By Richard Steele, Bill Healy, and Sofi LaLonde
More than 70 foster children have found a home — and a father — at the house of this retired Chicago homicide detective.
Over the past 40 years, Gerald Hamilton has taken in more than 70 foster kids at his South Shore home. Everyone in the neighborhood calls it Hamilton House.
All kinds of young people have stayed with Hamilton: gay, straight, transgender, mothers with newborns, and kids with mental health issues. Many of those who’ve come to live with the former police officer have been in trouble with the law.
By: Griselda Flores and Sofi LaLonde
We spent a week in Puerto Rico in February reporting about life on the island nearly six months after Hurricane Maria, but found a story that is more complicated and nuanced. This audio diary-style piece features testimonials of three people with very different stories about why they stayed on the island during and after Hurricane Maria, and touches on post-hurricane life, emigration and the colonization of the island. We also asked them what it means to be Puerto Rican in this moment of transition and rebuilding.
Audio in Spanish; English translation available here: bit.ly/2HdlMty
Pictured above: Saybian Torres. Photos by Bill Healy.
Local Puerto Rican artist honors victims of Hurricane Maria with new art installation in Humboldt Park
By Sofi LaLonde
Puerto Rican artist Richard Santiago has found new meaning in his artwork in the months since Hurricane Maria. His latest piece will honor the victims of the hurricane with a pointed criticism of President Trump and the Puerto Rican government.
“After the hurricane, my work was never really the same,” said Santiago.
The piece, ““The Frailty of Strength & Viceversa,” debuted on Friday, May 4th, at the Boathouse Gallery in Humboldt Park.
Symposium on Puerto Rico at UIC helps build connections between Puerto Ricans in Chicago and on the island
By Sofi LaLonde
Puerto Ricans need to take control of their own future as the island continues to rebuild after Hurricane Maria, said Carmen Yulín Cruz, mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, in her keynote address at an all-day symposium at The University of Illinois at Chicago on Friday, April 20, exactly seven months after the storm hit the island.
The symposium featured three panels of activists, scholars, artists and filmmakers who discussed colonization, disaster capitalism, the Puerto Rican diaspora and grassroots rebuilding efforts. Yulín Cruz praised the emergency relief efforts of Chicago in the immediate aftermath of the hurricane, and said the relationship between Chicago’s Puerto Rican community and the island must remain strong.
By Sofi LaLonde & Griselda Flores
“I remember I couldn’t sleep the whole night and day, whatever it was, I don’t even remember like what time it hit and what time it ended. The whole moment is kind of blurry.”
When Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico on Sept. 20, Angie Rosa and her family of four hunkered down in their three-bedroom apartment in Puerta de Tierra, an up-and-coming neighborhood of Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, that is experiencing first signs of gentrification. Angie reinforced the apartment’s ocean-facing windows with tape while her husband, Richard, moved their art collection onto their bed and covered it with bed sheets and plastic shower curtains.
Text by Shelby Fleig, Hannah Wiley and Elizabeth Beyer. Audio by Sofi LaLonde and Griselda Flores.
An explosion and fire at the Monacillo power station in San Juan caused power outages across 10 municipalities late at night on Feb. 11, a reminder that even in areas where the grid has been fixed since Hurricane Maria, the island’s electric infrastructure is still precarious and troubled.
Where does your free speech end and everyone else's begin?
Episode 4 of the podcast 'One Book One Northwestern' by the The Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications and One Book One Northwestern. Reported and produced by Sofi LaLonde.
VOLUNTEERS OPEN THEIR HOMES TO THOSE TRAVELING TO CHICAGO FOR ABORTIONS
A blue state among red states in the Midwest, Illinois is often considered an “oasis” for reproductive health care when it comes to access to abortion. But even with less-restrictive abortion policies, clinics in the state are concentrated in Chicago, leaving gaps in access for women statewide, particularly in southern parts of the state.
WOmen in Southern Illinois must Travel Longer distances to abortion clinics
Women in southern Illinois are disadvantaged when seeking an abortion, according to data on distances to abortion clinics from the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive health research and policy group, published in early October.
Rollback of the birth control mandate, explained
After a summer of uncertainty over the future of the Affordable Care Act, the Trump administration on Oct. 6 rolled back an Obama-era regulation that required companies to provide coverage of contraceptive services in their employee health care plans.