Advocates urge more mental health services for unaccompanied immigrant children

Unaccompanied minors face temporary displacement, language barriers and other challenges that can lead to anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and other serious mental health problems, according to research. Advocates say more services, such as talk therapy and support groups, are needed to help them deal with the stress and trauma they have experienced.

How President Obama’s immigration policy could affect Illinois

Critics said President Obama overstepped his power when he used his executive authority Thursday to provide deportation relief and temporary permission to work to up to 5 million undocumented immigrants. Others said the reforms did not go far enough. The Migration Policy Institute, based in Washington, D.C., estimates that nearly half of all undocumented immigrants in the U.S. could benefit from the executive actions. Nationwide up to 3.8 million undocumented immigrants will be newly eligible for deportation relief, according to the Pew Research Center. How will Obama’s executive order affect Illinois?

TCR Talks: Defending housing as a human right

Antonio Gutierrez wasn’t planning to be a housing activist. In 2012, he graduated from the Illinois Institute of Technology with a degree in architecture, but his status as an undocumented immigrant prevented him from working. He started organizing with immigrant groups, volunteering for two years with the Immigrant Youth Justice League and Organized Communities Against Deportations. Earlier this year, Gutierrez had a choice to make when he received a work permit. He could either follow his original dream of becoming an architect or continue with the organizing work he loved.

Art sparks dialogue about Cook County Jail

Maria Gaspar’s mother was a clown, and Gaspar would go with her when she performed at house parties. But being a clown was only one of her mother’s jobs. She also taught elementary school students in Little Village and hosted community radio shows about poetry and women’s health. She inspired Gaspar with her ability to make people happy and her devotion to mixing art and community in her work and life. As a teenager, Gaspar helped Chicago artists with their murals.

TCR Talks: Organizing women for peace

As a youth pastor about 20 years ago, Rev. Dr. Marcenia Richards was used to helping young people in the safe space of the Pentecostal church. But when she decided one day to confront a group of kids shouting at one another and on the verge of fighting outside her home, she knew she was no longer in that safe space. Still, when she found out that some of the kids had dropped out of school, she promised them that if they went back, she would take them to Disney World. They took her up on it, and she fulfilled her promise by taking them on the trip. “It was at that time I knew that there was more that was needed,” she said.

Nurturing black youth activism

Some of Charlene Carruthers’ strongest memories from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago are of visiting the public aid office with her mother. Caseworkers spoke condescendingly from a desk so high it was difficult to see over. The desk reinforced the feeling of being talked down to. “I just remember as a child being very conscious of the differences when it came to class and race and even gender,” she said. “But I didn’t have those words at the time.”

Years later, Carruthers entered Illinois Wesleyan University as a pre-med student, hoping to become a surgeon.