Our neighborhood pick: West Humboldt Park

West Humboldt Park is a working class community with a rich Puerto Rican heritage — although demographics are shifting as gentrification creeps westward. Take a walk through the neighborhood and you will find a thriving arts community, residents who are engaged in anti-violence efforts and longtime business owners who hope things don’t change too much.

Our neighborhood pick: Austin

From barbershops to churches to sprawling mansions, the Austin neighborhood on the city’s West Side is home to many establishments with a long history and residents who are eager to maintain and revitalize the community.

12 jobs you can’t get with a felony

People with criminal records are advised to move on with their lives after they have been punished for breaking the law. But it’s not easy. In Illinois, more than 100 jobs are off limits to those convicted of a felony.

Teachers rally for missing Mexican students

Worldwide protests over the disappearance of more than three dozen Mexican college students spread to Chicago on Wednesday. 
A group of about 40 teachers—members of the Chicago Teachers Union and CTU Latino Caucus—gathered outside of the Mexican consulate to demand that more be done to find the missing students and punish those responsible for taking them away from their school two weeks ago. The 43 missing students attended a rural teaching college in Ayotzinapa, in the southern state of Guerrero. 
The group delivered a letter to the consul general, asking for the safe return of the students and demanding that the government go after those responsible. 
“We will continue to be vigilant about the circumstances surrounding the students and teachers in Mexico, and will continue to fight to defend public education and the human and political rights of all citizens,” the letter said. 
Demonstrations at consulates in the U.S. and Europe were planned to coincide with a national protest in Mexico. Some of the biggest protests in Mexico have occurred in Chilpancingo, just 20 minutes from where the students were taken. In Mexico City, about 10,000 people took to the streets. Shortly after the students disappeared, however, a mass grave was found containing 28 bodies.

Fast-food workers strike for $15 minimum wage

Hundreds gathered outside the McDonald’s in Chatham this morning to strike for a $15 minimum wage. Members of various groups including Action Now, Arise Chicago, and Chicago Jobs with Justice, came to support the Fight for 15 campaign. More than a dozen were peacefully arrested after blockading 87th Street. [Photos by Michelle Kanaar]

Youth Empowerment Performance Project debuts ‘FACES’

Members of the Youth Empowerment Performance Project (YEPP) debut an original work called “FACES” at the Free Street Theatre on Thursday, June 12. The goal of YEPP is to provide a safe environment for homeless LGBTQ youth to explore their stories and celebrate their empowerment through the process of creating a performance piece. Their latest show looks at the different faces that society attributes to the ensemble members, juxtaposed with the faces they strive to present for themselves. To read a Q & A with Executive Artistic Director Bonsai Bermudez click here.

Chicago aldermen cited, join activists in immigration reform protest

Aldermen Joe Moreno (1st), Danny Solis (25th) and Rey Colon (35th) were among 37 protesters issued citations for trespassing during an immigration reform protest in downtown Chicago on Thursday, WBBM reported. The aldermen had joined others in a sit-in, which was preceded by a march and rally, at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office. The demonstration featured speeches by U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez and immigration activist Elvira Arellano, who re-entered the country from Mexico last week. As an immigration reform bill sits stalled in the House of Representatives, lawmakers and activists are calling on President Obama to use the power of executive order and slow the rate of deportations, especially ones that involve non-criminals or would split up families. Arellano re-entered the country last week, with her two sons, as part of the Bring Them Home Campaign and is seeking political asylum.