Editor and Publisher Susan Smith Richardson

For many with mental illness, it’s arrest, incarcerate, release, repeat

In March, Anthony Hill, an Air Force veteran who served in Afghanistan, was shot and killed by a police officer in suburban Atlanta. Neighbors called police when an unarmed Hill was seen wandering around his apartment complex naked. He had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Hill’s death is one example of a recent deadly encounter between police and people living with mental illness. Shootings in Dallas and Milwaukee also have made national news and sparked calls for better police training.

Editor and Publisher Susan Smith Richardson

The promise and peril of mixed-income housing

Almost 20 years ago, a wrecking ball leveled a 14-story high-rise at the Henry Horner Homes on the city’s Near West Side. What has happened since then is both amazing and disturbing. Horner, a public housing development, became Westhaven Park, a mixed-income community of market-rate renters, homeowners and former Horner residents. The transformation from Horner to Westhaven was a bold leap to create a better environment for public housing residents who had complained of everything from roaches to gangs to unlit stairwells. In many ways, life is better.

Ian Haney- López, a constitutional law scholar, discusses his new book, “Dog Whistle Politics,” at the University of Chicago in November 2014.

Talking in codes

Ian Haney-López, a professor at the University of California at Berkeley and a leading scholar of critical race theory, talks with Editor and Publisher Susan Smith Richardson about his new book, “Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class.”

Mayor Rahm Emanuel

In Chicago’s black community, a broken ladder to opportunity

Schools and jobs are the hottest issues in the upcoming mayoral race. So it seemed a logical fit for The Chicago Reporter and Catalyst Chicago to collaborate on a  joint publication about a February election that is actually shaping up to be about one big issue: opportunity. Access to quality public education is at the center of the American success story and a lynchpin of the civil rights agenda. With a good education, any child, irrespective of race or class, can potentially climb to the top rung of the economic ladder. Or so goes the narrative.

Children warm up for football practice at Kells Park, which is one of 14 parks in the Humboldt Park neighborhood that doesn’t have a field house. [Photo by Michelle Kanaar]

Inequity in park access lingers

We don’t typically associate parks with social issues like race and class. But race and class matter when it comes to parks and recreation. Longtime Chicagoans will remember the campaign in the early 1960s to integrate Rainbow Beach in the then white neighborhood of South Shore—one of many examples of the color lines around Chicago’s public spaces. Parks are where we relax, grill, exercise, walk the dog and watch our kids play sports. What can be more universal than that?