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The Stolen Childhood of Teenage Factory Workers

Immigrant teenagers who work overnight shifts in suburban factories dream of a better life for children they don’t yet have. So did the author’s father.

La niñez robada de obreros adolescentes

Inmigrantes menores de edad que hacen turnos nocturnos en fábricas suburbanas sueñan con una vida mejor para hijos que todavía no tienen. El padre de la autora hizo lo mismo.

The Questionable Line Items of Illinois’ COVID-19 Spending

We thought you should know more about how your taxpayer dollars are being spent. Use our look-up tool to examine COVID-19 spending in Illinois.

Illinois Will Start Sharing Data About COVID-19 Outbreaks in Schools

As educators and parents assess the risk of returning to the classroom, some felt frustrated by the lack of public data about COVID-19 in schools. After a ProPublica and Chicago Tribune investigation, the state will start publishing the data.

Your Guide to Voting in Illinois

Everything you need to know about local election deadlines, what the pandemic has changed and casting your ballot so it counts.

What’s It Like to Be a Contact Tracer? We Spoke With 3 to Find Out.

We wanted to know what life is like for the public health workers charged with limiting the spread of the coronavirus in Illinois. “A lot of people are initially in shock,” one said about making calls.

When Is a Meeting Not a Meeting and a Lawmaker Not a Lawmaker? When It’s Lori Lightfoot’s Chicago.

Chicago’s mayor held secretive calls with the City Council and claimed they weren't “public business.” We asked the state attorney general’s office to review whether she and the council violated the Open Meetings Act. Its ruling: Yes.

Mobilizing the National Guard Doesn’t Mean Your State Is Under Martial Law. Usually.

The idea of “calling in the National Guard” can mean different things in practice and perception. We spoke with a public information officer for the Illinois National Guard about rumors, reality and fear.

Hundreds of Children Are Stuck in Psychiatric Hospitals Each Year Despite the State’s Promises to Find Them Homes

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services promised to rescue children languishing in psychiatric hospitals for weeks and sometimes months beyond medical necessity. But the state hasn’t delivered and the problem has only gotten worse.

Trabajadoras temporales luchan contra supuesto acoso sexual y dicen que sufren represalias por hacerlo

El fiscal general de Illinois anunció que había alcanzado un acuerdo con la empresa que establece una supervisión independiente para proteger a las trabajadoras.

Temp Workers Fight Back Against Alleged Sexual Harassment and Say They Face Retaliation for Doing So

The Illinois attorney general announced that he reached a settlement with the company that calls for an independent monitor to protect the workers.

A Closer Look at the Public Art at Chicago Police Stations

After removing its Columbus statues, Chicago will reassess its collection of hundreds of public art pieces to better “reflect our values as Chicagoans.” So I asked artists to reflect on the work they made for the city’s police stations.

In Lori Lightfoot’s Chicago, Bridges Have Become Barricades

Mayor Lori Lightfoot has repeatedly ordered Chicago’s river bridges raised to keep people out of downtown. She said the move was to protect businesses and residents. But it is also a symbol of the city’s divisions.

Illinois Has Promised to “Infuse Love” in Its Juvenile Justice System, but What Will Actually Change?

A state plan that focuses on moving incarcerated children from prison-like settings to “dorm-like” regional residential centers is being described as a sea change.

4 Perspectives on the Christopher Columbus Statues

When Chicago removed two statues last week, it did so in the middle of the night without public announcement. What does that mean for communities invested in the decision making process?

What People Who Live in Mostly White Towns Need to Know About History

How can white people elevate stories of people of color? Are there ways residents of small towns can address structural racism? Here are more answers to your questions about sundown towns and a video of our event.

“I Can’t Breathe.” It Happens at Schools, Too.

Students in Illinois schools said “I can’t breathe” while being restrained at least 30 times over the time period we investigated, according to our analysis of the records. The practice of face-down restraint is still legal in Illinois.

The Nation’s First Reparations Package to Survivors of Police Torture Included a Public Memorial. Survivors Are Still Waiting.

Five years ago, Chicago approved historic reparations for survivors of torture under former police Cmdr. Jon Burge. The city promised to create a memorial. It hasn’t.

I’ve Reported on How Chicago’s Ticketing System Has Hurt Black Residents. Now, the Conversation About Reform Is Changing.

The killing of George Floyd by police has sparked a reexamination of other systems in this country that are also weighted against Black people. Ticketing is one of them.

Slavery Existed in Illinois, but Schools Don’t Always Teach That History

Schools often teach the Civil War in terms of “free states” and “slave states.” Illinois complicates those definitions. We spoke with a historian and high school teacher about slavery’s legacy in Illinois.

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