Youth Empowerment Performance Project debuts ‘FACES’

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

Chicago aldermen cited, join activists in immigration reform protest

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

A victim of immigration fraud speaks out

In October, Maricela Haro was arrested and indicted for allegedly posing as an immigration attorney and scamming 12 people. One of the victims, Ivan Perez, explains how Haro was able to gain his trust and that of others over a period of several years.

Fighting for an end to deportations

Dozens of immigration activists, elected officials, faith and labor leaders were arrested Wednesday evening for blocking Congress Parkway—the street outside an immigration building downtown Chicago. The group resorted to this act of civil disobedience out of frustration over the lack of progress in passing immigration reform, organizers said. They demanded that House Republicans vote for immigration reform and that President Barack Obama put an end to deportations. At the end of this act of civil disobedience, 142 people, including five Chicago aldermen and two county commissioners, were arrested.

South Shore renters ‘trapped’ in foreclosure nightmare

The Chicago Housing Authority is supposed to cut off landlords if their buildings fail too many inspections. But a Chicago Reporter investigation found that 6751 S. Jeffery Blvd.—like thousands of other subsidized private rentals—has struggled to pass for years. Tenants have had little recourse because, until they get their security deposit returned, they don’t have the money to move. Meanwhile, the building’s owners collected more than $178,000 in federal rent subsidies in just four years.

Forgotten voices

Down North Hudson Avenue on Chicago’s Near North Side, the remaining Frances Cabrini Rowhouses invoke a haunting memory of the community that once existed in the area. When the last Cabrini-Green high-rise was demolished in 2011, all that remained of the vast public housing complex were the rowhouses. The Chicago Housing Authority had plans to renovate the units for displaced residents, but most of the rowhouses are still boarded up and caged behind tall chain-link fences. Walking through the rowhouses, it is hard not to wonder about the lives and stories that make up Cabrini-Green’s history.