Blog #1: Don’t let COVID-19 disadvantage inner-city youth!

During a period in the 1950s and 60s, middle-class white families fled from neighborhoods of growing diversity as the African-American population began to transition into higher income brackets. This movement, known as white flight, marks an important part in the history of Chicago’s neighborhoods. It goes hand-in-hand with Chicago’s redlining past .

Redlining, is a form of racial discrimination in which banks marked neighborhoods by grouping racially homongenous zones and then categorized the neighborhoods by how risky it would be to give someone from that neighborhood a loan or mortgage.

These practices continue disinfranchise the African-American communities within Chicago today. Now, it seems as though Chicago is becoming the center of a new kind of discrimination that greatly effects all of us whilst stay-at-home orders are underway in Illinois.

According to a new article from BlockClubChicago, 1 in 5 Chicago students lack broadband access and 4 neighborhoods, in particular, are greatly disadvantaged. These neighborhoods, Englewood, West Englewood, Auburn-Gresham and North Lawndale, are all neighborhoods that have been victims of white flight and redlining.

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Jerry Nunn: Entertainment Veteran

Jerry Nunn talks origins, career, and “just going for it.”


Banner from Jerry’s website


“I’m from the south and don’t know how to tell a short story!” My email exchange with Jerry Nunn ended on this note. It was sure a sign of what was to come but it was also more than that. It was like a wink or a nod in my direction letting me know he’s got plenty of stories to tell which, looking at his archive of work, was more than obvious.

As an entertainment reporter, he’s had the pleasure of sitting literal inches apart from major celebrities like Snoop Dogg, Diana Ross, and the late Joan Rivers. His website has a trove of articles covering everything from travel to TV.

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Eat, Sleep, and Chill: UIC’s Cultural Centers provide an important service

By Alex Fashandi

Sometimes college students can take themselves too seriously. It’s understandable. When many were younger, the thing that made them different, whether it was their race, sexual their orientation, or their disability, often made them the target of ridicule.
Being different made them vulnerable to bullying, discrimination, and disadvantages related to their academic learning. High school was a particularly bad time for me. I spent most of my time there closeted because I was afraid of being made fun of or being physically endangered.

So, when someone like me comes to a school like The University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), a place where anything different about me would be celebrated instead of mocked, I begin to take myself seriously.

But sometimes, serious isn’t what we need. Sometimes we just need a place where we can hang out with a couple of friends. Sometimes we just need a place to eat lunch, or get our homework done, or even just take a nap.

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An In-depth Look at the Opioid Crisis in Cook County

By Alex Fashandi, Kelsi Morefield, and Michael Gyang

When Cook County paramedic firefighter Tony Lein arrives at the scene of an opioid overdose, he doesn’t see a drug addict or abuser.

Instead, he sees a human being struggling to breathe – a person coping with their troubles and going over the edge.

“The main experiences that I have with people who use opioids is when they overdose on it,” Lein said. “When they take too much and they experience these symptoms of an overdose, they need medical care because it [the opioid] slows everything down. You go unconscious, you’re only breathing a couple times a minute. It slows your heart rate, slows your respiratory drive. So really, they need to have that EMS [Emergency Medical Service] if they want to survive.”

This is a common scene encountered by Lein and similarly by other paramedics on the front lines of the nationwide opioid crisis.

Part of the crisis stems from prescription opioid medications. According to the Washington Post, from 2006 to 2012, enough prescription opioids were prescribed in Chicago’s Cook County to distribute 15 pills per year to each resident – that’s 566,752,649 pills.

In Cook County, several factors contribute to the opioid epidemic, experts say. Prescription opioids often get the brunt of the blame for it; however, the presence of illicit opioids such as heroin also contribute to the problem in the county. Yet, due to overall increased opioid misuse, the prevalence of stigma has grown towards the use of prescribed opioids as well as the treatment of those with opioid abuse disorders.

In August 2019, the Washington Post released an updated extended database detailing the nationwide opioid crisis in the United States. This data extended to Cook County, and included information on prescription opioid manufacturers, distributors, and distributing pharmacies, as well as overdoses and deaths.
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Austin Population Outgrowing Infrastructure

Austin, Texas is currently one of the fastest growing major cities in the country. Economically, they are growing at an average rate of 6% despite the 2008 financial crisis. In addition, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas also found that Austin has consistently reported an unemployment rate lower than the national average.
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In 2018, The Number of Illinois Breweries Reached an All-time High

By Alex Fashandi

According to data sourced from, Illinois has a total of 229 craft breweries within the state. The Brewers Association, a non- profit organization dedicated to promoting and protecting American craft breweries, has been tracking the growth of Illinois’ craft beer industry since in terms of both production and sales since it’s inception.
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CPD Made 510 Theft Arrests Last Month

By Alex Fashandi

In September of 2019, 5,353 thefts were reported to the Chicago Police Department. Of the over 5,000 reported crimes, only 510 resulted in arrests. According to data from the Chicago data portal, theft has been the largest reported criminal in the city since 2001. A total of 1.48 millions thefts have been reported since the portal began collecting data in 2001, but only 175 thousand arrests have been made. In addition to this disproportion, arrests do not indicate any follow through was made in prosecuting the crime.

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Kamala Surges After Debates, Turkey Distracts From Impeachment

By Alex Fashandi

Following the October 2019 presidential democratic debate, California senator, Kamala Harris trended much higher than her political opponents but does this signify that she did well in the debate?

Unfortunately for Sen. Harris a lot of the online talk like this report from the National Review would suggest that the rise in Kamala Harris searches on Google can be attributed to a very disappointing debate performance. Trevor Noah called her debate strategy of calling for the ban of President Trump’s Twitter account “weird.”

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Milwaukee leads 2019 NBA season

By Alex Fashandi

The 2018-19 season which ended back in June was fiercely led by the Milwaukee Bucks. The team had a very respectable record of 60 wins and only 22 losses.

An article published by the Buck’s community led site, Brewhoop, gives us a couple possible explanations for the team’s lead. It could be the addition of San Antonio native Wesley Matthews who previously has been done well with teams like the Knicks, the Pacers, and the Maverick. Another possibility that the article mentions is the tutelage of the team’s new head coach, Mike Budenholzer.
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Chicago Pride Parade Attendance Skyrockets After 2010

By Alex Fashandi

An analysis of the estimated attendance of the Chicago Pride Parade between the years of 1985-2014 show us just how massive this event has become. The data shows that following the year 2010, the number of parade attendees has grown exponentially. In the years between 1985-2010 the estimated attendance grew from 35,500 to 450,000. While that might seem like a large increase that is an increase of 16,600 people per year which is minor compared to the 137,500 increase per year between 2010-2014.

graphic created with the help of Datawrapper

Here is a link to an interactive version of the graph.

by Alex Fashandi

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