Queer fashion makes its way into the mainstream fashion market

By Thomas Ilalaole
Medill Reports

On this episode of Medill Newsmakers we take a closer look at the phenomenon that is queer fashion. Queer Fashion is fashion that exists outside the binary of fashion – it is simply fluid. Throughout history queer fashion has always had a narrative and perspective that challenges gender norms and colors outside the lines.

What’s your fashion narrative and how does it influence your gender expression?

Photo at top: Stevie Boi NØIR” Fashion Show for Bahamas Fashion Week. (Vernique Henfield/Director of Public Relations & Social Media)

Student activism around gun violence wanes in Chicago

By Shannon Longworth
Medill Reports

On this episode of Medill Newsmakers, we look at the state of youth activism in Chicago.

A little over a year after the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, the activism among young people has decreased in Chicago.

Photo at top: Good Kids Mad City open mic event in Bronzeville. (Shannon Longworth/MEDILL)

Darting Ahead: Windy City Darters hopes to help grow the game in the USA

By Tim Hackett
Medill Newsmakers

The game of darts is changing. It’s grown into a worldwide spectator sport attracting thousands of fans, and the popularity of the sport is surging in Europe and in other parts of the world. But that surge has yet to really take hold here in the United States, where professional darts is an afterthought and amateur darts is uncommon.

But there are efforts to grow this sport across the country, and some of those efforts have roots right here in Chicago. In this episode of Medill Newsmakers, we clear up some confusion about the great game of darts, and introduce you to some players who are trying to bring this game into the forefront.

Game on.

Photo at top: Mark Gillespie lines up a throw in a Windy City Darters Open League match at The Garage on a Monday night in May.

Shaped by immigrant parents, Whitney Young senior lacrosse player aims to help her own

By Emma Goodson
Medill Reports

The clock stopped. Away 10, Home 9 hovered in yellow lights above the north end of Knute Rockne Stadium. But Nicole Chavez wasn’t ready for the game to end. She saw the ball bounce out of the net and swiftly scooped it up, running downfield before hearing the final whistle and feeling tears roll down her cheeks.

Blue and orange balloons danced in the wind as the Whitney Young lacrosse team accepted defeat to Lincoln Park on May 7. Chavez, 17, donned her Senior Night tiara as she walked across the field that had just betrayed her and toward her family who carried handmade posters and had ridden on four buses for this moment.

Her night wasn’t supposed to end in a loss, or even a double-overtime loss for that matter. But Nicole stopped caring about that once her teammates gathered around to celebrate the culmination of a high school lacrosse career that began only three years prior.

Continue reading

A Road to Revival: The state of Black baseball in Chicago

By Andre Toran
Medill Reports

The state of Black baseball is in major decline. From little league to high school to college to the major leagues – the picture surrounding black participation in the sport is bleak. In this segment of  Medill Newsmakers, Andre Toran examines the reason for the decline and possible solutions.

Rugby sport growing in Chicago area

Move over Bears, Bulls and Blackhawks! Make room for rugby. From Soldier Field hosting The Rugby Weekend to kids growing up with the game, Chicago is becoming a  rugby city.

Photo at top: A high-school rugby team huddling prior to walking onto the pitch for its state championship match in Berwyn, Ill. (Andre Toran/MEDILL).


Youth activists in Chicago push for action on both climate change and gun control

By Shannon Longworth
Medill Reports

Many of the same high school and college students who work to prevent gun violence in Chicago are also active on the issue of climate change.

Gun violence is a more easily-identifiable, immediate issue in some  communities, while climate change is more long-term and global. But they may not actually be all that different in the minds of these students. In fact, Chyann McQueen, an organizer for Good Kids Mad City, sees the two issues as closely related. They both disproportionately affect minority and low-income neighborhoods.

Continue reading

For pro softball players, it’s not about the paycheck: it’s the competition, camaraderie and love for the game

By Karleigh Stone
Medill Reports

Professional softball players make only a fraction of what major league baseball players do. The highest paid National Pro Fastpitch players cap out at around $20,000 per year, a mere four percent of the lowest-paid MLB player’s salary.

Though it’s a professional sport, the women playing can’t make a living from their paychecks. To pay their bills, many take on additional jobs — still in the softball sphere — like running camps and private lessons or as graduate assistants in college programs.

The instinct to compete, the camaraderie among teammates and a lifelong love for softball keep these women coming back season after season, despite the discrepancies in opportunity and pay.

In this video, we hear what the game means to some its top players.

Continue reading

Wing Tsun seminar brings America’s top master to fighters of all levels

By Stephanie Fox
Medill Reports

About 20 men and women gathered at the Wing Tsun Illinois studio in Glenview this weekend for a 2-day seminar focused on the precision accuracy and timing of the Southern Chinese-style of Kung Fu.

Illinois residents from Chicago to Peoria had the opportunity to train under Master Will Parker, the highest-ranking instructor of Wing Tsun in America.

Wing Tsun is a traditional form of self-defense which emphasizes  the technique of relaxed movement. This allows the defensive fighter to feel their opponent’s movements and use their energy against them. Continue reading

Success is a two-way street, you never know who will walk by

By Louis Ricard
Medill Reports

It’s 30 minutes before kickoff and a man walks onto the field, stepping on each little section of grass the rain severely damaged throughout the week. Wearing a hoodie, a pair of large rectangular sunglasses hiding his eyes and a trimmed beard, David Clancy’s face is as tough to read as a good poker player’s bluff.

He walks and stomps some more until he’s satisfied with the quality of the rugby pitch, finally turning toward his players warming up and with one blow of his whistle, the ball suddenly stops moving and all heads turn toward him, awaiting his command.

For the people walking by, Clancy, with his athletic build, looks like a player who is sitting the game out, his whistle the only difference.

But the 29-year-old Irishman is far more than a peer to his team.


The Chicago Lions never had a full-time coach until Clancy landed on U.S. soil. Somehow, this was the move he had been waiting for his entire career, the opportunity of painting his vision on a brand-new canvas. Continue reading