spring 2019 | home
Not Your Dumping Ground The East Side takes a stand
Behind Closed Doors A glimpse into the life of a recluse
Disconnecting in the Digital Age Could you do it?
Hashing it Out Reflections of a middle-class dealer
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SHOW US WHAT YOU CREATE!
Managing Editor Maria Maynez
Creative Directors Ashley King Adani Samat
Editorial Sharon Bloyd-Peshkin
Story Editors Maya Durfee Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Brien Camila Isopo Jade Sayson Copy Editing Chief Bailee Penski Research Editor Caroline Pejcinovic
Photo Editor Porter McLeod
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Web Designer Ben Hullinger
Web Editors Ariana Portalatin Alexa Rixon
Graphic Designers Adam Barkley Spencer McNabney Kamila Miekina
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Design Guy Villa, Jr.
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Letters from the Managing Editor
Home. It’s a four-letter word that we love and fear. It’s the source of our earliest memories and feelings. Home is a physical, emotional and mental place that we run to and away from. It’s not only a structure in a neighborhood, but also the foundation of our happiness, anger and despair.
The design of the Home issue of Echo sought a careful balance between unity and individual expression. Every home has a door, walls and windows, but it’s the person living in it who brings in their personal touches. The design of this issue is meant to emulate this principle.
The fifth themed issue of Echo invites readers to explore the concept of home in all its complexity. This magazine is filled with stories of joy and wonder, fights and bruises, and the beautiful things that we call home. It was created by students in the Journalism, Design and Photography programs at Columbia College Chicago, who worked to capture the essence of what home is for us and for others.
Just as every home must be built on a solid foundation, the underlying structure of our layout relies on a stable modular grid. By creating a flexible environment bound by a few simple rules, it allows every page to share some of the same DNA. Along the margins, you’ll also notice the page elements that provide stability to the design. Every page includes the same way-finding page elements.
These stories touch on the three principles of architecture: Firmatis (Durability), Utilitas (Utility) and Venustatis (Beauty). It was important to ask ourselves what made a story fall in its proposed section. Durability includes stories of those fighting to find a safe and stable representation of home. Utility is there to satisfy our readers’ hunger for new knowledge, some of it practical in nature. Beauty offers stories about things that comfort us: art, culture, fashion and food.
We also encourage you to take note of the icons in the top left margins. These icons were created as a way to abstractly represent the home we built within this issue. Functionally, they each represent the sections of the magazine: Durability, Utility and Beauty. The Durability mark represents a foundation or base to build upon. The Utility mark takes inspiration from the sturdy frame of a home that holds up the walls. Finally, the Beauty mark implies an organic and decorative architectural form. When combined together, they create one unified mark to symbolize “home.”
But just as each home is unique, each story is a complex structure that is not solely related to any one category. Together, they portray the complexity of home, and the victories and defeats people face on their road to home. Because, in the end, home means something different to everyone, and there truly is no place like home.
With our visual infrastructure in place and our graphic motifs dispersed throughout these articles, we hope that we’ve heightened your experience of reading this publication and wish that what resonated with us, visually and contextually, will be mirrored to you. In the end, we’ve establish a sense of home within this issue of Echo that will forever remind us of our time spent at Columbia College Chicago.
Sincerely, Echo Design Team
The Home Issue
10 I Survived...
18 The Road to Home
28 Rent Resisters
Can housing co-ops survive the tide of gentrification?
one week without my phone. Here’s what I learned
With stops along the way
20 Room to Grow 14 Behind the Screen
Navigating what’s real, what’s fake and whom you can trust online
15 The House that Weed Built
You aren’t a perfect roommate, either. Here’s how to get along better
Confessions of a middle-class pot dealer
30 Far from the Medicine Cabinet
Unusual prescriptions from cultural traditions
23 Where Should You Live?
32 Reaching Out
Choosing a neighborhood is hard. We’re here to help
On the street with The Night Ministry’s Youth Outreach Team
25 Creatures of Comfort
“Can I bring my emotional support lizard to class?”
38 Island of Memories Cuban emigrees, generations apart, share history and heritage
44 I am Here Now
54 Keepsakes How a group of Filipinx Sentimental objects artists created a collective provide connections to home places left behind
Alexa, What’s for dinner?
48 Sweet Home Chicago
How a century of household technology has (and hasn’t) changed women’s work
Songs that remind us of our city
51 Crafting Comfort Three DIY designers and their unique creations
56 Culinary Connections How recipes create con nections to family, culture and tradition
Portrait of a Recluse My neighbor traveled around the world, then withdrew into her own
76 Easing the Pain How one organization combats childhood trauma
80 Exiled The long and damaging history of shunning
78 Taste of Argentina 69 Despite Our Differences A corner store holds The stigmas and challenges its own in a changing of cross-cultural romances neighborhood
83 Dear East Side After decades of pollution, my neighborhood is fighting back
73 The Ripple Effect How substance abuse spreads damage far beyond the addict
79 Defining Chicagoans Long-timers weigh in on what makes a Chicagoan a Chicagoan
Art Behind Bars An organization provides inmates with a means of expression
The Home Issue
NEVER MISS AN UPDATE The Chronicle @CCChronicle ColumbiaChronicle.com
WE'RE NOT DORMS. SAFETY MARGINS WE'RE FLATS. .40(IN) ON ALL SIDES The Flats at East West has everything for your College Experience. With a full furniture package, PRINTERâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S utilities NOTE includedYellow and area is the hinge/score area of the book. This area will not be viewable spacious shared living live for when options, printed, therefore crossoverâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s need to be the experience, not just the classes. adjusted. This is the same adjustment for both the Tour The Flats and see for yourself. IFC/page 1 and the last page of the book, page 120 and the IBC.
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echo magazine | home
whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s inside I Survived
Where Should You Live?
Behind the Screen
Creatures of Comfort
The House that Weed Built
The Road to Home
Far from the Medicine Cabinet
Room to Grow
I Survived... one week without my phone; here's what I learned By Emma Jackson It's the last thing I look at before I go to sleep, and the first thing I see when I wake up. I use it as an alarm clock, to navigate, to communicate, to work out, to shop online, to buy groceries and to get paid. My life revolves around my iPhone — it’s what brings me joy and comfort. Yes, my phone brings me comfort. Just like the blankie I’ve slept with since I was a baby, my phone has to be next to me every night, too. My home screen, my home button, my social media apps— they make me feel good. However, I wanted to push my comfort boundaries and put myself to the test. I wanted to see if I could survive a week without my phone.
According to Apple’s screen time tracker, I spend an average of 4 hours and 11 minutes a day looking at my phone screen, and I pick up my phone an average of 143 times a day. By comparison, the average American consumer picks up their phone 52 times a day, according to Deloitte's 2018 Global Mobile Consumer Survey. The apps I spend the mosttime on are Instagram (7 hours and 7 minutes), Messages (3 hours and 47 minutes) and Snapchat (3 hours and 46 minutes) per week.
“It’s an object that gives us a lot of pleasure in the ways that it’s set up," says Mayte Morelos, a stress management coach and trainer at Unplugged Strategic Coaching, a company that teaches people how to rewire their bodies and minds to cope with stress.
Larry Rosen, Ph.D., a research psychologist at California State University in Dominguez Hills, who is recognized as an expert in the “psychology of technology,” compares our phones to an everything bagel: one object with everything on it. "It’s how you connect to people, and because of that, it’s comforting to know you can jump on Instagram and comment to somebody, you can snap somebody, you can text somebody," Rosen says. "There’s always somebody to reach somewhere.”
Preparing for my experiment When I told my friends I wasn't going to have my phone for a week, they were concerned. “Is that safe?" one asked. "I think you should at least carry your phone around with you at all times, just don’t use it,” suggested another. “Why don’t you just turn it on airplane mode?” asked another. I was most worried about not being able to use my phone as a navigation tool. I had an iPhone before I had my driver’s license, so I've always had the comfort of knowing where I was and how to get where I needed to go. My initial thought was, “Oh, no problem. I can just pull up the map before I get rid of my phone and screenshot the directions.” I forgot that no cellular data for a week also meant no phone at all.
Finally, at 6:30 a.m., I was awakened to the sound of a rainforest, but somehow I found myself still not fully believing it was 6:30 a.m. My computer said it was, the oven clock in my kitchen said it was, but I could not get myself to believe the time without seeing it on my phone. The rest of my day went pretty much as expected: complicated. I decided to walk instead of taking the bus because I didn't have my bus-tracker app. I couldn’t deposit the money I earned babysitting without my Venmo app. I tried to order an Uber from my computer, but couldn’t log in because I needed to enter the verification code that was texted to my phone. I went to bed hoping I would sleep better and trust that my computer would wake me up on time. But the worry seeped in and once again, I was up almost every hour checking the time. When I woke up the next morning, I had to check three different clocks and ask my roommate what time it was before I believed it.
The experiment The night before my experiment began, I realized that no iPhone meant no alarm clock. I hadn’t used an actual alarm clock since I was a freshman in high school, and at that point, I still had my parents to rely on if I didn’t wake up on time. Finding a new way to wake up turned out to be more complicated than I anticipated. I had to be up at 6:30 a.m. for a 7 a.m. workout class. I found an alarm app that I could download on my MacBook, but after doing more research, I realized I needed a “helper application” to keep the alarm on. I was so worried the alarm wouldn’t work that I was up almost every hour to check the time. The Home Issue
Rosen wasn't surprised by this. “We learn to rely on it for everything and it works consistently and we know that,” Rosen says. "People don’t use their laptops as much anymore, and people don’t use alarm clocks anymore.” After not sleeping for two nights, I sent a message to the rest of my Echo staff asking if anyone had an alarm clock I could borrow. Screw my computer’s alarm and its soothing but untrustworthy rainforest sounds. I needed a real alarm clock. I showed up to class and two classmates eagerly gave me their alarm clocks. I was feeling confident until 30 minutes later when one alarm went off in the middle of our editorial meeting. I stared at the clock, which was beeping louder and louder at me; I felt like I was holding a crying baby for the first time. When a classmate tried to explain how to make it stop, I threw it into her hands to turn off. With a little practice, I grew comfortable with the alarm clock. That night, I went to bed and set the alarm, and finally slept much better knowing it would wake me up.
I was doing this experiment during midterms week, so I didn't have much time to sit on my phone anyway. I was taking the train a lot more because I didn’t have the option to Uber. And on Wednesday night, when I met my friend at a Bulls game, I told her to meet me in a parking lot nearby. There was no chance I would find her in the United Center without a phone.
By day five, I couldn’t believe I only had two days left without my phone. But the last two days were the hardest. I was surprised how much more I missed my phone on the weekend when I was out with friends than I did when I was at home alone during the week.
“Well, were your friends using their phones?” Rosen asked me. Of course they were. “It stimulates that part of your brain that says, ‘I can’t do all these things that they’re doing.’ It’s like losing an appendage.” Most of my anxiety all week came from seeing others indulge in the pleasure of looking at a phone. I felt disconnected not being able to check social media or look at texts. Despite having a MacBook that gave me access to iMessage, it wasn’t the same. Morelos explains that every time we get a notification, text or email, we get a shot of dopamine into our system. This teaches our brains that notifications make us happy. “Our brains have developed over hundreds of thousands of years to do things that make us feel good because generally those are things that would help us survive,” Morelos says. “There’s an actual chemical release that happens every time we get [a notification].”
Post-experiment The experiment technically ended Sunday night at midnight. I was nervous because I thought I was going to turn it back on and spend hours in bed catching up on everything I missed, but I actually cared much less about social media than I had before. Of course I answered all my Snapchats and checked Instagram, but I did what I needed to do and then turned my phone off. Now that I know I can survive without it, I don’t feel like I am tethered to my phone. The world keeps spinning even if I don’t immediately answer a text. I’ll now run short errands without bringing my phone, or when I do have it, I'll keep it zipped in my backpack instead of walking with it in my hand. Going a week without my phone helped me become much more aware of my surroundings. Because I'm not always looking down at my phone, I've noticed that strangers talk to me more, which eases the anonymity of the city. I also observe more things, like tourists trying to figure out how the 'L' system works (and offer to help), and how few Divvy riders in Chicago actually follow traffic rules (and avoid getting run over). Overall, less time on my phone means more time interacting with other people, which is good. Still, I'm happy to have my phone back. I definitely don't miss the anxiety I felt at night without my phone alarm, and it's a relief to use navigation apps and Instagram again. I don't think I'll ever do this experiment again, but I know I will be more mindful about how much time I spend on my phone now.
Tips for reducing phone distraction Set a timer Rosen recommends setting a timer for one minute and checking everything on your phone that could distract you when you’re supposed to be studying or working. When the minute is up, set a timer for 15 minutes, lock your phone and turn it upside down. When the timer goes off, set it for another minute to check the phone. Repeat this pattern, gradually increasing the lockedphone time to 30 minutes. Map your apps Rosen suggests taking all electronic communication apps, except for messages and email, and moving them to folders. Then move the folders to the last page of your home screen. You can even embed the folders inside other folders. Go grey Colors make your phone more attractive and alluring. Rosen recommends setting your phone to greyscale to diminish its ability to distract your attention. Bedroom ban Using a phone or any other other blue light devices right before bed stimulates cortisol production in the brain, telling your body it’s time to wake up. Rosen suggests getting your phone out of the bedroom an hour before you plan to go to sleep. Be gentle Allow yourself to feel good about the short amounts of time you can spend without checking your phone, Morelos says. Eventually, you will rewire the process in your brain of what makes you happy. Focus on the positive Notice how much more time you have when you aren't constantly on your phone, Morelos suggests. Think about how rewarding this is and how good it is for you, rather than focusing on what you are missing. "People typically fail when they give up things because they think of it as a punishment,” Morelos says.
The Home Issue
Behind the Screen Navigating what's real, what's fake and what you can trust inside the online world By Bailee Penski
A hashtag that popularized a movement against sexual abuse. Yay Twitter activism!
The chaos of the world grants us
@Donte.Colley IG Influencer
this feel-good Reddit content.
Emoji hearts, positive words of
Find your soulmate by your mutual “Take
newest indie hit.
Mommy Bloggers Who knew SoulCycle ventures and crock pot recipes could be
occasional trap mix.
Cancún this week but Paris
Who doesn't love listening
Find a sincere emotional connection
to someone crunching on
for the low price of $1,000.
the next? Yeah, right.
popcorn into a microphone?
in your bedroom = the
real and more furry.
so fun to follow?
their own music with the
Bandcamp The music you made
A place for anyone to share
the Black community.
DIY musicians assemble!
On Me” karaoke song
this hashtag has empowered
Like Zootopia, but more
affirmation, AND dancing? Sign me up!
Tearing down racism with
Pinterest Craigslist Missed Connections We know you're dying to meet that person you stared at on the train.
Fandoms I'm sorry I said BTS was my favorite K-Pop group, but
you don't have to scream!
#FyreFestival It's all fun and games until a
A shaky investment, or a
"luxury" music festival feeds
way to buy guns and drugs
you cheese sandwiches.
anonymously. Sounds sketch.
Sexism in video games was
No, my ideal date is not smoking a
widely publicized with this
bong and watching Star Wars.
They have the sexual drive
Hookup culture and unrealistic
but that entitlement is a
penis sizes all in one.
4chan Let's just leave it at this:
Get ready for WWIII
Complete anonymity online
on your YouTube comments.
is a frightening place.
The House that Weed Built Confessions of a middle-class pot dealer
By Hannah Faris Illustration by Jack King
Mike (whose name has been changed), is a millennial from the northwest suburbs. He has a mortgage, a boat and an infant son. Clean-cut, pairing khaki shorts with socks and sandals, Mike appears to embody the stereotype of the comfortable middle-class man. However, looks can be deceiving. Locked away in the basement of his modest duplex and the trunk of his minivan, you’ll find thousands of dollars worth of marijuana at any given time. Mike has spent 10 years building his weed business, and now supports every aspect of his life on it.
what he calls “close to a one-percenter’s income, about a $450,000-plus threshold,” Mike’s story is an ironic twist on the American Dream. At first glance, he would appear to have it all. When he speaks about his weed empire, he says that he is happier, more successful and lacking any desire to return to the world of 9-to-5. But in rare moments of vulnerability, he reveals a unique set of daily challenges anchored to the industry.
Mike’s age and occupation place him at the intersection of two rapidly growing trends in America: the abandonment of traditional white-collar labor practices by millennials, and an increasing cultural acceptance of marijuana.
Before selling, Mike worked in technical sales for the chemical industry. He describes the job tepidly, saying that although he always had a knack for sales, he was never thrilled with the work. His days consisted of early mornings, long commutes, time in front of a computer screen, and the frustration knowing that the next day, week or month would be no different. Like many adults working the traditional 9-to-5 office job, Mike was dissatisfied. So when the opportunity presented itself, he left this unsatisfying, yet safe, occupation to pursue one dramatically more dangerous. Selling weed, in spite of the inherent legal risks, gave him more freedom, excitement and fulfillment. From a middle-class millennial with no college education to a business owner with
Echo spoke with Mike about the weed business, the American workforce and his personal life. These are his own words, edited and condensed for clarity. On the business This business is like Mary Kay, it’s like Avon, it’s like all the MLMs [multi-level marketing, or pyramid sales]. But instead The Home Issue
“There are risks, but there’s an adrenaline to it. I’m sort of an adrenaline junkie, and it’s tough to find jobs that reward you with large amounts of it constantly. ” of being makeup, hair products or food, it’s just bud. You get beat up a lot in this business. If people don’t like your stuff, they’re not professional about it. Imagine you own a sandwich shop, and I come to you and say, “Your sandwiches suck balls.” You’d probably be hurt when you go home at the end of the day, even if it’s just one person. It’s a tough business for people who put a lot of pride in their work. There’s a lot of people who make livings off of me—that’s how they maintain their families and kids. So, you always have that in the back of your head. I’m not a savior, but a lot of people do this for their livelihood.
On corporate America
These companies don’t really care about you. When I was growing up, the American Dream was you get a good job, you work really fucking hard for 30 years, then you get your pension. You go off into the world of retirement, and with that, you’re supposed to have everything you need. But no matter how great of a worker you are, the business is the one that profits and thrives. People aren’t really free. You
can’t wake up tomorrow and do whatever you want to do; you have to go to work. I didn’t like the constraints of having to be somewhere at a certain time. I’ve always had a problem with authority. Being my own boss gave me that freedom. The downside is when you do fuck up, then your freedom gets taken from you. There are risks, but there’s an adrenaline to it. I’m sort of an adrenaline junkie, and it’s tough to find jobs that reward you with large amounts of it constantly.
On ethics I try to have a high standard of ethics, even though a lot of people look down on what I do. They think I’m a criminal. My own mom says, “These drug dealers need to be arrested and go to prison because they’re killing our children!” I like to think that you can’t convince anyone to do anything they don’t already want to do themselves. At the end of the day, our transactions are consensual. There’s no victim; nobody is being hurt. Maybe this is me trying to rationalize with myself. I think I’m a good person.
On success You’re not going to wake up tomorrow and become a drug lord; it doesn’t happen. Most people that sell drugs will never really make good money from it. You have to put in the effort, be smart about it, and you’ve gotta know when to walk away. I like Mark Cuban’s famous quote: “Work like there’s someone working 24 hours a day to take it all away from you.” In my world, that means, quite literally, take it all away from you.
On changing cultural perceptions There’s this big societal change around weed because everyone is doing it. I smoke weed with one of the mayors in this area. I sell weed to cops. I know cops on duty that are high on edibles. An overwhelming percentage of the population consumes cannabis no differently than alcohol. The DEA [Drug Enforcement Administration] doesn’t care about weed, so our judges and prosecutors have said they don’t care about weed either. The sentiment is the same among police officers. Their reward was taken away, so now it’s wasting their time going after someone with an ounce or pounds.
“I’ll be honest with you: I’ll probably get out of this business and never be the same again.” On trust
On legalization There are two trains of thought. As things become legal, you destroy the market. No one in this business wants weed to go legal—no one. The more legal weed becomes, the less enforcement there is. Prices go down. It’s just the nature of the beast. The other train of thought is, the more legal it becomes, the more participants you’re going to find. While prices will go down, they can only go down to a certain extent. The law of diminishing returns. They can’t go down to $0; they’re going to bottom out. I don’t like to think about it because there’s not a whole lot that I can do. I try to continue my business and stay focused on what I have to do to stay successful. Legalization will wipe out a lot of middle men. If you’re not growing or connected to growers, you’re going to be wiped out.
I live a very reclusive lifestyle. It’s to the point where I can’t tell anyone where I live anymore. If you’re just selling quads here or there, you don’t have to cut off your family and friends. But the bigger you get, the more you have to seclude yourself, for their safety and mine. In a split second, someone can turn on you—hurt you, rob you, all sorts of bad stuff. You get burned so much in this business. You can’t get too friendly with people. People around you are a threat to your existence, and you have to be willing to look at it that way. In such a fluid environment where things change easily, where people can go from being your friend to an existential threat, you have to be guarded constantly. On loneliness I was basically married. The only thing separating us was a marriage certificate. Cars, credit cards, the house, everything was in our names. We had a son. They no longer live with me. It’s been a tough change. I come home and it’s empty. The house is staged professionally. It looks like a family lives here, but nobody does. It’s just me.
I can’t bring people here. It’s fortified like a bunker. The place is raid-proof. I had custom walls and custom doors put in. I have a biometric three-code lock, meaning I need a code, I need an RFID chip, and I still need to input my biometric signature to open the door. There’s an alarm system. There’s a fully trained canine that will bite your face off. It’s like I’m at work nonstop, like I’m never at home. I feel so lonely, and I feel really dorky saying that. At the end of the day it’s so hard to find people who don’t look at you and think, “You’re just a drug dealer.” How do you meet someone and tell them what you do? Nobody can give you a pat on the back, nobody can listen to you, nobody can talk to you. You can’t just unload this on anyone. On one hand, I live this awesome lifestyle. On the other hand, it’s totally secret; no one can ever really know what I’m doing. It’s exhausting. I have a psychologist on staff because of the level of paranoia I get. She tells me to leave selling, but not because I could get caught. She tells me to leave because if I stay, the paranoia will lock me in. I’ll be honest with you: I’ll probably get out of this business and never be the same again. The Home Issue
The Road to Home
(With stops along the way) By Bailee Penski Illustrations by Jack King
Still struggling to feel settled in Chicago? Thankfully, there are places in the city that offer the cozy comfort you’ve been craving.
22 E. Jackson Blvd. At 19 by 19 feet, Hero Coffee Bar may be the smallest retail location in the Loop.
Scavenge for a nearby pebble or eraser and play The Road to Home. Begin at Route 66 and make your way through Chicago’s unique gems. You Sign at the corner of Adams are sure to win!
Street and Michigan Avenue.
Get a caffeine high—move three spaces forward.
Zoom zoom! You’re on your way—move two spaces forward.
53rd Street and Dorchester Avenue. A plaque
1001 N. Wolcott Ave. This sculpture was
honors the spot where Barack and Michelle
created by Chicago artist Jerzy S. Kenar as a
Obama shared their first kiss in the summer of
humorous nod to what the neighborhood’s dogs
1989 after they got ice cream at Baskin-Rob-
bins (which is now a Subway).
Aw shit! You stepped in dog poop but laughed it off because of this art piece. Move three spaces forward.
You caught the love bug. Move three spaces forward to give it to someone! 35th Street and Calumet Avenue. Sunset Café was a jazz club where Louis Armstrong regulary played. Now
1068 W. Taylor St. Mario's Italian Lemonade opened in 1954 in the heart of Little Italy. The walk-up dessert stand offers a range of flavors for those humid summer days.
a beauty supply store, the jazz stage is still there along with a mural from the Echo Magazine
Take a time machine back to the Golden Age—scat your way two spaces forward.
rain You got a b two n ru — freeze ard rw fo s ce a sp . up rm to wa
1365 N. Astor St. This Gold Coast locale is the
2750 N. Lakeview Ave. The Beaux-Arts
headquarters for the Society of Architectural
style Elks National Memorial building is
Historians. It was designed by Louis Sullivan
open to the public.
and Frank Lloyd Wright, two pivotal figures in modern architecture.
Being in an old house is making you feel more at home! Move two spaces forward.
You‘re inspired by the beauty—move two spaces forward.
3733 N. Southport Ave. The Music Box Theatre in Lakeview is an independent movie theater that opened in 1929 and is known for screening indie and foreign films.
95th Street over the Calumet River. This bridge was the site of the famous car-jumping scene in the 1980s film The Blues Brothers.
Recreate the action scene and vroom, vroom you’re way across the bridge. Move three spaces forward.
You went back in time to Old Hollywood. Move three spaces forward to show off your razzle dazzle.
1301 E. 57th St. In Hyde Park, 57th Street Books is an independent book store known for its maze-like shelves, where you can find a wide range of books for children and adults.
in the Get lost ove M s. word ces a three sp share to rd a forw und fo w your ne ! e g d le w kno
see You’re off to ! Move rd a iz w e th home. forward to
Webster Avenue and Orchard Street. Oz Park honors L. Frank Baum, the author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, who lived in the area in the 1890s.
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Room to Grow
You aren’t a perfect roommate, either; here’s how to get along better By Maya Durfee O’Brien
I once came home to find my roommate eating my leftover miso soup. Startled, she dropped it on the floor. I demanded she buy me a new meal. After Hunter Sexton agreed with their new roommate that their apartment would be an alcohol-free zone, they found beer in the mini-fridge. Sexton, who had recently gotten sober, was offended.
There may be no way to prevent awful things from happening with roommates; it’s just hard to live with other people. But
what can we learn that will benefit us for future relationships? Laura Foster, a therapist at Creative Life Counseling Services in Chicago, says roommates who establish clear expectations about what their relationship is going to be like are better able to navigate difficult or uncomfortable situations. Foster recommends being clear about these expectations during a roommate search and again before moving in with someone. “I think that a lot of the work is done [through] communicating boundaries
“It’s not that you need to love your roommate and it’s not that your roommate needs to be your best friend, but I think if we could learn to simply care about their well-being, that would go a long was.” —Amy Canevello, Ph.D.
What About Landlords?
[and] expectations,” Foster says. Sometimes boundaries involve personal property, including pets. One of Katie Gresham’s roommates “borrowed” money and neglected their cats. As a result, Gresham didn’t feel comfortable in their own home.
Sometimes, your roommate is great, but your landlord is not. You may not have enough heat, or the stove may be broken, and your landlord won’t fix the problem. Chicago’s Residential Landlord and Tenant Ordinance spells out the rights and obligations of landlords and tenants. A summary of the ordinance must be attached to any lease agreement, including renewals.
“I don’t think people realize that living together is one of the most intimate things you can do,” says Kendall Phillips, a peer mentor and resident assistant in a dorm at University of Illinois at Chicago who has mediated many roommate issues. “You’re seeing this person every day, you’re in their space every day, you’re seeing their routine every day, and just little things that you’re not used to.”
Having things in common isn’t the same as agreeing on and communicating about boundaries. Douglas De Jong chose Ishmael as a roommate because he felt Open communication before living most comfortable living with a queer together is crucial. So is mutual empathy. trans woman. Ishmael was charming but If your roommate doesn’t care about you, messy. When De Jong moved Ishmael’s then the roommate relationship is possessions in order to clean their shared not going to work. living space, Ishmael called the police rather than talking to De Jong. Neither were “It’s not that you need to love your roommate successfully able to raise their concerns and it’s not that your roommate needs to be with the other one. When De Jong tried, he your best friend, but I think if we could learn was met with hostility. to simply care about their well-being, that would go a long way,” Canevello says. “That “What we find in our data is that the comes with a lot of the things that make for roommates who successfully navigate the good relationships.” bumps in their relationships are the ones who address issues as soon as they come up,” I now live in a place where I am respected. says Amy Canevello, Ph.D., an associate I don’t live with friends anymore and that’s professor of psychology at the University OK. My roommate relationships are built of North Carolina at Charlotte. Had there on mutual respect and understanding—the been an open line of communication in basis of any good relationship. De Jong and Ishmael’s case, perhaps things wouldn’t have been as tough.
For more information about tenants’ rights and help with landlord problems, contact: •
Uptown People’s Law Center: nonprofit community legal clinic that offers support in housing law and tenants’ rights issues. www.uplcchicago.org.
Chicago Tenants Rights Law: law firm that helps renters and landlords and specializes in tenants’ rights. www.tenantsrightschicago.com.
Metropolitan Tenants Organization: educates, organizes and provides a voice for tenants seeking safe and accessible housing.
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Where Should You Live? Choosing a neighborhood is hard-we’re here to help By Megan Perrero Remember when Logan Square was a more affordable neighborhood? That ship has sailed. And if you’re trying to convince yourself you can actually afford that one-bedroom apartment in Lincoln Park, save your wallet the heartache. Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered. Take this quiz to see which neighborhood you belong in.
Can you describe your ideal housing situation?
a. I’m ready to live in something updated. b. A building with vintage or historic charm. c. Anything that means cheap rent.
What action do you want to get in on?
a. I prefer peace and quiet.
d. A three story walk-up. e. A bigger apartment complex.
b. I have this thing for old Catholic churches. c. I’m an outdoor activities aficionado. d. I want to be in the hub of all the best bars. #NightLifeIsLife e. Anything that expands my mind.
How do you feel about your commute?
a. I haven’t put much thought into it. b. I have a car, so I need to be able to afford to park.
The most important thing to have in my neighborhood is…
a. A plethora of coffee shops. And no, Starbucks doesn’t count. b. A local watering hole with a few craft cocktails. c. A variety of restaurants with unique dining experiences. d. Anything with sports. *whoop whoop* e. Museums and galleries.
c. I’ll commute an hour if it means cheaper rent. d. I’m OK with 30 or so minutes on the CTA.
Your ideal neighborhood atmosphere would be described as…
e. I prefer busses to trains.
Who are your ideal neighbors?
a. Families and dogs, and I love dogs b. A mix of newcomers and old-timers. c. As much diversity as possible. d. Millennials who get me and my night-owl schedule.
a. Quiet, quaint and low key. b. Quiet while still having some upscale charm. c. Diverse, filled with ethnic food and a variety of culture. d. Filled with night life, energy and fun. e. Filled with art, culture and knowledge.
e. People with active minds and lots of books.
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Bridgeport: Small town feel within a big city–a quieter neighborhood filled with diverse, working class families and students. Average rent, one bedroom: $1,400
Ukrainian Village: You’ll meet babies in strollers, long-time residents and younger singles in this Chicago Landmark district. Average rent, one bedroom: $1,400
East Rogers Park: There are numerous public beaches within walking distance and a plethora of ethnic food options here, thanks to the over 80 countries being represented in the neighborhood. Average rent, one bedroom: $1,070
Lakeview: Ah, the nightlife enthusiast. You’ve come to the right place. The next question you should ask yourself is if you’re feeling like going to a sports bar or a drag show? Average rent, one bedroom: $1,600
Hyde Park: An express bus ride south from downtown, this neighborhood is home to the University of Chicago and the Museum of Science and Industry. Average rent, one bedroom: $1,450
City life isn’t for everyone: We have a place for you, too. Say hello to Oak Park and Forest Park. They are a 20- to 30-minute trip away on the Blue Line or Green Line, and offer a perfect balance between suburban and city life. Ukrainian Village
East Rogers Park Source of average rents: domu.com
Results Hyde Park
Creatures of Comfort “Can I bring my emotional support lizard to class?” By Mary Elizabeth Figueroa Illustrations by Jack King
It’s the first class of the day. You see what looks like a green tail slithering in a mesh carrier bag one of your classmates has brought to class. Then she opens the bag and pulls out an iguana. “It’s my emotional support animal,” she tells the professor. “I can show you the papers.” In recent years, there has been an increase in emotional support animals (ESAs) on campuses, airlines and other places where pets aren’t permitted. Services that provide ESA letters are booming, too, even though there is no official definition of what qualifies an animal as an ESA. People who rely on ESAs credit them with making it possible to handle academic and social pressure, and for treating a range of mental health issues. An ESA provides companionship, support and comfort to people with mental health problems or an emotional disorder. ESAs are usually cats or dogs, but can be any species. A service animal is specifically trained to perform a certain task or provide a specific service for a person with a disability. It is legally permitted to accompany its owner everywhere. The most common service animals are dogs, but some are small horses.
Like service animals, ESAs are protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act. However, their rights are drastically more limited in comparison to service pets, primarily due to the training required to deem an animal a service pet. There is no training required for ESAs. However, this doesn’t make them any less legitimate than registered service animals. In December, Delta Airlines announced an 84 percent increase in incidents involving unruly animals since 2016. The following month, the airline banned ESAs from flights longer than eight hours and prohibited ESAs under the age of four months. United Airlines followed with similar policies. To the students who rely on ESAs, their furry (or sometimes scaly) companions are more than just glorified pets; they’re a necessity. Echo asked three students to share their stories.
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Strider the Rabbit My therapist and I thought an ESA would be helpful for me because I have a lot of animals at home. I took care of my chickens, dogs and parrots every day, so not having any pets was hard. My aunt texted me that she had five rescued rabbits and they just had too many. Strider was the tiniest one of all of them and he was the only one who let me hold him. So I took him home, but I wasn’t sure if I could have him as an ESA. Strider will jump on me and make sure I get up, so then I’ll get some food. I’ll feed him every day around the same time. I will also take him for walks in the hallways on a leash. Having him gets me out of my room and into the common area, and he motivates me to do things I should be doing on my own.
When I’m doing homework, I sometimes puke or freak out. Having him, I’ll take a break and try again, or I’ll look over and he’ll be laying down and looking super cute. Almost always when I’m feeling bad, he knows and he will jump right over the computer and sniff me like, "You good?" I feel that he sometimes feels what I feel. I feel he understands, and the fact that he trusts me enough to scoop him up and respects me means a lot. When I have thought, "What would happen if I just ended it right here?" I just think, "I can’t. I have my bunny to take care of." - Kerryn Taylor, 19, who has depression and anxiety. As told to Mary Elizabeth Figueroa
Jasper the Cat I was already talking with my psychiatrist before I left spring semester last year, and Jasper kind of found me. When I first got him, I was nervous he might not be a good emotional support animal because he was feral, but he turned out to be the most amazing emotional support animal I could find.
At home and now, whenever I feel myself getting a little anxious or a PTSD episode coming, I usually will pick him up.
I think he is a great other source of medication. Yes, I have medication, but he is there to help me with the random bursts of episodes. Medication can’t randomly address mental health situations. He is definitely a reason why I want to better my mental health and better myself all around. He gives me motivation to get past my mental health issues because I want to honestly take care of him. He is a part of my plan for recovery. - Anonymous, 19, who has PTSD, bipolar II and generalized anxiety disorder. As told to Mary Elizabeth Figueroa
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Mr. Scratchers the Cat We found him in a box across the street, actually, with his sister when he was a kitten. I begged my mom, "Can we please have this cat?" Right from the beginning, we always kind of called him a therapy cat, which wasn’t his official title. I almost felt guilty about trying to get an ESA certification, but it wasn’t as difficult as I expected. The harder part was actually getting him approved by the school. It’s a long process. What kind of let the school feel like, OK, this is legit, was when my bulimia became way too much of a problem. Last semester, he would go to buildings with me on campus. If I had to be somewhere for a long period of time, and especially if I knew it was going to be a stressful environment, he was there.
My therapist calls Mr. Scratchers the next best thing. Whenever I am in a moment of acting on some bad habit, she tells me, "OK, what’s the next best thing?” And he is almost always there. After a few minutes, it usually fixes the situation or at least gets my mind from wanting to do the same things that I was thinking about just a few minutes before. You know when you feel sometimes like you’re not really holding on to much out there purpose-wise? Having to get up, having another being in your room to take care of and feed in the morning, that definitely alters my mindset. Having him here just feels like taking a bit of home with me, and knowing that I have also a home to go back to. - Janet Henriques, 21, who has panic disorder and bulimia. As told to Mary Elizabeth Figueroa
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Can housing co-ops survive the tide of gentrification? By Maria Maynez Photographs by Porter McLeod
Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood seems to have it all: world-class museums, a topnotch university and lakefront access. But when it comes to housing, affordability is increasingly hard to come by. Meet Qumbya and Sophia Community: two coops that provide long-term and affordable rent for a diverse group of residents. Founded in 1988, Qumbya was created by students at the University of Chicago. Rent at Qumbya covers food, room and utilities. In 1990, Qumbya was able to purchase its first home, Haymarket House, at 54th Street and Richwood Avenue, through the North American Students of Cooperation (NASCO). Today, Qumbya has three more homes: Bowers House, Concord House and Ida B. Wells House, all located on the South Side of Chicago. Residents of all four houses are a mix of students and other Chicagoans.
Sophia Community was founded 25 years ago by four young women who spent a year living with Catholic sisters as volunteers and then decided to start their own community.
“Their sense of community, spirituality, simple living, just supportive of one another...[was how] we wanted to continue living,” says Lisa Rademacher, one of the founders, who is still a resident of Sophia Community. Originally located in a two flat, Sophia moved in 2000 to a house owned by the
community Religious Society of Friends (the Quakers). The co-op pays rent and takes care of the house, and is responsible for the cost of utilities. Today, Sophia Community prides itself on being diverse with members ranging widely in age, ethnicity and country of origin. Prospective members who are looking to live in a co-op community submit applications. Those who are accepted are expected to not only live with but to connect with the current members, as well as commit time to the co-op. Members make time for giving tours, doing chores, and cooking and eating community dinners. Most importantly, they note, they are present for other members. “It’s got its challenges, it’s got its awesome moments. It’s a lot of work being a part of the community,” says Ben Mtundu, a Sophia Community member for 15 years. “Some people are very work, work, work, they don’t see the relationship. Some people just see the relationship, they don’t see the work, but it’s a combination of all of that.” To make sure co-op living is right for a prospective member, they must apply to join the community. Typically, the process includes meeting the residents and their answering their questions, and a vote on whether to invite the prospective member to join the co-op. “We have an interview where we ask a lot of questions and they can also ask us questions to get an idea of
Living in a co-op offers members longterm affordable rent. At Qumbya, most members stay for a long time; some have been there for more than 12 years. At Sophia Community, half of the residents have been in the community for more than 10 years. But today, that affordability could be at risk. “As housing costs continue to go up, all of those elements of diversity are going to become marginalized into one relatively wealthy group of people that can afford to live in Hyde Park,” says Brigid Maniates, general manager of Qumbya Housing Cooperative. Thanks to the partnership with the Quakers, rent at Sophia Community has remained affordable while housing costs in the area have gone up. “As long as the Quakers decide to keep ownership of
this house, I don’t think our rents would skyrocket,” Rademacher says. Qumbya, too, has remained affordable. Today, residents pay $550-$850 per month, which includes housing, meals and utilities. Savings are accomplished through “master leasing,” meaning that the home is being leased from an owner rather than the co-op itself. Still, as prices in Hyde Park and throughout Chicago go up, Qumbya faces challenges keeping rent low. “Increasing property taxes that the landowners pass on...to their tenants is a big issue. It’s not only rental but everything that you do: your groceries, your entertainment, everything is being taxed and all of those little things add up to unaffordability for residents,” says Juan Calixto, vice president of external relations at Chicago Community Loan Fund. “So those co-ops that have been in existence for many, many years are also feeling the impact of rising property taxes.”
Rademacher has watched the cost of living rise in Hyde Park over the years and believes this will accelerate in the coming years. “I think property values are going up in Hyde Park because of all the recent building and who knows, if the Obama Center comes, what that’s going to bring,” she says. “I think it’s harder and harder for people to afford Hyde Park if they don’t have a lot of money. Whereas here we have people living with very little income.”
this,” Rademacher says. “It’s getting to know each other and asking each other questions and seeing if this could be a fit. And it’s always a risk.”
If the co-ops shrink or disappear, a unique housing option will be lost in Chicago. “Growing up in the community really helps you when you’re developing into an adult because they support you and they teach you,” says Sophia Rademacher Wood, Lisa Rademacher’s daughter, who was born in Sophia Community 11 years ago. “It’s like a really big family and it’s nice to have a lot of people around you, so I’m really glad I was born in a community.”
The Home Issue
Far from the medicine cabinet Unusual prescriptions from cultural traditions
For Cough: Garlic Milk Ingredients: 1 cup milk 2 tablespoons honey 1 clove garlic, minced 1 teaspoon unsalted By Maria Maynez
My grandma always says that for the empacho (stomachache), té de hierbabuena (peppermint tea) with a burnt tortilla is all you need. Break up the tortilla, put it in the tea, then drink it. It tastes bad, but the promise of feeling better keeps you drinking. And I swear it works.
Every culture and family has a home remedy. Echo conducted an online survey to find the following cures for whatever’s been ailing you.
2. Heat until the butter melts.
3. Cool to room temperature and add garlic and honey.
For Toothache: Whiskey Ingredients:
4 5 6
*Echo does not endorse these treatments in place of medical advice
1. Put butter and milk in a small saucepan.
4. Stir and drink.
1 ounce whiskey or brandy 1 cotton ball
1. Soak the cotton ball in the whiskey or brandy. 2. Apply to the gums of the aching tooth. * For a quicker remedy, sip the liquor but don’t swallow; swish it around the aching tooth.
1 banana peel
1 cup course salt
1 pair of socks
1 long white cotton sock
1. Place the peel on the soles of your feet.
1. Heat the salt in a microwave for 2 minutes.
2. Place the socks over the banana peels.
2. Pour salt inside the sock, tie the opening in a knot, and place on your ear.
3. Leave on overnight.
For Headache: Potato Slices Ingredients:
For the Common Cold: Hot Toddy
1 fresh russet potato Ingredients:
1. Cut two thin potato slices.
1 shot whiskey 1 cup hot water 1 lemon wedge
2. Place on your temples for 30 minutes.
2 teaspoons honey
1. Combine whiskey, honey and hot water in a mug. 2. Stir in honey until dissolved. 3. Add lemon wedge and drink. The Home Issue
Reaching Out On the street with The Night Ministry’s Youth Outreach Team By Emma Jackson Photograph by Porter McLeod Illustrations by Amanda Melley It’s a chilly night in late winter, and a sidewalk on Halsted Street is filled with people chatting and watching the street. Soon a big, navy blue van pulls up with The Night Ministry’s Youth Outreach Team. They are joined by this evening’s volunteers from Northminster Presbyterian Church in Evanston, who come bearing grocery bags. They assemble three folding tables on the sidewalk and cover them with juice, chips, cookies, and a variety of sandwiches: ham and cheese, turkey and cheese, and peanut butter and jelly.
The van parks at Belmont Avenue and Halsted Street every Thursday night from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. as part of The Night Ministry’s mission to provide housing, health care and human connection to Chicagoans experiencing homelessness or housing instability. The Youth Outreach Team focuses specifically on homeless people between the ages of 14 and 24. In addition to food, they can receive hygiene supplies, hats and gloves, Ventra passes and HIV testing.
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But first, the team members get to know their clients, according to Burke Patten, senior communications associate at The Night Ministry. “It’s not as simple as going up to somebody who may or may not be homeless and saying, ‘What can I do for you?’” Patten says. “We like to build trust with clients, and I think a lot of clients won’t really open up and talk to you about what their needs are unless they trust you.” Brooke Thomas, one of the youth outreach professionals, accomplishes this by taking some of the young people out for coffee, and inviting them to participate in The Night Ministry’s Adventure Club and leadership workshops. Her goal is to make them feel part of a community that they help to support. “We’re in a ship together,” she tells them. “Make sure it doesn’t sink. This community building is particularly important for youth who have been told they don’t matter. “A lot of the youth who are on the streets have been in situations where they feel they’ve been kind of tossed out in a sort of way. And when you’re living on the streets, many times people just ignore you,” Patten says. “To have a stable, positive, supportive relationship can be an important part of someone’s journey out of homelessness.” The program addresses issues other than homelessness, too. Thomas recalls one young transgender man who was attending DePaul University and received no support from his family. When she met him, he was wearing women’s clothes because that was all he had, so the Youth Outreach Team gave him clothes he would feel comfortable in and took him to get a haircut. When he moved into the school’s dorms, they helped him get settled. As the volunteers serve dinner, the parking lot feels like a block party. A big speaker blasts “I Just Want to Be” by Cameo and a blue light flashes while the volunteers offer sandwiches. Many of the youth stay
for the entire two hours, enjoying the safety of the community as much as the food. At one point, a client comes over and hears Thomas explaining how the Youth Outreach Team finds youth who need its services. “I help them out too,” she says. “Aww, Tiff, that’s my girl,” Thomas replies, and they hug. “They help me out, so I help them out too,” Tiff repeats for emphasis. The challenge, Thomas explains, is that homeless youth are not easy to spot. “They’re regular people,” she says. “You could be at Columbia and not afford to live in the Dwight [student housing].” To address this, the Youth Outreach Team sends professional and peer outreach specialists to college campuses. They also approach young people riding the ‘L’ to ask questions like “Where are you going?” or “Where are you sleeping tonight?” Just because they are not on the street doesn’t mean they have homes, she adds. Homeless youth will often couch surf rather than stay outside or in a shelter, but this is still disruptive to their lives and studies. Darnell Thurmond, 26, grew up in Chicago and was a client of The Night Ministry when he experienced homelessness on and off for four years, beginning when he was 18. He stayed at The Crib, one of The Night Ministry’s housing programs for young adults, and would come to the van on Thursday nights to get a meal. Because of The Night Ministry, he had the essentials he needed, including clothing, a mat to sleep on, a phone charger, a washer and dryer and bathrooms. Eventually, with their encouragement, he was able to get a job. Now Thurmond volunteers with the Youth Outreach Team. “A lot of the youth are going through homelessness and anything can happen,” Thurmond says. “We encourage the other kids we see to do their best so we can help them out.”
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echo magazine | home
what’s inside Island of Memories
Alexa, What’s for Dinner?
I am Here Now
Sweet Home Chicago
Island of Memories
Cuban emigrees, generations apart, share history and heritage
By Mary Elizabeth Figueroa Photographs by Porter McLeod
Here is the story of how my mom turned me into a real-life, 19-year-old smuggler overnight.
carry-on bags and went through them, removing some items for disposal and requiring her to pay to bring in others, including a blender and a pair of Converse sneakers. As I watched my mom, I felt both privilege and anger. I held back my tears and complained to my grandfather in English so nobody could understand me.
The evening before my mom and I took a 30-minute flight from Miami to Camagüey, Cuba, I watched her sort through a pile of T-shirts, Nike tennis shoes, baby bibs, disposable diapers, orthopedic shoes, compression socks and other items on the comforter of her king-sized bed. This was a familiar sight in the days leading up to a trip back to her home country.
Every story I had been told about the Cuban government’s communist regime ran through my mind: my dad’s head being shaved when he arrived at school because he had grown it out “too close” to the length of the Beatles’; my mom’s teacher asking her students to stand up if they believed in God, then hitting her with a ruler while asking, “Where is your God now?”; my grandfather nearly being sent “Este es para mima,” she said as she handed to a Cuban concentration camp during me things, “Don’t forget to put it in your his last year of high school for refusing to luggage.” denounce his Christianity. That’s when I understood why my mom had asked me to I placed this unusual collection in my pack the important things in my bag: She carry-on luggage, and knew I could smuggle them Those who fled placed my own clothes in for our family, who so in what little space was became exiles, badly needed them. left. Later, my mom unable to return to Many Cubans who fled unpacked all my nice clothes and replaced the island post-revolution their homes and them with clothes I have similar stories. Fidel the loved ones would be OK giving Castro seized control on away. What I wore onto they left behind. New Year’s Day in 1959, the plane is what I was overthrowing the old expected to fly back in. dictator, Fulgencio Batista. Those who fled became exiles, unable to return to As we boarded the flight, she reminded me their homes and the loved ones they left to stay with my bag at all times. behind. By 2008, more than 1.24 million Cubans had emigrated to the U.S. As a U.S. citizen, I could enter the country with my two carry-ons, no questions It wasn’t until 2000 that visits back to asked. When we landed at the airport Cuba were permitted, and even then travel in Camagüey, I went through customs, programs were suspended from 2004-2010 showed my U.S. passport, and retrieved my by the Office of Foreign Assets Control. luggage from the carousel, carry-ons still in In 2015, that new travel regulations were hand. Meanwhile, my mom, a naturalized issued to make it easier for Americans U.S. citizen, was required to enter the to travel to Cuba, namely on people-tocountry with her Cuban passport. An people tours. airport official opened all of my mother’s The Home Issue
What was it like when you first arrived?
Among them is Maria Montalvo, Ph.D., professor of early childhood education at Oakton Community College. Montalvo, 67, was granted political asylum along with her parents in Miami in 1961 when she was 10 years old. She vividly remembers her time in Havana with her family, but she has never returned. What were the biggest changes when Fidel Castro came into power? I remember my grandmother going around on a very beautiful, clear day and closing the shutters, and that only happened when there was a lot of rain. I was like “Mamá, que tú haces? What are you doing?” and she looked at me and said in a very low voice, “I want to listen to Radio Free Cuba.”
What do you remember the most about the revolution?
I remember my mom and I had this tradition. We’d put on “let’s go to Havana outfits” and we’d go to the movies or go visit friends or go have a sandwich in Havana. We were almost down at the end of the block and we had to cross the street and on the other little corner was the bus stop to take us directly into Havana. All of a sudden: Pa! Pa! Pa! Pa! Pa! Tiroteo! Somebody was shooting a
gun and I remember my mom threw me onto the ground next to a neighbor’s house. Then she landed on top of me. I can still remember smelling the earth and the greenery. We were getting all of these people who were untrained and giving them this hardcore equipment. We had to go home, we had to get cleaned up and I remember my grandmother said, “Maybe you shouldn’t go, things are getting too dangerous.” Mom was like, “No, we are going!” Did you come to the U.S. legally? We legally got into America. We came in under the status of political refugees. That was the status that was granted to us because of this untraditional visa waiver system that was devised diplomatically between the two countries.
We landed in Miami and as part of a federal relocation program, I ended up in Des Moines, Iowa. There was nobody to teach English. I started teaching myself to read English. During a little break I’d ask, “Can I go to the library?” and I read every kindergarten book, and then every third grade book, and read until I got to the eighth grade. What were some of the obstacles you faced creating a home here when you left? Well, the fact that my mom said, “Who knew? I studied French in college I should have studied English. I still remember ‘La Marseillaise,’” and I would laugh because she knew this great song in French but who needed French in South Florida back in 1961. What do you love about your island, and what do you miss? The weather! The friendships that I have with all of my amiguitas. Getting home, taking your school uniform off, which was always a little dress in that point in time. No shorts. No flip-flops or sandals. Putting your fun clothes on. So overall, looking back, what I really miss was the sense of security, trust, knowing that somebody— always had my back.
It was 60 years ago and it still gets to me. I always think at 10 years old that was when my childhood ended because I started to become aware. [My cousins] were so afraid that they were going to get thrown out. It was like being on vacation or something. Little did I know that vacation was going to stretch into the rest of my life.
You have lived that. I would like to go back, if nothing else, to pay respects to my grandfather. My grandfather died asking for me on his deathbed, and I wasn’t able to go. I was 14, and that was a tough one, knowing that my grandfather was calling for me because I was the youngest of the three grandchildren and the only girl. I was like his baby.
Have you ever gone back? No, I haven’t, mainly for political reasons. The first time the Pope came to visit Cuba, [in 1998] Fidel was wearing a multithousand-dollar suit and I’m like, really? People are starving, they don’t have aspirin, they don’t have food, they don’t have milk, and this fool is welcoming the Pope wearing this fancy Italian suit? Now, with years, I realize that things haven’t really changed and the embargo is not effective. I don’t blame Cubans who go and visit, especially if they have relatives there.
Oh my God. I’m going to start crying. Sorry.
I remember wearing four different shirts and packing a bunch of things, and because I’m American, they never go through my carry-on bag.
Did your experience coming here affect any of your immediate family members? Your kids, your nieces or nephews? My grandmother was never the same. I remember when I was in high school and college, I used to think I should get some of these stories down. I would try to get her to talk about it or record them or write them down, and she would just start crying because she missed my grandfather so much. The whole family was just torn apart. Cousins and family that we would see practically every day—years and years go by and you don’t see one another because you can’t. In 1991, I got a King Juan Carlos fellowship to go to Spain. One of my cousins who lived in Valencia came to see me. I had not seen him in 15 years. When I left him, he was seven years old; now he was a grown man and graduated from university. It’s like a lifetime was gone. There is absolutely no way to recapture that time lost.
“It’s like a lifetime was gone. There is absolutely no way to recapture that time lost.” —Maria Montalvo
The Home Issue
Alexa, What’s for Dinner?
of the 1880s. Her servants often broke her dishes when cleaning them, and they even broke china that was passed down in her family from the 1600s. So, she invented
Landers, Frary and Clark, a houseware company, created this invention with housewives in mind. 19th century percolators were heated on stove tops or campfires. The electric percolator reduced
a dishwasher to save time. She showed it
the time it took women to make their
at the World’s Columbian Exposition in
coffee and find a reason to live before
1893, and eventually founded a company
Josephine Garis Cochrane was the boss lady
How a century of household technology has changed women’s work
starting their long days of cleaning.
to manufacture it, which we now know as
chopping wood, building and
day ironing. The 1886 edition of Practical
maintaining a fire, and being careful
Housekeeping advised that women make
that aprons and sleeves didn’t catch
time for ironing the day before friends visit
fire. Although the invention of
as to be in a better frame of mind. Heavy
stoves eliminated these hassles, it also
irons had to be repeatedly heated over an
increased the pressure on women to
the handles. And since that was also before permanent-press clothing, there was a lot
multi-step process that started with boiling water, then scrubbing on a washboard, and finally hanging clothing to dry. With washing machines, more women could join
cook more complex meals. Recipes became more varied, magazines published cooking tips, and women were still expected to spend plenty of time preparing meals for their families.
Before the vacuum cleaner, rugs were
Hoover Electric Suction Sweeper
women typically spent many hours per
Before stoves, cooking required
to iron. 42
Before the electric irons we have today,
unusual for women to burn their fingers on
machine. Before that, clothes washing was a
their entire families.
open fire or on the stove, and it wasn’t
in-law) was the first electric washing
the workforce and still have clean outfits for
The Thor (yes, like Miley Cyrus’s brother-
cleaned by beating them with heavy sticks and washing them with water. They were awkward and heavy. William Hoover’s electric vacuum eliminated all of this work and the rest was carpet cleaning history. It’s impossible to imagine wall-to-wall carpeting without this device.
Model D-12 Electric Toaster
Illustrations by Jack King
No more toasting on a griddle or open fire. For a little over $3, and the price of bread, this invention made it easier for women to eat or feed others before going on with their day.
When we think of technology in the household, it’s easy to assume it has made women’s lives easier. It’s not that simple, however. These innovations have made domestic chores safer and more efficient, but women’s workload hasn’t lessened. Instead, home technology has set higher expectations and standards for women. “I’m not trying to say more work for the mother is a bad thing, it’s just not what the
advertisers want to tell us about the impact of these devices,” says Ruth Schwartz Cowan, Ph.D., author of the book More Work for Mother: The Ironies of Household Technology from the Open Hearth to the Microwave.
By Camila Isopo and Emma Jackson
From irons to Alexa, here are 10 technological advances that changed women’s work.
Before the refrigerator, women could only shop for food for a day or two. Ice boxes allowed for cold storage, but required deliveries from an ice man. But now, families who were wealthy enough to afford refrigerators could shop less frequently and have cold storage without the ice.
Sources: All About Coffee, American Heritage’s Invention &
This ubiquitous device was initially cook. It quickly became an essential piece of meal-prepping technology not only in homes, but also in offices and even convenience marts. Buy, zap, eat. What’s not to love?
marketed to unmarried men who couldn’t
An Amazon video introducing Alexa
Technology, ETHW, Golden
highlights daily tasks that no longer need
State Laundry Systems,
to be done: reading the news, playing
History of Refrigeration,
music, setting a timer, and keeping track of
IEEE Spectrum, National
shopping and to-do lists. Now that more
Museum of American
than a quarter of Americans own an Alexa
History, Ruth Cowan, The
or Google Home, women don’t have to
Library of Congress, The
remember everything for everyone in the
State of History, Scientific
household. Perhaps the next version will
American, Smart Home,
answer the question, “Alexa, where did I
leave my keys?” The Home Issue
I am Here Now
How a group of Filipinx artists create a collective home
By Jade Sayson Photographs by Porter McLeod In Filipino culture, everything begins and ends with kapamilya (family). For Filipinx people, this can be difficult to navigate. What happens when you have to choose between your family and your identity? Since 2017, a group of Filipinx American artists called Export Quality Collective has set out to provide a family for its culturally non-conforming members. In Chicago and other cities, they’ve taken on familial roles to create a solid support system for one another, queering gender norms associated with these family roles in the process.
are spoken. This means a lot of cultural diversity within the country and among those who emigrate to the U.S. But the members of Export Quality have one thing in common: they know what it’s like to grow up in an immigrant family with the constant pressure to assimilate, despite layers of rich culture. Echo talked to four of the Chicago-based members about their shifting ideas of identity as a Filipinx community and how their artwork reflects their personal definitions of home.
The Philippines is comprised of more than 7,000 islands, and over 100 dialects
Jerico Domingo First-generation immigrant EQ family role: “Tita” or Aunt
Experiences of home
Drag, video performance, sculpture, fashion design
“It’s always been an uphill battle with my parents. I am not trying to make amends with my parents. I’m just trying to survive and live. But I have been thinking about immigrant mentality and cycles of abuse.” In the collective
“I am a queer, Filipinx, trans, brown person “It’s chosen family. It’s who my closest that uses my body as an amulet against friends are. I’ve never actually felt family the plague of forgetting in a world where with my own family. My parents always colonialism and imperialism reinforce misgender me and I have to correct them, collective amnesia. I’m here to kind but I never have to correct my family. It’s of enlighten people on the histories of just really nice.” traumas that have happened within our country and also within the diaspora.” im.ubae
Wayne Tate Second-generation immigrant EQ family role: “Multo” or Ghost
Experiences of home
Comics, fashion, drag illustration, makeup, “I’m close with my family. But there’s also fashion design, fiber art a lot about myself that my family doesn’t know. I’m out to my mom about being gay “I’ve been doing work with Second Life, or queer, but she doesn’t know anything avatars and video games, and thinking about my gender identity. When you’re about trans bodies—specifically trans living in the West as a person of color, and Filipinx bodies—to better understand especially as someone from an immigrant modes of representation, and how that family, the way that your family views reflects back on how I maneuver life every gender and sexuality is so complicated by day. Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of fashion/ histories of colonization and ‘Catholic drag illustration. I have constructed guilt.’ When you’re coming from an this character named Diaspora, and I’m immigrant family, your parents sacrificed really tied to her and hoping this is a sort so much for you that you have to make of planning process. I still consider the some sacrifices. That’s what it comes down work I’m doing with fashion illustrations to, is assessing what you need and what is to be actual work. But I think that it’s realistic to expect from your family.” done with thinking about the actual drag performance in mind, later on down the In the collective road. So hopefully, I can make that an “After a few years, I realized I’ve mostly actualization.” been assessing my relationship to race and my racial identity as a person of color, but not as a Filipinx person. I was always fixating on the ways that I was different from white peers as opposed to focusing on how I was similar with other people. And I think Export Quality kind of brought that around.” boy.aswang
The Home Issue
Paris Jomadiao First-generation immigrant EQ family role: “Lola” or Grandma
Art practice Mixed-media art, sight installation “I’m really drawn to processes that are meditative, repetitive and accumulative. Accumulation is a big thing in my work. I think that it points back to the whole idea of nesting, using object and material as a way to create a base, and then using that material as a way to take up space. Which, for me, as an immigrant, is a really big stand to make—to take up space—because we’re hardly given a platform when we have something to say or want to say something. We have to take that initiative. So a lot of owning things, to me, is a way to take up and claim space that we otherwise would not have been given, or is otherwise denied to us as people of color.”
Experiences of home “The reason why the concept of home is such a big deal to me is because growing up, despite having everything that I needed, it was a very temporary concept. My parents viewed their time in the U.S. as temporary and they treated it like that. As an adult, I feel like every apartment or home I’ve occupied and lived in is an extension of me trying to reverse that. I’m a big nester. I come into a place and I’m going to make it homey and I’m going to paint the walls and put up my books. I didn’t have those signifiers growing up that signified ‘this is our home.’ It was very stoic and cold.”
In the collective “Being in Export Quality has been really impactful because it forces me to stand outside of myself and realize there are other voices and perspectives. I think that’s the biggest way to keep ourselves open-minded. And it also made me more accepting, surprisingly, of my Filipino identity in a way that didn’t make me angry.” meta.materiality 46
“I think about how there are so many ethnic groups in the Philippines and how different they are, but then we’re still all called ‘Filipino.’” —Vi Viray Bautista
Vi Viray Bautista Second-generation immigrant EQ family role: Formerly “Bunso” or Youngest
Art practice Graphic design “I have a work-in-progress project called “ikami to itamu.” It’s a poster series that focuses in on learning the Kapampangan writing system. I realized that when you’re speaking Ilocano or Tagalog, a lot of people think it’s just a dialect, but it’s actually a whole new culture. I wanted to highlight that with this series. It’s kind of crazy when I think about how there are so many ethnic groups in the Philippines and how different they are, but then we’re still all called ‘Filipino.’”
In the collective
Experiences of home
“There was this one point when we went to a poetry reading and this Filipino poet “I’m close with my family, but they don’t went up to us and was like, ‘Hey, what you know anything about me. There’s this guys have going on right now—you need constant fear of being disowned or being to hold onto that really hard because it’s frowned upon that I don’t want to happen. very rare to have a community like that. To And personally, I don’t need others’ have a collective like this.’ And to this day, I validation for me to identify as whatever think about that constantly.” I identify. I’d rather look at it logically and kind of detach my emotions from it firmgrasp because it is what it is.” The Home Issue
Sweet Home Chicago Songs that remind us of our city By Caroline Pejcinovic Ilustration by Jack King Songs can evoke feelings of nostalgia, comfort, anger or excitement. They have the power to bring back memories and feelings of home. Echo spoke with music industry insiders about the songs that remind them of our home: Chicago. Akeem Asani Clerk at Shuga Records and co-creator of Dasani Boys DJ duo
“Bang’n on King Dr.” by RP Boo “He's one of the most known people to make footwork music in Chicago, and footwork is a really Chicago genre.”
Shawn Campbell “West of Western” by Zapruder Point Founder and general “That song, the moment I get back into manager of CHIRP Radio town, driving up towards my house, that song always comes to mind.”
Jim DeRogatis Co-host of Sound Opinions on WBEZ
“I Don’t Know” by Naked Raygun “One of the greatest punk bands of the pre-Nirvana era. Your life would be richer for knowing them.”
Wanees Zarour Composer and director of the Middle East Music Ensemble at the University of Chicago
My Very Life (the whole album) by Paulinho Garcia “There is a lot of different types of music happening, there is nothing you can strictly call Chicago. The combination of everything here is hard to find in other places.”
Becca Baruc Music program curator at Uncommon Ground
“Follow” by Richie Havens “My parents passed down their folk songs from the '60s and every time I hear it, I want to cry. I think of my mother singing off key; she played it all the time.”
Drew Mitchell Co-owner of 606 Records
Lupe Fiasco’s Food & Liquor (the whole album) by Lupe Fiasco “I'm 42 years old, so I'm an old-school hip-hop kind of guy, but that's a newish artist. It really blew my mind. It makes me think a lot about Chicago, about the West Side.”
MEET THE NEW MEDIA MAKERS This is Frequency TV: The idea generators, media makers, and innovators developing our thoughts for the screen. Frequency TV is the students of Columbia College Chicago bringing you all-original content to inform, entertain, and introduce you to the world of the Columbia College student. Our playlists of digital video programming explore the ideas and interests of the student body. Our content reflects the unique personalities of our producers. Frequency TVâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s work contributes to the fabric of the Columbia College Chicago experience by providing the outlet for students to pursue their professional disciplines, and ignite their creative ingenuity.
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Crafting Comfort Three DIY designers and their unique creations By Bailee Penski and Jade Sayson Photographs by Max Johnson
“I think getting dressed every morning is a performance. I spend two hours getting ready every day.” —Oscar Chavez
Oscar Chavez: The Maximalist Graduated from University of Illinois at Chicago Age: 25 Instagram: @oachavez Inspiration: The Powerpuff Girls, Adrian Piper, Jeremy Scott and the mundane of everyday life. Preferred Material: “Stretch velvet—I have it in every color” along with ostrich feathers, rhinestones and tulle. Process: Stiffening emotion, sketching clothing and experimentation. Where am I?: “I’m not wanting to make in large quantities. I’ve never been interested in becoming a brand. [My clothes] are all extensions of myself.” The Home Issue
“Some pieces, I create for the function and utility of it. Some are all about the silhouette and the way it looks.” —Marissa Macias
Marissa Macias: The Seamstress Graduated from Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design Age: 23 Instagram: @trashboat2paradise Inspiration: Anime, samurais, nature, cycling and so many things. Fruit, food and cooking vegan recipes with her boyfriend, Max.
Preferred Material: Different types of cotton, linen, seersucker and polyester.
Process: Focusing on creating clothing “that’s unisex, adjustable, and can fit multiple people with elements like adjustable straps or wrap pieces.” Planning 50 to 80 percent of the garment and allowing room for problem solving to transform its outcome. Where am I?: “I feel like I’m not quite where I should be developmentally with my clothes and it’s not cohesive enough for me to turn it into a brand, but I’m really excited about everything I’m making.”
“I think my tendency to adorn from floor to ceiling is from the way I was raised.” —Alyx Harch
Alyx Harch: The Wearable Painting Artist Graduated from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago Age: 26 Instagram: @_harch Inspiration: A colorful environment that is visually stimulating, her mom. Preferred Material: Repurposed cotton T-shirts and bleach. Process: Shops solely at thrift stores because they are a “catalog for color.” Cuts up garments to make fiber collages, uses bleach to “paint” and invert original shade. Doing everyday things outside of the studio like swimming, which she did competitively for 14 years, is part of her creative process Where am I?: “I feel like it’s all accidentally happening. I think now that I’ve quit my job and I’ve been making this for money, it has become a brand. And branding helps sell things. I’m like the freaking shirt lady now.” The Home Issue
Sentimental objects provide connections to places left behind By Camila Isopo and Jade Sayson A panadería on 18th Street is an extension of the family that labors in it with love. The dried leaves that stay nailed to the wall by the cashier wait patiently until Palm Sunday, when they’ll be replaced with new ones. A banner of red, white and green makes you reach for a tray, and by the time you see the piñata, you’re grabbing your third concha. These are the objects that tell their narrative—a devotion to their religion, pride in their heritage, and yearning for a good fiesta. Each is sentimental in nature, holding an untold story that sparks questions for the curious. Have you ever dared to peek behind the counter? Panadería Nuevo Leon / Creperia Nuevo Leon Cuisine: Mexican Location: Pilsen Cultural object: Painting of the Virgin Mary
Photograph byJade Sayson
“We bring Mother Mary flowers. And in the church, we celebrate her birthday on December 12. We celebrate her because we say, ‘That’s our mother.’ I think in every[Mexican] family that’s Catholic, I feel they would agree.” —Xiomara Casas, Daughter of Creperia Nuevo Leon’s owner
“The Virgin Mary painting we’ve had for three years. This is our belief [in Mexico] that the Virgin Mary protects our homes and protects us, as well as God and Jesus Christ.” —Artemio Casas, Manager of Panaderia Nuevo Leon
Yum Thai Cuisine: Thai Location: Forest Park Cultural object: Wooden cowbells
“We have these in our house in Thailand. It’s maybe 10 or 15 of them. My mom had Alzheimer’s. She didn’t remember my name, but every time she heard the wind make the sound, she called my name. The other day, the wind blew like crazy. I said, ‘Mama, I hear you.’ So, this is about remembering my mom.” —Valaiporn Pinyo-Nowlan, owner of Yum Thai
Photograph by Hannah Faris Photograph by Hannah Faris Photograph by Hannah Faris
The Gundis Kurdish Kitchen Cuisine: Kurdish/Middle Eastern Location: Lakeview Cultural object: Painting of a Kurdish fighter
“These paintings were done by a friend of ours. Before we opened, we knew they really needed to represent Kurdish life. So they’re each based on real photographs. The one on the left was printed in the Wall Street Journal. That’s a female Kurdish fighter, and that story was based off of when these women went into Afrin, Syria, to liberate the town from ISIS. Stories like this are really prevalent in Kurdish culture. In the painting, she’s in her combat gear, yet she’s wearing this floral headpiece, and that’s very Kurdish.” —Denisse Yavuz, co-owner of Gundis Kurdish Kitchen
Badou Senegalese Cuisine Cuisine: Senegalese/West African Location: Rogers Park Cultural object: West African paintings
“These images represent what we are about here. It gives a cultural setting to customers who come to the restaurant because we are not only serving food. They’re coming here to discover Senegalese culture, the way of life in Senegal.” —Badara “Badou” Diakhate, owner of Badou
The Home Issue
How recipes create connections to family, culture and tradition By Ariana Portalatin
“Like this. Don’t bring your hands up. Do it like you’re washing clothes.” My grandfather leans over the kitchen sink, lifting and rubbing the grains of rice together to remove the starch. Not everyone washes their rice, he tells me, but it’s best to do so because starch isn’t good for our bodies.
I watch as he puts ingredients one by one into the pot: olive oil, sazón, sofrito, salt, cumin, garlic paste. The working man in him performs each movement with intention, not hesitation. He confidently pours the last bits of a Sweet Baby Ray’s barbecue sauce bottle into the pot, to my complete disbelief. “This gives it a little better taste,” he says. Still surprised, I text my dad asking if he knew about this. He quickly responds with an exploding head emoji and “I had no idea. It’s like a secret recipe. I’ve never seen his ingredients.”
My grandfather doesn’t take the easy way out when it comes to cooking. Every detail matters, even for a dish as simple as arroz con gandules, or rice with pigeon peas. It’s a staple in Puerto Rican households, a recipe he learned from his mother when he was just nine years old, living in the island’s countryside.
He pours out the cloudy water and refills the bowl. He lets me do the third rinse while he heats a caldero on the stove. When he learned, he says, smiling, his family cooked over charcoal because they didn’t have a stove.
I love hearing my grandfathers’ stories of growing up in Puerto Rico. He left school at the age of 12 to help support his parents and nine siblings. He’s been working ever since, and is now a longtime property manager and business owner. Despite his lack of formal education, he is one of the wisest people I know, and one of the best cooks as well. He taught me resilience and motivation, and how to make something out of nothing. But I had yet to learn a single recipe from him. I was determined to change that.
He asks me to send him the recipe because he’s always liked grandfather’s rice best. I wondered why he never asked my grandfather for it himself. My dad already had experience with lost recipes. Seven years after my great-grandmother’s death, he and my aunt have yet to nail down some of her most loved recipes. Hard as they’ve tried, the dishes never taste exactly the same. The thought of it alone makes me nervous: not taking advantage of the opportunity to learn from my grandparents before it’s too late. This is a mistake many people make, including archivist and author Valerie J. Frey, who turned her loss into an opportunity to help herself and others. Frey began cooking at a young age and has always been fascinated by the process of preparing a meal. She remembers working with her mom in the kitchen, creating tables of food for family reunions.
“This gives it a little better taste,” my grandfather says.
Arroz con Gandules Rice with Pigeon Peas Ingredients: 2 cups white rice 2 tablespoons olive oil 3 tablespoons sofrito 1 tablespoon garlic paste 1 tablespoon barbecue sauce 1 teaspoon salt 2 packets Sazón seasoning 1 teaspoon cumin 1 teaspoon oregano 1 (15 ounce) can gandules with water
Cooking Instructions: 1. Wash and rinse rice thoroughly to get
6. Add gandules with liquid to pot and stir.
rid of starch.
2. Pour olive oil into large pot. Heat pot
Let ingredients come to a boil.
7. Slowly add 1 ½ cups of water to the pot.
on low to medium heat. 8. Let rice cook while occasionally stirring
3. Add sofrito, garlic paste, barbecue sauce,
until most of the water is absorbed.
salt, sazón, cumin and oregano to pot. 9. Cover with lid. Cook on low heat for
4. Let ingredients simmer for about
10 minutes, stirring occasionally. 10. Stir, serve and enjoy.
5. Add rice to pot and stir to mix rice
with ingredients. The Home Issue
3 tablespoons sofrito
1 can pigeon peas
I watch as he puts ingredients one by one into the pot: olive oil, sazón, sofrito, salt, cumin, garlic paste. Then both of her parents suddenly passed away, and she realized she was missing key components to keep her family members’ memories alive.
1 tablespoon garlic paste
1 tablespoon bbq sauce
“I realized in my early 20s what some people don’t realize until their 60s or 70s when their parents die,” Frey says. “A lot of people trust that their parents are going to record their grandparents’ stories, but I knew my parents weren’t going to be around to do that, so it was all up to me.” That’s when she began collecting research and artifacts and became fascinated by her family’s recipes, or lack thereof. She spent years discovering and recreating recipes from immediate and extended family, which led her to pursue archiving as a career. During her lectures, where she shared best practices and tips for preserving artifacts and recipes, she noticed a common topic of interest among attendees. “It was the recipes people wanted to talk about because they had seen books with genealogy information and hints, but there didn’t seem to be information out there about how you capture a recipe, especially if it’s not written down. And what if it doesn’t work when you try to use it?” Frey says.
These questions run through many anxious minds. The influence of family recipes is large, and the weight can be felt for generations.
2 tablespoons olive oil
David E. Sutton, Ph.D., a professor of anthropology at Southern Illinois University who has studied cooking and recipes since the 1980s, says food and recipes play a role in all cultures. “Food is woven into so many aspects of our lives,” Sutton says. “In many countries, food just plays such a central role, not just in your everyday life, but in your ritual life. In some cultures, you literally become kin by eating together.”
Cooking for someone is a powerful act, Sutton adds. “You’ve put your own labor into that, so it’s a different kind of gift than sharing something that you didn’t make yourself. And so that adds an extra kind of an emotional connection to it.” But there’s a difference between cooking for someone and cooking with someone. Only by preparing food together can the recipes, not just the memories of the food, be preserved. Frey compares recipes with family stories. “Most people can remember little shreds of stories and they’ll think, ‘I wish I had written down my grandmother’s stories.’ But when you start talking about how much you miss her apple pie or her pickles, the thought you’ll never taste that again really captivates a lot of people.”
2 cups white rice
Frey now teaches family recipes to her 10-year-old son by cooking with him while sharing stories of his ancestors. “My son didn’t get to meet [my grandparents], but he knows them a little bit through their food,” she says. “We have pictures and photographs around, but he knows when we make the little pecan pies on Thanksgiving that that was his Nana’s recipe.” Even if a cookbook recipe is used, Frey recommends writing notes inside the cookbook as reminders of how certain steps in the recipe should be done or personal touches made to the original recipe. When searching for a lost family recipe, Frey recommends looking to family and community members. Often, recipes are given to the oldest sibling, a new bride or someone leaving home for the first time. Frey also found her family recipes in old copies of newspapers, community cookbooks and churches.
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon cumin
The process of discovering and mastering a recipe can lead to a whole new understanding of familial connections. “If I didn’t bother to do those family recipes, I don’t know that I’d bother to tell the stories either,” Frey said. “It recalls in my mind when I’m making those recipes and using those ingredients and thinking about the times when I was a kid and I saw them being made in the kitchen. It just brings it all to a very immediate place where we think to share it.”
1 teaspoon salt
2 packets sazón seasoning
The Home Issue
echo magazine | home
whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s inside Portrait of a Recluse
Despite our Differences
The Ripple Effect
Dear East Side
Easing the Pain
Art Behind Bars
Taste of Argentina
Portrait of a Recluse
My neighbor traveled the world, then withdrew into her own By Hannah Faris Photographs by Hannah Faris
My apartment building is a concrete behemoth with more than 1,400 residents. Despite being packed to capacity, its hallways are always empty. There’s an almost eerie silence that pervades the halls of River City, the product of a thousand strangers living side by side, above and below, yet rarely seeing one another. But behind every closed door is a story, and sometimes these stories offer profound moments of communion with someone you once thought to be a stranger. For me, that someone was my neighbor Judith. Judith leaves her apartment just once a day to pick up groceries from the convenience store in the basement of our building. Her apartment is 800-square-feet of towering, sagging boxes and stacks of dusty recyclables. Her furniture, or what’s visible of it beneath mounds of unopened magazines and unpaid bills, consists mainly of Arabic pieces from her years of living abroad. Judith once traveled the world; now she's withdrawn into her own. “It’s a little messy. I didn’t have time to clean this morning,” she whispers to me through the slit of her safety-chained door. “And please, take your shoes off.”
When she opens the door, the blockade of boxes lining her entrance hall leave a narrow space for me to squeeze through. At first, the sight of Judith’s apartment is overwhelming, and I stand frozen in shock, struggling to process it all. Mountains of cans, wrappers, and other plastics are piled on every visible surface. Sliding my thumb across a thick, sticky layer of grime, I find food expiration labels dating back to 2011. Hundreds of packages precariously piled to the ceiling create a sense of claustrophobia. The space seems to shrink before my eyes. Unopened rent, medical and electrical bills are strewn throughout the wreckage, along with a discarded letter from a brother who hasn’t heard from her in years. Beneath this clutter, however, lie hidden treasures Judith has preserved from when she traveled the world. As she guides me through her space, she plucks out piece after piece, stringing together stories into an overarching narrative of her life.
“It’s a little messy. I didn’t have time to clean this morning. And please, take your shoes off.”
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She can recall with perfect clarity minute details dating back three decades, but often forgets what she told me only five minutes earlier. She talks with a sense of urgency, desperate to speak into existence every last recollection. I get the impression that she hasn’t spoken intimately with another person in years and is unsure when she’ll be able to again. “Since I was a child, I’ve loved languages. My father studied German and was always teaching me little songs. I still remember them all,” she recalls. Growing up in the small town of Macomb, Illinois, Judith longed to see the world. At the age of 15, she traveled to Switzerland to study German and French at an international language school. She remembers meeting children from all over the world, further fueling her passion for language and global exploration. She then went on to study German in college, but took a year off to live in Germany and backpack around Europe. After she graduated, Judith left Illinois to teach German in a central Indiana High School. “I’m sorry, but high school kids are awful,” she says. “They’re hard to discipline. The salary was low. It was kind of like juggling 10 things just to teach the class.” After three years of teaching, she returned to Chicago to pursue a masters degree in linguistics at the University of Illinois at Chicago. It was here where she met the man who would one day become her husband.
Jeffrey was a linguistics professor. As a graduate student, Judith often assisted him in the classroom. Their relationship was strictly platonic. “In the beginning, he annoyed the crap outta me, but we hit it off right away,” Judith reminisces warmly.
“Since I was a child, I’ve loved languages. My father studied German and was always teaching me little songs. I still remember them all.”
“He was an intellectual, traveled a lot, funny, cute… but we were just friends.” Together they attended movies, symphonies, and the dance floors of the '80s disco era. For a time they were inseparable, “but then he wanted to go back overseas.” Jeffrey and Judith both accepted jobs teaching English as a second language. His job took him to Kuwait, and Judith’s to a Japanese school in Skokie. For years they lived thousands of miles apart, keeping in touch through letters and postcards. Over his nine years abroad, their communication faded, and they both pursued other romantic relationships. "I had a lot of boyfriends back then. I was young and thin and cute,” Judith says. As fate would have it, Jeffrey returned to Chicago just as Judith was ending an engagement. When she heard he was back in town, she got in touch with her old friend.“I was too chicken to call him, so I sent him a Christmas card with my phone number on it,” she says, giggling bashfully and hiding her face in her hands.
To her delight, Jeffrey called a week later, and they spent hours on the phone reconnecting. He was everything she had remembered. They arranged to meet for lunch the next day. “I saw him, and he saw me, and all of a sudden, we fell in love,” she says. “We sat there for four hours just looking in each other’s eyes.” But soon after this reunion, Judith accepted a job teaching English in Japan. She left the city to pursue a job “a million gazillion” miles away, and they spent the next four years saving money to visit each other and writing letters every week. Judith says she has saved them all—more than 100 love letters— in a box, but she can no longer find them in her apartment.
“I saw Jeffrey, and he saw me, and all of a sudden, we fell in love. We sat there for four hours just looking in each other’s eyes.”
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Unable to bear the distance, Judith returned to Chicago. She and Jeffrey married in the basement of the Cook County Court House and moved into a tiny studio apartment. They slept on a pull-out couch, and had nothing but each other and some trinkets from their travels abroad. But they were happy. Then tragedy struck. Early one morning, Judith awoke to find Jeffrey having a seizure on the floor, foaming at the mouth and choking on his tongue. She rode with him in the ambulance to the hospital, never leaving his side. After days of tests, they learned Jeffrey had a golf ball-sized tumor in the center of his brain, too deep to be operated on. He immediately began daily radiation treatments, and for three weeks Judith visited him every day, spending hours at his bedside. At the end of the third week, Jeffrey slipped into a coma. After another week, he died. They had been married only five months. For a year, Judith lived with crippling depression. Without family or friends in the state, her only support in this time of grief came from Jeffrey’s mother. “It was the kind of grief where I had to go on medication so I didn’t commit suicide—it was that overwhelming,” Judith sighs, staring blankly out the window. Eventually, Judith decided that she would find closure and celebrate Jeffrey’s life by moving to the Middle East. She found a job teaching English in Kuwait, and left Chicago again. “I wanted to honor my husband,” Judith recalls softly, grasping a bracelet of Islamic prayer beads that Jeffrey had once gifted to her.
For the next six years, Judith traveled around Kuwait, Iran and Oman, mastering Arabic and becoming immersed within the culture. There, she experienced more love and heartbreak; Judith’s father and brother died within a few months of each other. Unable to leave the country due to visa issues, she didn’t attend either funeral.
Jeffrey died. They had been married for only five months.
In 2003, after so much loss and grief, Judith moved back to Chicago for the last time, bringing with her two street cats she rescued in Kuwait. She moved into our building, and began drawing more and more inward. Soon after returning, her mother died. By 2015, both cats had died too. For the past four years, she has felt totally and completely alone. “I used to walk everywhere. I used to be so mobile, but now I can’t,” Judith says, sitting amid the clutter. For the past three years, her knees have been in terrible pain, but she hasn’t pursued surgery yet. With nobody to help her during the recovery, she may never do it.
And that brings us back to the present, back to an apartment building she hasn’t left in almost three years. Her apartment is so packed with memories of pain and love, she leaves little space for herself. Her queen-size bed has barely enough space for her body. From her bedroom to the kitchen, she has carved a narrow trail that she struggles to walk down. She can’t bear to part with any of this stuff. Whether it be cat food cans or candy wrappers, she refuses to throw it out. When our conversation turns to tales of her travels, she dives into this debris searching for buried treasure: an amulet of the Hamsa Hand, an ivory Misbaha, and a prayer box from Abu Dhabi. Holding these items up to the light, she carefully wipes them clean, turning them over in her fingers, feeling every texture and contour in their intricate designs. For a moment, the apartment around her fades away. For a moment, she is at peace.
Ways to help What can you do if someone you know has become reclusive? I spoke with Lisa Campbell, Psy.D., a psychologist at Willow Wellness Center in Park Ridge who specializes in aging, about social isolation in older adults.
And then the coffee runs out, or one of us becomes too tired to continue talking. I say a goodbye to her through the slit in her safety-chained door as I put my shoes on in the hallway. I walk back to my apartment, down these silent halls lined with hundreds of closed doors.
According to Campbell, loneliness can be a root cause. Over time, it can have physical effects, and lead to depression, anxiety and stress. “Try to understand what’s really going on, what’s keeping them from being active and going out to do the things they used to do,” she says. “There are practical things you can do, but it takes some curiosity about what may be standing in the way of this person connecting with other people.”
You can focus on: >> Expanding mobility. The lack of accessible transportation can deter individuals from going out. Offering a ride or money for the bus may motivate them to get out of the house.
>> Assisting with errands. This can help individuals who feel overwhelmed with tasks cut down some of the mental and emotional clutter.
>> Extending the invitation. Invite them over for coffee or a walk in the park, and don’t be offended if they decline. Always leave the door open for socializing, and respect when they want their own space.
>> Asking questions. Don’t assume you know everything. Allow them a space to speak comfortably and feel heard.
>> Providing compassion and support. Make yourself available when someone who has withdrawn opens up their world to you. Doing so may change their life, and it will change yours.
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Despite Our Differences The stigmas and challenges of cross-cultural romances By Megan Perrero Illustrations by Adam Barkey & Jack King
“This isn’t going to be easy,” Anas said to me when we started dating. He warned me that people might not approve and that his family couldn’t know about us. After all, he was a Pakistani Muslim and I was a white, American agnostic. We felt close, but our families were worlds apart. Miscegenation laws ended in the United States in 1967. Since then, interracial marriage rates have grown from 3 percent of newlyweds to 17 percent in 2015, according to the Pew Research Center. Eighteen percent of “cohabiters” were also in interracial marriages in 2017. Anas and I didn’t yet fall into either of those groups, but we might one day, and we had to seriously consider if being together would be worth the challenges.
It’s a dilemma we share with other young couples, like Cass Matti, 22, and Jon Toma, 25, of Michigan. While they’re both Catholic, Cass is a Chaldean Catholic from Iraq, and Jon’s parents are white. Cass and Jon were together for eight months before their relationship finally ended due to their differences. Sarah and Tyler, both 23, who live in central Illinois, are still together but so careful about protecting their relationship from a fallout with their families that they requested their names be changed for this story. Sarah is a hijab-wearing Muslim from India, and Tyler is a white Catholic. They’ve been dating for almost two years. What could Anas and I learn from these
couples, where the struggle for acceptance could strain a cross-cultural relationship? I set out to find some answers. Different dating conventions One of the first strains in cross-cultural relationships can come from cultural attitudes toward dating. Even though they were in college, Cass lived at home and could only see John once a week without her parents getting suspicious. “I had to explain that my parents are super strict,” Cass says. By contrast, Jon’s parents considered the two of them adults. Cass eventually moved out of her parents’ home, but she was shocked by how welcoming Jon’s family was. “The fact that I was able to sleep over in his bed with him and his parents knew that The Home Issue
and did not care. What?!” Her parents, by contrast, didn’t even know they were dating because of their religion’s strict rules. She was hesitant to tell Jon about this part of her culture for fear he wouldn’t understand. This backfired when Jon was disappointed he wasn’t able to meet her family. Sarah and Tyler also kept their relationship a secret at first, seeking to avoid family disapproval. “I was very cautious because [I thought] either it’s going to have to be a secret and I’m not going to be able to pursue it, or we’re going to have to break up before her parents find out,” Tyler says. Avoiding parental disapproval is understandable, but not a good idea. “If it is necessarily common for a couple to hide something from the family that they know the family would disapprove of... typically it tends to come back to bite the couple,” says Linda Young, Ph.D., a senior scholar with the Council on Contemporary Families. “It’s better to be upfront with the family about what’s going on.”
Young says that sometimes, silence comes from a fear of being figuratively or literally excommunicated. “If one person grows up in a conservative religious foundation that is very different from the partner, that religious community may decide you’re no longer a part of them because you have broken one
of the tenants of the belief system by going outside,” Young says. “That person would have to be prepared to lose a lot.” It’s best to tell parents about the relationship because, at some point, they will find out. And the longer the relationship is hidden, the more resentful they will feel about the secrecy, Young says. “If you go ahead and be upfront about what you’re not ashamed of, what you support, what your values are, and as a couple, [show] by example how you thrive even in the face of adversity” the family is more likely to eventually accept the relationship, Young says. When Sarah and Tyler finally told her parents about their relationship, they weren’t pleased. Her parents feared their grandchildren wouldn’t be raised Muslim. For this reason, Sarah and Tyler felt pressure to have serious conversations they weren’t ready for. “We talked about how we would potentially raise kids, which I don’t think most relationships here in the States would have within one year,” Sarah says. Tyler says their relationship became more serious quickly because of the differences in their religon. Kelly Campbell, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at California State University at San Bernardino, warns that these serious conversations can stall a relationship. “I think
It’s best to tell parents about the relationship because, at some point, they will find out. And the longer the relationship is hidden, the more resentful they will feel.
it is more likely to slow things down and make the step to marriage take longer because they withhold their partner from their family for a long time, not knowing whether to fully settle down considering their family’s views,” Campbell says in an email. Straining existing relationships As much as Cass bristled at the restrictions her family put on her, she didn’t want to hurt her parents or feel distant from them. But conflict was inevitable. “Around Christmas or so it would start fights because I would go to his family’s stuff and he wouldn’t come to mine,” she says. “It was never really me [bringing it up] because he thought it was me and not my family.” Campbell explains how difficult it can be to balance this situation, especially since both Cass and Jon were close to their parents. “People can find themselves living a double life and not being able to spend important holidays with all the people they love because they have to choose one over the other,” Campbell says. Eventually, rejection by her family was a factor in Cass and Jon’s breakup. He was too hurt by the rejection, and she couldn’t do anything to fix it. “Either you’re OK with it or you’re not,” Cass says. “He said he was, but he didn’t act like it.” By contrast, Sarah and Tyler have been
able to stay together because they have found common ground in defending their relationship from external disapproval. “I think whatever the differences were, we still had a connection,” Sarah says. “Being able to be honest about those differences, I think, even fostered the connection more.” Young recommends being as open as possible with parents about the importance of the relationship. “It’s going to be hard for a parent to say, ‘Yes, I want you to be happy, but I want you to be happy in the way that I am happy,’” she says. “They’ll understand how silly that sounds, hopefully.” It’s also important to be open about your differences with each other. Over time, Sarah and Tyler began seeing the world through each other’s eyes. If people stare at Sarah because she wears a hijab, Tyler notices. “People look at her very suspiciously, as if she’s planning to do them harm, which is really upsetting,” Tyler says. Sarah says she appreciates his concern. “Part of it is protection because he doesn’t want me to be in a bad situation,” she says. “And part of it is shock and anger that this goes on.”
someone and also start to encounter the world through their lenses because we’re with them, it opens up a whole new space for being curious about, for questioning and for accepting things that you may never have thought about, had a vocabulary for, or had feelings about even,” Young says. “So empathy grows from that.” It has been harder for Anas to bring me into his community because of his religious upbringing. He carefully chose which friends I’d meet first because some just wouldn’t approve. And meeting his family was out of the question, at least for the next few years. This was difficult because I felt like our relationship was a secret Anas didn’t want anyone to know about. Anas, however, sees it as part of the process. “I think I’m slowly transitioning into ‘this is my life’, you know?” he says. We knew we weren’t ready to get married or have kids, but we wanted to know if we could ever be on the same page if the time came.
When family finds out Fear of family disapproval can put a huge strain on a relationship. In my case, Anas’ mom accidentally found out we were dating, and she wasn’t pleased. His family wants him to focus on creating a life for himself instead. “You could be Angelina Jolie and they’d be like, ‘You need to become a doctor,’” he explains. It was a harsh reality, but no surprise. Anas had told me that gaining acceptance from his family would be a long and sometimes difficult process. I’ve tried to stay patient, but I still have my moments of frustration, especially because Anas has met my entire immediate family. Cass and Jon had a similar situation but kept the secret longer. “The whole duration my parents didn’t know I had a boyfriend,” Cass says. “He could only meet my brother, and it really frustrated him that I knew his whole family.” But near the end of their relationship, one of her aunts had a suspicion and told Cass’ mother. By then, the strain on the relationship was too great, and they broke up shortly after.
This isn’t an uncommon situation for cross-cultural couples to find themselves in. “When we’re close to someone and love
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Despite the differences
Sarah’s parents asked Tyler how he would plan to raise children if he and Sarah were to marry. “This is so different from anything they anticipated and they’re handling it as best they can,” she says.
Sarah and Tyler say that focusing on This is true for me, too. I’ve laughed at how their mutual commitment to their ridiculous “white culture” can be. I’ve tried families has been the key to them staying new foods and become more comfortable with together. “That’s what I think should be having my ideas and beliefs challenged. And the underlying principle of his and my despite all the difficult challenges we’ve faced, relationship and the way we interact with our this has all been worth it. In Young’s words, families,” Sarah says. Over time, the strain “There’s a gift to it.” with their parents has eased, too. “It was more of how can we learn more about his person and support our daughter and help her be as happy as possible,” Tyler says.
Tyler agrees, saying he had a narrow view of parental approval. “I think that her parents have been pretty great,” Tyler says. "They legitimately care for me and care about my well being.”
Allison Skinner, Ph.D., a postdoctoral researcher at Northwestern University who studies how prejudice is formed and maintained, says Sarah’s parents’ reaction is not surprising. “When we’re talking about a group that has historically been oppressed, [and] having a relationship with a member of the historically [dominant] group, that can definitely feel particularly like a betrayal,” Skinner says.
Even though Anas and I still feel the strain of family disapproval, we appreciate how much we’ve learned and grown by being together. “You pointed out things in myself that I didn’t know,” Anas says. “You challenged me. I like a challenge, [so] I’ve personally enjoyed it.”
Tyler and Sarah learned that both of their families’ greatest fears centered on losing their religions. “They were assuming things like I was going to convert to Islam, or I was going to have to abandon my family and not associate myself with the Catholic church anymore,” Tyler says.
Even though Cass and Jon’s relationship came to an end, she feels it strengthened her relationship with her parents. “My family is much more OK with me being with a white person now,” she says.
Anas has come to appreciate how our cultural differences changed him, too. “Opening up to people who were white was definitely an obstacle, let alone dating somebody and trusting that person,” Anas admits. “It took me time to become vulnerable to somebody I like, especially somebody with a different background than me.
The Ripple Effect How substance abuse spreads damage far beyond the addict By Caroline Pejcinovic Illustrations by Maggi Eachus
More than five million Americans ages 18 to 25 battle substance abuse (also known as substance use disorder), according to 2017 statistics from the American Addiction Centers. In turn, their addiction can affect every person in contact with them, physically and mentally. “You might end up with a spouse taking over all the finances, all the bill paying, while the addict or the substance abuser is vacant in the family,” says Dan Hostetler, executive director of Above and Beyond Family Recovery Center in Chicago. “So you might end up with one spouse taking over both spouses’ parenting duties.” Addiction spreads through an entire family, manifesting as shame, grief, anger, depression and loss. It can also push others away if they find out. “It’s like you opened up your closet and [said], ‘Here’s my skeleton,’ and some people are going to run,” says Emily, who discovered a man she was dating was going through rehab. (Her name has been changed for privacy.) Emily was willing to understand her partner’s complexities and move through these hardships with him. But many family and friends aren’t able to handle the setbacks and speed bumps.
Meredith McQuiston, associate therapist at Hawthorne Tree Psychotherapy in Chicago, advises family members to try to understand whether there’s a deeper mental health issue underlying the substance abuse. “I very often ask clients, ‘Can you look back in your family history or your family’s past regarding one or two people where there were some unknowns about them?’ That gives a lot of insight into what is either substance abuse, mental health, or both,” she says. To help families cope, Hostetler uses a genogram—a map that details medical history and family relationships and reactions—to explain how a loved one dealing with substance abuse affects those around them, directly or indirectly. By following the genogram, a family can understand who is most directly affected and use this to change behaviors in the family. Instead of compensating for the addict, this chart can be used to help family and friends revise previous methods of recovery and prevent contributing to relapse.
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People struggling with substance abuse may change their behavior, including missing work or school, and withdrawing from family and friends. Those actions radiate outwards.
Partner A partner can be confused by these changes. They may be forced to support the person emotionally and financially while receiving no support in return. They may miss work or pull away from friends and family who disapprove of the relationship, but don’t know how to help. Appropriate responses depend on the individual situation, but communication is essential. “After we had moved in together, I caught him redhanded,” Emily recalls. “I told him ‘I love you,’ but I walked out.”
Parents tend to enable their child’s misbehaviors, Hostetler says. They may avoid the issue and hope it goes away on its own. Instead, parents should educate themselves about the addiction and help their child find (and perhaps fund) a rehabilitation service, a therapist or a detox center.
Pam Lanhart, director of Thrive Family Support in Burnsville, Minnesota, recommends family members first become educated on the disease and find a therapist or family coach to help mediate the family healing process. “In fact, if we start working on our own recovery first, oftentimes they can make the process go quicker,” Lanhart says. “And we can start doing that before the loved one finds treatment.”
Addicts may regard the home as a place where they are entitled to privacy, even when abusing substances. This needs to be redefined. Creating a space where drugs or alcohol aren’t allowed eases the minds of others who live in the home, too, allowing a space to feel safe for everyone. Melissa Evers, a former substance abuser and peer recovery specialist at NUWAY in St. Paul, Minnesota, recommends conversing with the substance abuser about their needs. “Communication is key. The first year I came home and the family stopped drinking, I was embarrassed,” Evers says. “One of the most helpful things is to communicate that this is what the person wants. I didn’t want to trouble anybody because I had already troubled everyone so much.”
It can be difficult to know where or when to seek help. These three organizations can help and offer referrals to other services. Above and Beyond, located in East Garfield Park, offers free weekly meetings for users and families as well as other resources. 773.940.2960 Smart Recovery in Lincoln Square holds free Family and Friends support meetings every Thursday. firstname.lastname@example.org Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation in the Near North Side works with individuals paying out of pocket as well as insurance providers to
find the lowest cost for treatment. 312.943.3534
When someone suffering from substance abuse pulls away from their family, friends can be the first to help. Friends need to know the difference between enabling behavior and support. “Do the same thing that you would expect them to do: reach out for help, have options available and approach that conversation with generosity,” McQuiston says.
Siblings or Children
Siblings and children may either get too consumed in trying to help, or else avoid dealing with an affected loved one.
Extended family often reveal that the addiction is not an isolated case. “Trauma is passed down. People who come from dysfunctional families have a tendency to have those ‘dysfunctions,’ regardless of how they got it, through genes or conditioning, or just growing up in that environment,” Hostetler says. “If a parent has a substance use disorder, the children are much more inclined to have a substance use disorder.”
“There’s the fixer, always running in to try to attempt to fix things or you might end up with one who is a brilliant student who retreats into school, or one that falls off the deep end and mimics the bad behavior being exhibited. It really distorts the family in a unique way every single time,” Hostetler says.
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Easing the pain
How one organization confronts childhood trauma By Ariana Portalatin
Photograph by Porter McLeod
Tucked into the austere architecture of the Illinois Medical District is a colorful building painted bright shades of yellow, pink, purple and blue. The sidewalk grid yields to a curvy walkway and a green lawn. Inside, the beige walls give way to a dark blue dome painted with a deep sea mural. The building’s figure-eight shape rules out dead ends, and the many low-set windows make it easy for young kids to see the playground and garden outside. Everything about the center fits one purpose: ensuring the well-being of children. The children it serves are healing from wounds that can be as enduring as they are invisible. They are victims of sexual violence. Designed for Healing
The Chicago Children's Advocacy Center was founded in 1998 and opened the doors to its 24,000-square-foot facility in 2001. Since then, it has served more than 34,000 children. Not only is it the leading center, it’s the only center of its kind in the city.
Despite the difficult discussions that take place inside, the building is inviting. The halls feature bright murals and colorful furniture. As I walk the halls with Jessica Mayo, ChicagoCAC’s communications officer, a brown, long-haired therapy dog in training named Mac greets me with a red chew toy in his mouth. The center’s
13 therapists work with about 2,000 children a year, along with their families or caregivers. Julia Matson, a senior bilingual therapist at the center, has been at ChicagoCAC for six years. She provides individual and group therapy sessions with survivors—some as young as two years old—and their caregivers. “I’ve always been interested in trauma work,” Matson says. “I just have a real passion for helping people on their healing journey and getting to accompany them through [it].” The children who come to the center frequently have experienced multiple traumas. “They have experienced violence in their community. They’ve experienced violence in the home, maybe a death in the family,” says Trevor Peterson, chief external affairs officer. “Within our mental health program in particular, over 80% of the children Julia [Matson] and her team will see in a given year are victims of multiple traumatic events.” This can make the treatment complex and unique for each person. According to the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, the more time spent in dangerous environments, the more difficult it is for children to recover from trauma. These experiences can impact children’s perception of danger, including enhancing their concerns about danger to themselves and others. That’s why referrals to ChicagoCAC are so important.
Everything about the center fits one purpose: ensuring the well-being of children. The children it serves are healing from wounds that can be as enduring as they are invisible. These may be made by the Chicago Police Department, the Department of Public Health, or the Department of Children and Family Services. It’s also why the ChicagoCAC is intentional about every detail of its facility, from the animal-shaped furniture to the line of bags along the wall filled with food items, which children and their caregivers are welcome to take home.
Opening Up Matson says she often starts by meeting with caregivers or family first to learn more about a child and their experiences. When she meets the child, she is completely transparent as part of her effort to gain their trust. This includes being honest about why they are there, and showing them around her office, even opening up all her drawers and cabinets so they know there are no secrets. Sometimes, it takes a long time before a child can relax and open up. “I had a client who would sit in a corner completely hunched over and frozen and wouldn’t look at me at all for a month,” she says. “We just very slowly and very quietly sat in that space together. I still remember the first time he said my name, which was months into therapy when he could look up and acknowledge me.” Once a relationship is formed, the healing process can begin. The center gives therapists freedom and flexibility to find treatment methods that work for each client. For Matson, this often includes art therapy, such as drawing self-portraits, or expressing themselves through music and movement. “We don’t have a strict manualized approach that we need to follow,” she says. “That gives me the freedom to take the time that we need to build trust and relationship with my clients, which for
some of them can take years just to do that, to feel safe in a room with somebody.” Working with traumatized children is difficult, and Matson sometimes feels overwhelmed. “Some things that are helpful to me in those moments are consulting with colleagues who I find supportive and understanding and maintaining connections with my own family,” she says. “I started doing art again recently and that’s been really useful.” Expanding Awareness In addition to treating victims of abuse, ChicagoCAC helps to craft, support or oppose legislation related to protecting children. Supporting all this work is costly. Peterson says the center’s budget currently stands at about $6.5 million, with funds provided at the local, state and federal level and with the help of fundraisers and other donations. Securing grants is complicated by the difficulty of producing data about the effectiveness of ChicagoCAC’s trauma treatment. “Those studies, admittedly, can be difficult sometimes because our interaction with children can be relatively brief in the grand scheme of a child’s life,” Peterson says. “There are a lot of factors that impact children that we have no control over, and studies require controls, and it’s difficult to do that.”
Still, as awareness of sexual violence and its impact grows, the importance of the work done at ChicagoCAC becomes easier to explain. “We as a culture, as a society, we’re not willing to talk about sexual violence, particularly sexual violence against children,” Peterson says about the past. “That has definitely changed in the last two to three years where people are much more open to talking about this, addressing this and thinking about how to do this as a community, as a neighborhood, as a household, as a city and as a society overall.” But those familiar with ChicagoCAC’s work consider it essential. “The service they provide to families who are really in moments of crisis is really unparalleled,” says Tali Raviv, Ph.D., a pediatric psychologist at Lurie Children’s Hospital who credits the center with helping to raise awareness about the prevalence of sexual abuse and how to identify and prevent it. “They are really critical to promote health and safety and awareness of trauma and sexual abuse in particular.” The Home Issue
Golden light floods through the windows, gleaming on rows of empanadas in a glass display case. South American music plays softly in the back of the shop, where a butcher is chopping lamb legs for a customer, who watches intently. The butcher hums along to the sound as if he, the knife hitting the cutting board, and the song on the radio all work in unison to create a charming melody. The space is stacked floor to ceiling with produce, pastas, meats, sweets and teas. The aisles have their designated countries of origin: Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, Mexico and Peru. For over 40 years, these shelves have been continuously replenished by popular demand. El Mercado Food Mart was first owned by Cuban immigrant Antonio Lopez. In 1981, he sold it to Argentine Rodolfo Di Sapio, who had worked as the shop’s butcher for four years. Because Di Sapio wasn’t fluent in English, he hired his bilingual soccer friend, Aldo Pagnanelli, as manager. Together, the two decorated the entirety of the shop in Argentine fashion, and it has
remained that way for the past four decades. After Di Sapio passed away in 2014, his son, Sergio Di Sapio, took ownership. Diego Maradona posters still hang on the walls, Spanish newspapers featuring Pope Francis flood the magazine racks, and calabash gourds line the shelves behind the counter. “We sell T-shirts from Argentina, and we have hats. We try to keep an Argentinian style,” says Pagnanelli as he points to the FIFA World Cup merchandise. “We are trying to keep it the same way as we had it down there.” The Lakeview neighborhood this shop calls home has gone from a place of boarded up homes and factories to a bustling neighborhood during the shop’s 40-year run. “Back in 1979 when we were here, it was a pretty bad neighborhood,” Pagnanelli recalls. “We were robbed three times.”
When rent began to rise, he says, the shenanigans subsided. The neighborhood turned family-friendly, with boutiques and high-end restaurants. But the shop remained very much the same, except for
the addition of empanadas in the ‘90s. Business flourished. Since then, Southport has become known for its empanada shops, with El Mercado starting the trend. Spots such as 5411 and Cafe Tola have taken a more modern approach, offering full barista services (with, yes, oat milk) and an industrial interior design layout. Meanwhile, El Mercado seems to attract its customers by doing the complete opposite—by remaining old-school. Pagnanelli estimates that they sell 3,000 empanadas a week. “We are totally different and a lot of people choose us,” Pagnanelli says. Returning customer Zayra Gomez, 30, says El Mercado reminds her of corner shops she visits in Mexico. Though Mexican markets tend to have spicier options, she says, El Mercado’s sweet Argentine choices, like dulce de leche make it unique. “I come from the south in Garfield Ridge for this shop and the stores around here,” she says. “The empanadas are delicious— they’re the best.”
Taste of Argentina A Latin corner market holds its own in a gentrifying neighborhood By Bailee Penski
Defining Chicagoans By Camila Isopo & Maya Durfee O’Brien
Sometimes Chicago is reduced to classic stereotypes: hot dogs without ketchup, the polar vortex, deep dish pizza and Al Capone. But people in Chicago are more than those clichés. What really makes a Chicagoan a Chicagoan? “What makes a Chicagoan a Chicagoan is resilience. To be in Chicago is to understand the joy and the oppression. Black Chicago life is amazing. But the consistent systemic oppression makes us stronger.” “I’ve definitely seen our city change significantly. I mean, it still is a working-class city, a city of neighborhoods, a city of ethnic neighborhoods, that’s a good and bad thing. I mean, it’s a legacy of segregation. I can tell you some really great things about why being a Chicagoan is awesome and some other reasons why it can be challenging, especially for a person of color.”
Angela Ford, native Chicagoan, executive director of the Obsidian Collection Archives
Moisés Moreno, native Chicagoan, Pilsen Alliance co-director “I lived in Michigan for 22 years because I was teaching at Michigan State, and I never felt at home there. For me, Chicago is home. I’m really a north-sider, a west-sider, that kind of thing. I suppose that’s a part of feeling like the city is home because there are certain areas that are just home to me.” “I don’t think, at the first sign of trouble, you leave. I think, at the first sign of trouble, you start brainstorming how to fix the trouble. I think a lot of people think of Chicago that way.”
Maureen Flanagan, native Chicagoan, historian
Heidi Stevens, native Chicagoan, Chicago Tribune columnist “I feel like neighborhood life is the essence of the Chicago experience. I’ve lived in Rogers Park for over 20 years and I’m finding it hard to live anywhere else even though it’d probably be a lot more convenient. So I think kind of being accustomed to neighborhood life is a very Chicago thing.” Edward McCelland, long-time Chicagoan, journalist and author of How to Speak Midwestern The Home Issue
The long and damaging history of shunning
By Caroline Pejcinovic Photographs by Charllotte Klein
M always knew she was different. The way she styled her hair, how she wore her makeup, and even her tall stature. Her signature dark lipstick and flowing black clothing made her easily identifiable in any crowd. She couldn’t find the words to describe who she was, or how to come out to her family. M moved to Chicago in 2015, leaving behind her home in New Jersey, and a father who couldn’t accept her as a trans woman. “At first, he realized he couldn’t confront me head-on about it intellectually because he simply did not understand it and refused to make the attempt. And he couldn’t confront me about it physically because he didn’t want to look bad to my mother,” M says.
So her father didn’t confront her at all. He shunned her. Putting her out of sight and mind as a way to deal with his own emotions. M, who requested anonymity, says her father went down a path of ignorance instead of acceptance. Ostracism isn’t an unusual response to those who violate social norms, according to Kip Williams, Ph.D., a professor of social psychology at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. “I think when something is super fundamentally important to a person and they feel there is nothing they can say that would change it, then the option that becomes available to them is to remove them from their life and act like that person doesn’t exist,” Williams says.
“When they see someone who does not conform to their ideal, it threatens the idea that they are the sovereign of the world around them.” —M, who requested anonymity
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A long-standing practice Shunning is both universal and historical. One well-known example dates back to 1693, when Jakob Ammann became a leader in the Swiss Anabaptist Church and divided this group in two, creating what we now know as the Amish. Ammann advocated for shunning excommunicated members of the church, who he perceived were not upholding his idea of the faith. Members of some present-day Amish communities can be shunned for owning modern technology or practicing “deviant” behavior, such as lying, wearing makeup or having non-Amish friends. Shunning is seen as a way to protect the rest of the church from such people and their actions. When someone is shunned, others in the community won’t eat with them and may even avoid all possible transactions with them. They may even be completely excommunicated from the community.
Today, LGBTQ people suffer similar treatment. They may be turned away by business owners, like the Colorado baker who refused to create a wedding cake for a same-sex couple in July 2012. They may be rejected as potential adoptive parents, as what happened in Michigan
in 2017, when faith-based adoption agencies were screening couples based on sexual orientation. Such incidents signal that LGBTQ people don’t deserve the same rights and privileges as heterosexual, cisgendered people. These incidents allow ostracism, shunning and discrimination to continue. “When we have these social structures saying that these people are fundamentally different, then the treatment of these populations seems to be sanctioned by the state,” says Anna Muraco, Ph.D., associate professor of sociology at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. “When people learn in their religious organizations that members of the LGBTQ are unholy or sinners, it really sanctions them to treat people differently.”
Path of silence Many family dynamics rely on a shared historical bond, such as being part of a certain religion or cultural background. But when their children are LGBTQ, some parents can’t accept their differences or desire to change them because they are unable to understand why they can’t be straight like the rest of the family.
“I think this is a manifestation of will to power,” M says. “Everyone wants the world to be in their own image and according to their own desires. When they see someone who does not conform to their ideal, it threatens the idea that they are the sovereign of the world around them.” Shunning may start with microaggressions, such as deliberately using the wrong pronoun or refusing to let a child bring partners home. These, too, can have damaging effects, contributing to depression and feelings of alienation. “It can be really damaging to figure out who you are, find your truth and share that with people, and the people that society tells us are supposed to love and support us no matter what tell us that we are wrong, that we’re harming them in some way by being true to ourselves,” says Ashley Molin, Psy.D., from the behavioral health program at the Center on Halsted. M is still in contact with most of her family, but not with her father. She hasn’t ruled out trying again, but is in no hurry to do so. “Nowadays, I feel more confident and willing to reconnect, but it’s a certain inertia I’ve built up, moving my own way, not really seeing any reason to reach backwards into the past for anything,” she says. “But perhaps there will come a time when I do desire a connection, even one of conflict, and I’m sure I will rise to the occasion.”
“When people learn in their religious organizations that members of the LGBTQ are unholy or sinners, it really sanctions them to treat people differently.” — Anna Muraco, Ph.D.
Dear East Side After decades of pollution, my neighborhood is fighting back By Maria Maynez Photographs by Porter Mcleod Dear East Side, You are known for alphabet streets, steel bridges and jagged sidewalks. You are made up of Latino, Polish and Italian families who live in your working-class neighborhoods of small, one-and two-story frame houses bordered by the Calumet River and the state of Indiana. I was raised on your land, played soccer in your parks, and rode my bike on your streets well into the night. But pollutants permeate your land. My family and community rooted ourselves to your lead-contaminated soil and breathed your manganese-polluted air. Our lungs are stained from the petcoke dust that blew through on windy days.
The rise and fall of steel By the mid-19th century, steel mills lined the Calumet River and opened up job opportunities for your residents. They also filled the air with smog. But by the 1970s, the steel industry was in decline. Wisconsin Steel closed in 1980. Not long after that, U.S. Steel South Works, LTV and Acme Steel closed their South Side facilities as well. Many residents were now unemployed. Yet there was a glimmer of hope that the community could now head in a new direction filled with clean air, clean jobs and a better neighborhood.
“When the steel mill closed we were devastated initially because we didn’t see it coming. Once we got over that initial disappointment, I actually thought it was a good thing because I thought, they’re not going to leave an area the size of the steel mill just lay there,” says Peggy Salazar, director of the Southeast Environmental Task Force (SETF). “We didn't realize that the neighborhood would just languish and decline even more.”
The Calumet River separates our industrial community from the rest of Chicago. Four bridges connect us to the rest of the city. Far away from the towering skyscrapers of the Loop, we lay low to the ground, unknown to many Chicagoans. We always felt safe here, protected by the river that separates us from the rest of the city. Before 1870s, you were known as a place for hunting and fishing. Then railroads criss-crossed you. You seemed fit for development, so industrialists took advantage of your hospitality. Your unsuspecting residents kindly welcomed them, unaware of how greedily industrialization would engulf you, and what it would do to you and to them.
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The skeletons of the steel mills remain part of the landscape. They’re some of the tallest buildings in our neighborhood and a sharp contrast to the crucifixes on our churches. They don’t puff out smoke. They just sit there and watch over us. It's a harsh reminder of the jobs lost and never replaced.
Residents recall the towering piles of black, sooty material–a byproduct of the Indiana oil refineries–that blew dust into their yards and homes on windy days. “Petcoke was there. Petcoke was always there because we always had the BP refinery across the border,” Salazar says.
“My generation saw the last of [steel mills]. We actually saw the fall of our steel mill, U.S. Steel South Works. We saw when they imploded and they knocked the whole structure down. It was two blocks away from our house,” says Samuel Corona, a community organizer at the SETF. “Since then, there’s been nothing developed.”
For years we didn’t complain about the dunes of petcoke, the common term for petroleum coke, because we had faith in you as a safe place to grow up and to raise a family. “I never questioned it because they were always there my whole life,” says Annamarie Garza, a mother and resident of the East Side. “It was just kind of part of the landscape.” But over time, that part of the landscape began to expand. Growing up, I watched
Piles of petcoke The remnants of the mills aren’t our only reminder of our past.
the piles rise at the Koch Brothers’ KCBX Terminals company–a petcoke, salt, coal, slang, cement and clinkers processing facility. As a kid living only a few blocks away, I assumed they were salt mounds. Adults spoke about them in hushed tones, and all we could do was shrug our shoulders and hope that they posed no risk. “I know for a fact that when I was growing up, the mountains of black petcoke were right there on 106th,” recalls Luis Cabrales, president of Southeast Youth Alliance (SYA).“I honestly didn’t know what it was. Me and my cousin, we just [thought] that’s just a bunch of dirt, and it would flow up in the air and blow us in the face and we never thought anything about it.”
Chicago Cumulative Impacts map version 9/4/2018, created by Yukyan Lam at the Natural Resources Defense Council, in collaboration with Little Village Environmental Justice Organization, Southeast Environmental Task Force, and Southeast Side Coalition to Ban Petcoke.
children on the East Side had more than three times the rate of asthma hospitalizations set by the Healthy People 2020 Objectives, a goal set by the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), “The Southeast Side is amongst the city areas most cumulatively burdened by environmental and social stressors.” These areas are known for being filled with “diesel trucks, dusty materials, noxious odors and other environmental hazards,” according to NRDC. What makes the presence of this dangerous is how near they are to your parks, neighborhoods and schools.
The mountains continued to grow and parents began to worry when their children developed small coughs on hot, windy summer days; when black dust clung to the sweat on our bodies after a day of playing outside; when that dust stuck to the walls of homes, sidewalks and cars. It made the air heavier and harder to breathe. “I would get these alerts that would tell me that the wind was more than 15 miles an hour and try to limit exposure to these contaminants that are being carried in the air,” Garza says. “It’s sad that you have to limit your time outdoors and then you think about people who don’t know about this, whose kids are outside all day.”
East Side, your community took action to protect themselves and you. Parents talked about their children developing diseases that didn't run in their families. “My son, you know, in the summertime when it's hot, he has to stop running, you know, and he has to take his inhaler,” Corona says. “His mom doesn't have asthma. I don't have asthma.” The cause, he's convinced, is the petcoke dust his son has been breathing. Residents filed complaints about the dust, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) began measuring. It issued notices of violation of the Clean Air Act in 2014 and 2015. A 2016 report by the Illinois Department of Public Health found that
Adults, too, were getting sick. My father, Oscar Maynez, a lifelong resident, developed respiratory problems. “They conducted tests to find out what was wrong with my lungs. I couldn’t breathe,” he says. “In one of my visits to the doctor, they told me the area I lived in was one of the most contaminated in the city of Chicago.” His bedside table is piled with inhalers containing medications of various strengths. Finally, in 2016 the petcoke piles were removed and the material was placed in a closed facility. The community's outrage had been effective, but the damage had been done.
“I kept thinking, ‘Am I feeding toxins to my family?’” - Annamarie Garza The Home Issue
Peggy Salazar Director of the Southeast Environmental Task Force (SETF)
Dumping grounds East Side, it took some time for us to understand what has been done to you and how it has affected us. The Southeast Environmental Task Force, created by Marian Byrnes in 1989, has been informing and rallying residents in a battle against industrial pollutants for 30 years, and we're still fighting.
“You know, the Southeast Side has always been a dumping grounds,” Salazar says. “There was always something coming up here. There were so many issues to attack or work on. So that's how it started, organizing the community with a direct purpose.”
Their efforts are evident in the now empty lot where petcoke used to be. But meanwhile, another monster reared its head: manganese, an element used in steel production that can cause neurological problems in children, as well as lung irritation and reproductive problems. In August,
2014, the EPA detected elevated quantities of manganese in the air around S.H. Bell Co. at 100th Street and South Avenue O.
rotten meat,” she says. “I don't know how to describe the smell, but it forces you to cover your mouth.”
Norma Jimenez is raising five children across the street from S.H.Bell Co., where she has lived for 16 years. She was used to the grime, the rumbles of diesel trucks and the smells from the facility. She has lived on your land for as long as she can remember. Leaving is impossible–emotionally and economically.
East Side, the community's efforts to make you a livable and breathable home eventually forced S.H. Bell Co. to add new air pollution control equipment, and the EPA announced that it would remediate the top six inches of the contaminated soil, which some local activists consider insufficient. But while gathering samples, the agency found levels of lead higher than EPA removal management levels. They thought they were addressing one monster, but they discovered another.
“When the wind is strong is when I feel the dirt, and if I sit outside, I feel like I am bathed in the dirt that blows over here,” Jimenez says. “When it’s like that we try to not sit out front. We keep our windows closed, and when I clean, it usually picks up dust that’s black and grey.” She has adapted, but she can't get used to the smells. “You go outside and it smells podrido, rotten, like buried garbage, like
Lead can be toxic to humans and animals. High levels cause damage to the nervous system, including behavioral problems and learning problems. Lead puts pregnant women at risk for miscarriage, adults at risk for low blood pressure and decreased
Oscar Maynez Long term resident
Luis Cabrales President of Southeast Youth Alliance (SYA)
kidney function. The toxicity of lead is why gasoline is now unleaded and paints no longer contain the metal. But it's still in your soil.
“I worry for the families,” Cabrales says. “I mean, you want to be able to garden, you want to be able to grow vegetables that you can eat healthily.”
“Lead is all over the place because we had the steel mills here,” Salazar says. “They can’t ignore the fact that they’re finding high levels of lead. So what are they going to do about it?”
They’ve told us that it’s “fine” to grow on your land, but how can we when they tell us to use raised beds and to wash off every vegetable. Can we trust that the lead is deep enough that it won’t touch the roots of our plants? How can they be sure when the roots of my plants run as deep as my roots in you?
The EPA urges residents to take precautions. It’s how we have learned to live on your land, East Side–with precautions. But lead “When I heard about this it kind of made in the ground gets tracked into homes me paranoid. I kept thinking, ‘Am I feeding on the soles of shoes. Lead in the ground toxins to my family?’” says Garza, who becomes lead in vegetables raised in grows vegetables in the summer. “Just home gardens.
knowing that, I couldn't bring myself to eat what I had sown. At the end of the [summer] season, I ended up just ripping the plants out and throwing them away with my vegetables on them.” It seems that despite our efforts, you are easy to manipulate and take over. The community fought pet coke. We are fighting manganese and lead. But right when we feel like we have the upper hand, we are attacked in a new way. In the eyes of the city, we are nothing but a dumping ground.
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Adding to the outrage The latest assault is a proposed recycling facility expected to move by 2020. General Iron Mills, a recycling center in north Chicago, was receiving too many complaints about smells and danger from residents in its current location. So in 2018, it announced it would move to the East Side. There it would join the five existing recycling centers within the East Side. What is one more facility in an over-contaminated neighborhood?
“Why?” Salazar asks. “Because they're building up Chicago. But are they going to build up here? No, we're here to accommodate Chicago. They're not going to revitalize [this] area because they need to keep us this way so they have somewhere to dump all that stuff. So knowing that, what are we going to do about it?”
Corona shares Salazar's outrage. “We do not want to be infected by your product or waste product as we call it,” he says. “Just because you can sell it, make money off of it, you call it a product. To us, it's just marketable poison. It's marketable death. Every time another company comes down here, it's another nail in our coffin.” This new facility will be located just a few steps from a high school, an elementary school and a park. General Iron Mills has been on the EPA's radar since 2006 and in July 2018, it was cited for excessive air emissions of zinc, mercury and lead; for failing to install air pollution controls; and for failing to obtain the adequate air pollution permit.
“Every time another company comes down here, it’s another nail in our coffin.” - Samuel Corona
“You might be lucky if you get a handful of jobs out of it, [but] nothing produces enough jobs to make it worth it to you.” - Peggy Salazar
It promises jobs in exchange, but Salazar isn't buying it. “Taking something that's ugly, nasty, dirty, nothing,” she says. “You might be lucky if you get a handful of jobs out of it, [but] nothing produces enough jobs to make it worth it to you.” East Side, your residents are increasingly aware of how you've been mistreated and what it means for them and for their children. “You know sometimes you’re angered by it and then hurt because this only happens in neighborhoods where there are people of color, people who don’t speak out,” Garza says. “It just felt like
there's always people looking for someone that they can step on and they wouldn't want this filth in their neighborhood. Why does it have to be on ours?” You have been used and disrespected for years by the city. But you are not a pit stop to Indiana, and you are more than roads and buildings. You are our home. We are rooted to you and to the land you have provided us. Many ask why we don’t leave, but how can we leave the place we call home? How could we leave you to rot? The answer is, we can’t. We can’t leave the problem to be solved by someone else. We have to take it into our hands and shape a place that future generations can enjoy. A place without the skeletons of our past. A place where pet coke, steel mills, lead and manganese are nothing but old tales of bad times long in the past.
The Home Issue
Art Behind Bars An organization expands opportunities for inmates By Alexa Rixon Photographs by Porter Mcleod “Prisons are just crowded warehouses where nobody is rehabilitated,” says Joseph Dole, an artist and writer who is still behind bars. “The ones that do get out are in a worse position because of discrimination in jobs, housing and school.”
the outside, such as art school and the knowledge people have inside prison,” says Sarah Ross, co-director of arts and exhibitions for PNAP. “Many artists have been trained by other artists in prison, and there are people that are studying things all the time and we really see that as a space with a lot of knowledge to be built on.”
This wasn't always the case. In 1972, when the federal Pell Grant program was created, PNAP's art and humanities classes are it included funding for higher education informed by the Think Tank, a group in prisons. But in 1994, Congress passed comprised of Stateville inmates researching the Violent Crime Control and Law sentencing policy, facilitated by Alice Kim, Enforcement Act, which banned prisoner director of the University of Chicago access to that funding. This led to a decline Human Rights Lab. in prison programs, despite the evidence that education behind bars boosts employment “We need to change the narrative surrounding after release and reduces recidivism. long-term sentencing and who is serving long term sentences,” Kim says. Incarceration The Prison + Neighborhood Art Project has a large financial and human cost. (PNAP) is trying to counteract that trend “How do we recognize that this decadeby bringing art and humanities education long investment of punishment and into prisons. “We see our work as a blend policing has drained our public wellness, of our formal training and knowledge from
made us less healthy, have less institutions of support for people’s well being and flourishing?” asks Erica Meiners, director of higher education for PNAP and member of Critical Resistance, a prison abolition organization. The answer, she says, is restorative justice programs, as well as eliminating the poverty and injustices that lead to crime. “For many of our students, poverty and white supremacy have played significant roles in shaping the harm they’ve perpetuated,” Meiners says. “The prison nation that we currently have means we essentially have communities that are deemed disposable by the state,” Kim adds. “Our work there and the courses that we teach there are all a part of refusing this logic that there is such a thing as a disposable community.”
Without Your Help I Will Die In Prison by Joseph Dole
PNAP revived opportunities for college degrees through University Without Walls, a non-traditional route offered by Northeastern Ilinois University. In 2017, eight students were admitted, and all have graduated. One of those graduates is Joseph Dole.
“We’ve been inundated by this ‘lock them up and throw away the key’ mentality.”
This piece expresses his appreciation for what his incarceration has put his family through. “My main objective was to acknowledge their sacrifice and also instill in them the fact we can’t do it alone. We need their help if anything’s going to change,” Dole says.
“For the two and half years I was on trial, my family had to help with the bills, paying attorneys, phone calls—they don’t let you work a job in county jail or prison that allows you to be self-sufficient or pay for basic necessities. I was the breadwinner for my family so when I got locked up my kids’ mother had to figure out all kinds of stuff.”
Reasons for Parole by Joseph Dole and Noelle Petrowski Dole co-founded an organization called Parole Illinois in collaboration with Shari Stone-Mediatore, a professor of philosophy at Ohio Wesleyan University and an advocate for parole. Dole created a list of reasons why parole is needed, which artist Noelle Petrowski illustrated. “Now almost anyone who’s convicted of a violent crime does life without parole,” Dole says. “We’ve been so inundated by this 'lock them up and throw away the key' mentality that we really abandoned most of our moral and ethical stand. Now we just dehumanize people and throw them away. [There was a time where people could] prove that they are no longer a threat to society and get out.”
Conditional Citizenship Exhibition at URI-EICHEN Gallery The idea for this exhibition emerged from a Think Tank conversation about section 11 of the Constitution of the State of Illinois, which specifies convictions for crimes: “All penalties shall be determined both according to the seriousness of the offense and with the objective of restoring the offender to useful citizenship.” Considering what “useful citizenship” might mean, students explored why prisons don’t allow people to live up to that constitutional ideal. The art exhibition allows prisoners to share their stories with a wider audience, building connections between the outside world and those behind bars. “The art connects them back to their communities by letting them speak to younger generations and their families,” says teaching artist Aaron Hughes. Such connections have the potential to encourage more people to challenge specific policies and narratives about incarceration.
“I think art provides an entryway into these issues that is allowed for a deeper kind of connection to happen.” –Alice Kim
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