hernandez was quiet and reserved. Despite competing on her school’s water polo and swimming teams, and being the head coordinator of the robotic team, she wasn’t one to speak out or do anything that could affect her schoolwork.
This year is different.
“I recently realized I had to put my own things aside in order to speak up, and become something that’s bigger than me,” said the 17-year old junior from Robert Lindblom Math & Science Academy in Englewood.
Hernandez is one of the student organizers galvanizing Chicago Public Schools students from across the city to stand up and oppose the district’s budget cuts. Under the leadership of Matthew Mata, a senior from the prestigious Walter Payton College Prep, CPS students from a wide range of neighborhoods have joined together for three protests and rallies in the Loop. Continue reading