CHICAGO -- There's a lot of fear in the Latino community right now of being targeted by someone with a grudge against immigrants.
But attributing the unease to the recent shootings in El Paso, which specifically targeted Mexicans, overlooks the relentless struggle of being nonwhite in America. And the tension ratcheted up after Donald Trump ...Read more
CHICAGO -- The last time I saw Sil Ganzó, she was beaming as she gave a tour of her after-school care facility for newly arrived immigrant and refugee children.
Based on her enthusiasm, you'd have thought the tiny, two-room storefront for the elementary-school students had the grandeur of Google's headquarters. But, as I recall, it had few ...Read more
CHICAGO -- The massive immigration-reform marches of 2006 started as a response to, among many other things, pending legislation that would have made unlawfully present immigrants into felons.
The marches helped squash the legislation, which was known as the Border Protection, Anti-terrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005. But the...Read more
CHICAGO -- If you know a teen -- a relative, a family friend or even just the kid behind the counter at your local pizza joint -- give them a gift today: Look them straight in the eye and assure them that everything is going to be OK.
It's the time of year when tensions are especially high for older children. Recent high school graduates might ...Read more
CHICAGO -- As I type, my 17-year-old son is online with his friends playing a game called "Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege." It's your standard shoot-'em-up game with tough military types in black tactical gear with powerful guns. Quiet, hyper-realistic situations ratchet up the tension, my son tells me. I hear the occasional screams emanating ...Read more
CHICAGO -- A decade ago, reporting on the immigration beat meant following dour -- but manageable -- story lines: legislative efforts at comprehensive reform, the occasional high-profile ICE raid, a mom taking sanctuary at a church.
Today's reporting on immigration requires a sustained focus to understand what is happening on a day-to-day basis...Read more
CHICAGO -- July was National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month and, well, to be honest, I had no idea.
What's worse is that the annual campaign started all the way back in 2008, when Congress passed a resolution to improve access to mental health treatment and promote public awareness of mental illness, specifically among people of color. ...Read more
PORTLAND, Ore. -- What do children with leukemia, trees in deforested regions of the world, and kids in the remote rural communities of Nepal and Kathmandu have in common?
They all have very young benefactors who eat, breathe and sleep playing cards -- and who care deeply about making the world a better place.
These dudes who champion such a ...Read more
CHICAGO -- People of color know Nancy Pelosi.
She's every executive who hired them because their "unique" viewpoint was sorely needed at her organization, but then ignored every new suggestion.
She's every mentor at a new workplace who suggested that it would be best to learn how things were done and try not to rock the boat.
She's every ...Read more
CHICAGO -- It won't work.
President Trump can ask U.S.-born citizens to go "back home," and he can insult immigrants who have lived here productively for years in the hopes that they, too, will disappear from his sight. He can send out his militarized immigration force to round up people who look like they could be deported.
But he cannot will...Read more
CHICAGO -- The Trump administration uses a wide variety of methods to suppress civil liberties. Some are out in the open, such as threatening mass deportations, holding migrant children in cages and flouting the Supreme Court's decision to not include a question about citizenship on the upcoming census.
Then there are the more insidious ...Read more
CHICAGO -- To those of us who have been following reports of the inhumane ways immigrants have been treated along the southern border, it comes as no shock that there's a Facebook group in which U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents made puerile jokes about the deaths of migrants, suggested how to humiliate Latino members of Congress ...Read more
CHICAGO -- It's not about the photograph.
The horrifying image of Oscar Alberto Martinez Ramirez intertwined with his 23-month-old daughter, Valeria -- both dead after drowning while trying to cross the brackish Rio Grande to seek asylum in this country -- has spurred global outrage.
Politicians took to Twitter to express alarm and shock. Pope...Read more
BRODHEAD, Wisc. -- This week I've tooled around the south-central Wisconsin towns of Orfordville, Monroe, Footville and Oregon, shopping at the Piggly Wiggly and Blain's Farm and Fleet, eating burgers at the North Side Pub and Grill and taking in a Beloit Snappers minor-league baseball game.
Being in the country is beautiful, with tons of wide-...Read more
CHICAGO -- What's worse than a humanitarian crisis at the southern border that is eerily and despicably reminiscent of our forced internment of Japanese Americans during World War II?
That very few people know what's going on. And that even fewer care.
For many, the hazardously crowded conditions at southern-border detention centers, the ...Read more
CHICAGO -- Perhaps overlooked in all the colorful Pride Month celebrations of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning (LGBTQ) population is the toll that the difficult past and often-uncertain future take on the mental health of people who aren't straight.
To put it in perspective, 39% of LGBTQ youth seriously considered ...Read more
CHICAGO -- As a teacher who's been around to witness schools "go 1:1" -- meaning one laptop, iPad or Chromebook per student -- I can attest to the dystopian sight of classrooms full of young children with their eyes glued to glowing screens.
Those first weeks of the transition to technology are harrowing. I watch every moment that used to be ...Read more
CHICAGO -- What I like best about the new children's picture book "It Feels Good to Be Yourself: A Book About Gender Identity" is that there's no sad child who magically overcomes seemingly insurmountable odds to have a happy ending.
As a teacher for grades K-4, I read a lot of picture books with important messages about respect, understanding ...Read more
CHICAGO -- In the spring of 1995, I sat in a stuffy classroom studying "Literary History of England, from Beowulf to 1800," while overlooking Southern Illinois University's iconic Pulliam Clock Tower.
I was on the verge of boiling over. Somehow, the lone Hispanic (me) and the lone black person in the tiny class were engaged in a shouting match ...Read more
CHICAGO -- Why aren't I as sick and tired of Julián Castro as I was of Robert Francis "Beto" O'Rourke in March and as I am now of media-flavor-of-the-month, Pete Buttigieg?
I want to have Castro fatigue. I want to snark online about the glamour-shot treatment he got on the cover of whatever influential magazine the East Coast reveres most at ...Read more