Prisons Lagging in COVID-19 Response

Sometimes, Deonta could hear inmates sick with COVID-19 screaming for help from his cell, said his loved one Chrisoula Drivas. 

“The officers would kind of disregard people, so he said it was crazy to hear that people were desperate and no one cared,” she said. Since the onset of the pandemic, advocates like Drivas have raised concerns about inadequate cleaning supplies, unsanitary conditions and a lack of consistent COVID-19 protocols in Illinois Department of Corrections facilities. These are challenges Deonta faced firsthand, she said. In November, one of Deonta’s three cellmates at Dixon Correctional Center tested positive for COVID-19. Though this man was moved to another area to quarantine, the other three were not immediately tested, she said.

COVID-19 forces changes in strategies for anti-violence groups

COVID 19 forces changes in strategies for anti-violence groups

Like much of the country, Autry Phillips was caught off guard when a worldwide health crisis descended on Chicago last year. In addition to his long-time, ongoing efforts to reduce neighborhood violence, he now faced the challenge of conveying his organization’s message to residents who were increasingly vulnerable to a rampant virus. “When COVID hit back in March we didn’t know what to do,” says Phillips, executive director of Target Area Development Corp.. “If COVID was part of a street organization and carrying a gun, hanging out on the corner, I would have known exactly what to do. We had no idea what to do with COVID.”

Aside from sharing federal safety guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19 (“We said, ‘It’s time to put the guns down, but you gotta put a mask on now,’” recalls Phillips.), he and other peace activists have been forced to regroup and re-strategize.

COVID-19 affects Illinois’ local Latino-run soccer industry from the bottom up

The soccer team Santas plays a match at Seven Bridges Ice Arena in Woodridge, Illinois. (Photo by Rita Oceguera/The Chicago Reporter)


AURORA, Ill. – The first thing visitors hear opening the door of the facility is Spanish music. While the sound makes it seem as if nothing has changed, the building is still. The children who once ran freely, spilling chips as they chased one another, are gone.The screaming mothers and friends at the sidelines are no longer there.

COVID-19 transforma la industria del fútbol en las comunidades Latinas de Illinois

El equipo Santas juega un partido en Seven Bridges Ice Arena en Woodridge, Illinois. (Foto por Rita Oceguera/ The Chicago Reporter)


AURORA, Ill. – Al abrir la puerta lo primero que los visitantes escuchan es una mezcla de cumbia, reguetón y banda. Aunque la música sugiere un ambiente normal, el edificio se siente vacío. Los niños que antes corrían con alegría, desparramando papas fritas por el suelo a su paso,  ya no están.