Politics, Moderate



America's racial injustice didn't start with Trump

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

Immigrants don't need a handout -- but they do need a welcoming hand

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

Trump administration's hatred toward Hispanics just makes us stronger

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

What teens in today's America face

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

Violent video games don't cause shootings, but they do have social costs

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

Americans need to focus on the atrocities afflicting migrants at our border

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

Battling the stigma of mental illness

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

Changing the world -- one deck of cards at a time

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

Trump and Pelosi show us why women of color struggle to succeed

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

Trump can't stop America from offering a safe harbor to huddled masses

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

Trump administration's plan to expand ICE activities threatens communities

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

Our tax money is funding human rights violations

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

We need to take action to stop humanitarian crisis at our border

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

Democrats need to start listening to rural America

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

When it comes to immigrant crisis, actions speak louder than words

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

Take action to help lessen the toll on LGBTQ people -- like me -- who live in a straight world

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

Do computers in schools help kids learn? It's complicated.

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

Picture book offers clearer portrait of gender identity

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

Reparations will pave the way to justice for all

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

Why isn't Julián Castro getting the same media attention as the other candidates?

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


Social Connections


Lee Judge Nick Anderson Al Goodwyn Lisa Benson Andy Marlette Jimmy Margulies