Tag Archives: Chicago

2020 Chicago Spring Farewell, via Zoom, celebrates new graduates and latest accomplishments

This year, our annual Spring Farewell event was celebrated virtually. Vice President Teuta Peja led the online gathering.

IT’S BITTERSWEET TO SAY GOODBYE. You leave an experience behind but you also look forward to a new chapter in your life, eager to apply what you have learned and feeling enthusiastic to share your international experience in your home country.

Due to the pandemic, graduating Fulbright students were not able to attend in-person ceremonies at their host institutions, an event most of us look forward to participating when achieving a life milestone. Our Chicago chapter replaced the traditional Spring Farewell event for a virtual graduating Happy Hour.

Connected in California, Chapter President Dr. Edel Jose welcomed the guests.

On June 18th, 2020, we gathered online to congratulate our newly graduates, listen to some music and learn about some of the latest activities of our returning American Fulbrighters from their host countries abroad.

Our Chicago Chapter Vice President Teuta Peja led the program along with fellow board members Tatiana Orlova and Suzanne McBride. The initial connection issues did not affect the enthusiasm we all were feeling. Our President Dr. Edel Jose, who is currently in California, welcomed the guests. “It’s a time to come together and celebrate being a Fulbrighter,” Jose said.

“It was more important the journey in itself,” said Shend Vishi, a Fulbright student from Kosovo, who is graduating with a master’s in software engineering at Loyola University.

Graduating with a master’s in software engineering at Loyola University Chicago, Shend Vishi from Kosovo said he didn’t know what to expect when he arrived to Chicago and that he couldn’t point out one single unpleasant experience.

“I created friendships that will last a lifetime,” said Vishi, who added he was proud to have represented his country in the United States.

Board member Dr. Bill Peterman, Emeritus Professor of Geography and Urban Studies at Chicago State University, congratulated the recent graduates.

Board member Dr. Bill Peterman addressed the graduating students by sharing some of his Fulbright experience many years ago in the UK. “Once a Fulbrighter always a Fulbrighter,” Peterman said adding that now is the time to share their learning in their home countries.

Board member and Northeastern Illinois University Professor Emerita Dr. Ana Gil-García, inspired all of us to continue fulfilling the mission of the Fulbright Program.

Five-time Fulbright award recipient and board member Dr. Ana Gil-García delivered a message encouraging the departing students to fulfill the mission Sen. William Fulbright envisioned, to become leaders and to strengthen ties of understanding between countries and cultures. Gil-García, an education leader and community organizer, was president of the Chicago chapter in 2007 and 2008.

Playing and singing from Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Fulbright alum Joan Miguel López performed the song “Before Our Time.”

Then it was time for music! The first song arrived from Honduras by Fulbright alum Joan Miguel López, who pursued a master’s in cultural and educational policy at Loyola University Chicago in 2018. Playing the guitar and singing “Before Our Time” directly from Tegucigalpa, López delighted the participants with his performance.

Illinois Institute of Technology architecture Fulbright graduate student from Egypt Walid Elshanshoury, played the electric guitar.

Walid Elshanshoury, a current Fulbright student from Cairo, Egypt, who is studying for a master of science in architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT),  also played the guitar, in his case, an electric guitar.

Board member Suzanne McBride introduced Fulbrighters Rachel Jacoby, Lori Niehaus and Amy Verrando, and their project Feed the Front Line.

Board member Suzanne McBride introduced Rachel Jacoby, Lori Niehaus and Amy Verrando, three recent returning Fulbrighters from Malaysia who shared their experience and their entrepreneurial endeavor, Feed the Front Line Chicago.

2019 Fulbrighter to Malaysia and Feed the Front Line co-founder Rachel Jacoby, studied Accountancy and Business at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Jacoby, Niehaus and Verrando met during their 2109 Fulbright in Malaysia. They saw the toll COVID-19 had on the country and in Chicago. Wanting to make a difference along with members of the Fulbright Malaysia cohort, they thought big, envisioning a national campaign calling it Feed the Front Line.

2019 Fulbrighter to Malaysia and Feed the Front Line co-founder Lori Niehaus, is pursuing a Master of Science in Public Health at Johns Hopkins University.

By collecting individual donations to purchase meals from local businesses, this organization delivers these meals to front line workers. Seeing the impact and success of the campaign in Portland, Houston and Pittsburgh, they have been doing similar work in our Chicagoland community.

2019 Fulbrighter to Malaysia and Feed the Front Line co-founder Amy Verrando, studied English Language and Literature, Psychology, Outdoor Recreational Education at University of Minnesota.

This entrepreneurial model helps both the local, family-owned food businesses (restaurants, bakeries and cafes) and the front line workers (Chicagoland hospitals, COVID-19 testing centers, fire stations and nursing homes, among others).

Donations come from individuals, and organizations. They created a GoFundMe to receive donations that ranged from $10 up to $2,500, and they’ve raised more than $40,000. Now that Feed the Front Line is part of an official 501c3 tax-exempt organization — they continue to receive donations through their website at ftflchicago.org. 

What a great way to celebrate accomplishments! Jacoby, Niehaus and Verrando’s project show us how a Fulbright experience brings people together and enhances the collective human experience.

” Race, Justice, and the Global Civil Rights Struggle” open panel by expert Fulbrighters

 

The Fulbright Impact in the Field series aims to bring together alumni with extensive expertise in a particular topic to provide insight, inform the audience, and bring new, global perspectives to the discussion.

“Race, Justice, and the Global Civil Rights Struggle” will engage an interdisciplinary panel of Fulbright alumni experts in an academic discussion designed to deepen our understanding of racial injustice and contemporary issues in policing and criminal justice; and to contextualize our current moment in the global history of the civil rights struggle.

DATE July 1, 2020
TIME 3:00 pm US Eastern
OPEN to the general public
REGISTER Click here.

This panel discussion will be moderated by LaNitra M. Berger, PhD, Senior Director of Fellowships in the Office of Undergraduate Education and affiliate faculty in the African and African American Studies Program at George Mason University. Among the panelists:

  • Tanya Katerí Hernández, PhD is a 2014 and 2015 U.S. Fulbright Scholar to Trinidad and France, respectively, and the Archibald R. Murray Professor of Law at Fordham University and an internationally recognized comparative race law expert.
  • Tiffany Joseph, PhD is a 2007 U.S. Fulbright Student to Brazil and an Associate Professor of Sociology and International Affairs at Northeastern University and the author of “Race on the Move: Brazilian Migrants and the Global Reconstruction of Race.”
  • Reynaldo Ortiz-Minaya, PhD is a 2019 U.S. Fulbright Scholar to Jamaica, 2020 Fulbright Specialist to Pakistan, and Professor at Brooklyn College, CUNY, and his research focuses on penal reform and rule of law.
  • Everette Penn, PhD is a 2005 U.S. Fulbright Scholar to Egypt and Professor at the University of Houston – Clear Lake, and a Department of Justice Principal Investigator for the Teen and Police Service Academy.
  • Terrell Jermaine Starr, MS, MA, a 2009 U.S. Fulbright Student to Ukraine, is a journalist who has contributed to public radio, television, magazines, and online reporting. He is currently a reporter at The Root, where he covers domestic and international politics from a Black perspective.

Systemic racism must come to an end

THE CHICAGO CHAPTER OF THE FULBRIGHT ASSOCIATION stands by the words of Senator Fulbright, “To criticize one’s country is to do it a service…criticism, in short, it is more than a right; it is an act of patriotism.” We, the Fulbright community of Chicago, condemn the inequitable and brutal treatment of Black Americans across the United States.

The systemic racism that has permeated our society must come to an end. Our Chicago Chapter is committed to helping build a country and a world where everyone can live with dignity, free from fear.

The call for justice through peaceful protests is a form of freedom of expression that our Fulbright community supports. We embrace the words of Senator Fulbright whose message endorses our belief that “the making of peace is a continuing process that must go on from day to day, from year to year, so long as our civilization shall last.”

Black lives matter. We stand in solidarity with our Black Fulbrighters—both current grantees and alumni. As Fulbrighters, we are equipped to collectively raise our voices to support what really matters; in this case, the human rights of our Black American fellows, the improvement of their lives and the social justice they deserve.

—Chicago Chapter of the Fulbright Association Board

 

 

Grad Happy Hour for the Class of 2020!

CONGRATULATIONS to the Class of 2020!  The Chicago Chapter of the Fulbright Association invites you to a «Grad Happy Hour» where we will celebrate the newly graduated Fulbrighters and hear the story of returned Fulbrighters who have been supporting the frontline workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

For this special event we will have two guitar performances by Joan Miguel López, Fulbright Alumni from Honduras who got his MEd in Cultural and Educational Policy at Loyola University Chicago, and Walid Elshanshoury, current student from Egypt, who is pursuing a Master of Science in Architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT).

Let’s connect, discuss, and enjoy socializing with our fellow alumni, students, and scholars. Bring your beverage of choice and come join us for an evening of celebration. You can connect from wherever you are!

DATE June 18, 2020
TIME 6:30-8 pm US Central Time

ZOOM Join Zoom Meeting by using this link:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83018846572?pwd=UDlRU2xHenVTWE9JQ25MdEExaVRrZz09

Meeting ID 830 1884 6572
Password 215710


One tap mobile

+13126266799,,83018846572#,,1#,215710# US (Chicago)
+13017158592,,83018846572#,,1#,215710# US (Germantown)

Dial by your location

+1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
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Meeting ID 830 1884 6572
Password 215710

Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kbNojelIgq


—> Illustration by Elio Leturia/ flaticon.com

Zoom! A virtual Happy Hour keeps our community together

Virtual Fulbright Chicago Happy Hour, April, 2020

FOLLOWING THE SOCIAL distancing guidelines and our mission to serve the Fulbright community, the Chicago Chapter organized a Happy Hour that took place on Thursday, April 23, 2020.

Using the current virtual technologies, Zoom came to the rescue and for 90 minutes, 30 participants, that included alumni, students, scholars and board members of the Fulbright association shared stories and talked about different topics at this time of global isolation.

Among the strongest topics in this online exchange were the current situation of the Fulbright program (after it was suspended) and state of newly returned Fulbright Scholars.

Fulbright Association Executive Director John Bader

Our special guest, John Bader, Executive Director of the Fulbright Association in Washington D.C., addressed the concerns of Fulbrighters and brought hope for the continuation of the Fulbright Program. The Chapter members had the opportunity to address their questions directly to the Director and got firsthand responses.

The discussion continued with topics ranging from mental health during isolation and medical insurance coverage to daily activities of Chapter members. The participants shared stories of their daily lives and how they have coped with the current state of the nation, and also appreciated being able to share and discuss the social aspects which are getting them through these times. The recently published COVID-19 Resource Guide that the Chicago Chapter board produced as an informational support for the local Fulbright community was a great resource which the Fulbrighters used for guidance and actionable information.

“The COVID-19 Resources and Guidelines played an integral role in providing accessible information to our Chapter, but also brought about a way to personally connect and communicate with our Chapter members,” said Dr. Edel Marie Jose, Chicago Chapter president.

There was also conversation about the survey’s results that the association put together to gather information on how to serve our community better.

The attendees are looking forward to another “social” Happy Hour to further discuss life in general among fellow Fulbrighters and enjoy live music performed by their colleagues. 

The board is currently reviewing the scheduling and programming of upcoming events to adjust them to the current situation. We hope that soon we will return to our usual “normal” one way or another, to continue fulfilling our mission, face to face. In the interim, however, we all remain connected.

Happy Hour! Get your glass and device ready!

I’TS TIME TO get social! The Chicago Chapter of the Fulbright Association invites you to a «Happy Hour» where we can connect, discuss, and enjoy socializing with our fellow alumni, students and scholars. Bring your beverage of choice and come join us for an evening of conversation and insightful tips to cope with the COVID-19 situation.


DATE Thursday April 23, 2020
TIME 6:30-8:00pm
CONNECTION Zoom Meeting ID and password have been emailed. Check your emails! If you didn’t get it, email fulbrightchicago@gmail.com


The event will be held via Zoom Conference and we will be discussing the questions posed to the chapter from the recent survey you had all responded to. Please check your emails for the Zoom meeting ID and password. We thank all of you for the great feedback and for connecting with us through the survey. There will be a number of board members attending, and we will open the floor to the discussion of these important topics and continue into the evening with the social hour.

And not to cut the gathering short, the Zoom line will remain open for those who would like to continue socializing and enjoying their beverages throughout the evening.

If you have not had a chance to look over the COVID-19 Resources on the Chicago Chapter website, there is invaluable information for everyone on a broad range of topics from official information on the pandemic to food, education, and mental health, to name a few. I encourage you to take a look. COVID-19 Resources and Guidelines.

In the meantime, we would like to respond to some urgent questions posed in the survey:

INSURANCE Responses regarding health insurance/co-payment showed to be your primary concern in the survey.
As a Fulbright scholar you are protected by a specific insurance company ASPE (Accident and Sickness Program for Exchanges). The ASPE has a deductible of $25 for each claim. Seven Corners, Inc is the program administrator of ASPE. The Chapter would like you to consider to:
Call your program advising manager in the Institute of International Education (IIE) Midwestern Regional Center-Chicago, if it is your sponsor in this country. If so, your program adviser is taking phone calls from any student who needs advise on insurance issues; or
Call Seven Corners, Inc (1-800-461-0430). This toll free number is exclusively for grantees in the United States.
Below are two links that will help you navigate the questions and or concerns related to your health insurance in the united States.
https://fulbrightonline.org/covid-19#foreign-students
https://us.fulbrightonline.org/current-fulbrighters/health-benefits-summary

FOOD RESOURCES The recent Food Resources posting in the Chicago Chapter Website has information indicating the options available in the city, as to where to go and which organizations are distributing free food. There are also university food pantries that are an option if you live near a university campus. Here is the link below. Check out this LINK. I highly suggest going through the COVID-19 Resources section on the website for invaluable information and resources.
There are also several grocery delivery apps that could be helpful. One is Instacart, which allows you to select the grocery items you would like and then have them delivered to you. Users can add their zip code and you’ll find the local stores delivering to your neighborhood.

Additionally, there are a lot of restaurants in Chicago offering delivery services. Check out this LINK with a write up about specific restaurants by neighborhood. As you may know, many restaurants are still offering take out and contact-less pick up and delivery.

We look forward to seeing you all there! Be safe and be well!

Education resources for students, instructors

IN THIS UNPRECEDENTED time, educational institutions and government agencies at all levels are providing different types of assistance and resources to help students and their families to navigate the “stay at home” order without jeopardizing their formal education development. Below you will find a list of formal and non-formal resources for you to consider.

Many educational institutions in the U.S. and worldwide have moved to online instruction, extended their spring break, shortened or adjusted their academic year, or have otherwise departed from the normal course of business, including the cancellation of graduation ceremonies. These institutions worldwide are striving to meet their students’ educational needs while working to reduce and decelerate the spread of the pandemic.

::: U.S. Department of Homeland Security (Student and Exchange Visitor Program). For the most updated information, click HERE and scroll down.

::: U.S. Department of Education. For the most updated information, click HERE and scroll down.

  • COVID-19 (“Coronavirus”) Information and Resources for Schools and School Personnel (both K-12 and Higher Education): See guidance here.
  • Guidance for Interruptions of Study Related to Coronavirus (COVID-19): See guidance here.
  • Dear CPA Letter CPA-20-01, Site Visit Exemption During COVID-19 Outbreak: See guidance here.
  • Information for Accrediting Agencies Regarding Temporary Flexibilities Provided to Coronavirus Impacted Institutions or Accrediting Agencies: See guidance here.
  • Coronavirus and Forbearance Info for Students, Borrowers, and Parents: See guidance here.

FOR STUDENTS

::: College Student Travel Assistance, Enterprise. Special accommodations from Enterprise for college students to get home, by lowering the minimum rental age and eliminating fees for young renters. For more information, click HERE.

::: Free Storage for College Students, U-Haul. U-haul is offering free storage for college students impacted by coronavirus. For more information, click HERE.

::: Federal Student Aid Forbearance. According to the US Department of Education, “to provide relief to student loan borrowers during the COVID-19 national emergency, federal student loan borrowers are automatically being placed in an administrative forbearance, which allows you to temporarily stop making your monthly loan payment. This suspension of payments will last until Sept. 30, 2020, but you can still make payments if you choose.” For more information, click HERE.

::: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE,) issued guidance on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and Potential Procedural Adaptations for F and M Non-immigrant Students. To read the memo, click HERE.


FOR EDUCATORS

::: Resources for colleges and universities. To access a database of resources and information for colleges and universities in response to COVID-19, click HERE.

::: Hope Center guide. To download a guide for supporting students during COVID-19 from the Hope Center, click HERE.

::: Teacher2Teacher. This organization is a growing community where instructors can connect to share resources, learn from one another, and collaborate, especially now. For resources and reflections, click HERE.

::: The Office of Postsecondary Education, issued a COVID-19 FAQ and Guidance for interruptions of Study related to Coronavirus. To read the memo, click HERE.

::: The Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued Interim Guidance for Administrators of US Institutions of Higher Education (IHE) to Plan, Prepare, and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in English and Spanish. For more information, click HERE.

::: The Office of Postsecondary Education, issued Information for Accrediting Agencies Regarding Temporary Flexibilities Provided to Coronavirus Impacted Institutions or Accrediting Agencies. To read the memo from the Department of Education, click HERE.


At Home Non-Formal Education Activities

::: Department of Defense. To learn through videos about careers in STEM fields, click HERE.

::: Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. The NCES Kids’ Zone provides information to help learn about schools; decide on a college; engage in several games, quizzes and skill building about math, probability, graphing, and mathematicians; and to learn many interesting facts about education. To access the Kids’ Zone, click HERE.

::: Department of Energy

» For games and activities for children, click HERE.
» For games and activities for kids of all ages, click HERE.

:::  Environmental Protection Agency. For games, quizzes, and videos about the environment, click HERE.

::: The Library of Congress. For presentations and activities to help students learn about history, click HERE.

::: NASA

» For interactive lessons about space, Earth, solar system and universe, click HERE.
» For STEM-related activities for students of all ages, click HERE.

::: The Kennedy Center

» For Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems, click HERE.
» For a Tour the Kennedy Center with The Pigeon, click HERE.

::: The Smithsonian

» For free Smithsonian STEM Games and Simulations, click HERE.
» To Meet the Animals of the National Zoo, click HERE.
» For 3D Exhibits and Virtual Tours of museums and collections, click HERE.
» For the Museum of Natural History Virtual Tour, click HERE.
» For the Digital Smithsonian American Art Museum, click HERE.
» For Distance Learning Resources, click HERE.

::: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. For students to use real-time ocean data to explore today’s most pressing environmental issues, click HERE.

::: US Geological Survey. To learn from home about Physical science, Geography and Maps, click HERE.


—> Illustration by Elio Leturia

Housing resources. Remain connected!

DURING THIS TIME of the “stay at home” mandate, there is nothing more important than having a roof over your head. Here are a few resources to help you in this time of crisis, and ways to stay in touch with your community.

STAY CONNECTED

Even though we need to practice social distancing restraining our physical contact, we can still be connected through other means, and get support.

Nextdoor is the neighborhood hub for trusted connections and the exchange of helpful information, goods, and services. This app is very useful for giving and receiving local tips and help in the area you live. Click HERE.

City of Chicago 311. With the new CHI 311 website and mobile app, you can create new service requests; check the status of existing requests and the time it will take to resolve; snap a photo and submit it with a request to improve accuracy; map requests to help pinpoint a location; create an account to track service requests and get local, relevant information; provide feedback upon completion; and search and see helpful knowledge articles and search other requests in your neighborhood.

Chicago Department of Family and Support Services. This website offers information on services ranging from rental assistance, emergency shelters, services for Senior Citizens, assistance with SNAP & TANF eligibility completion and many more. To access the website, click HERE.

City of Chicago Emergency Rental Assistance. This program provides financial assistance to Chicago residents to eligible individuals and families who are in danger of eviction in order to stabilize individuals and families in their existing rental unit. To access the website. click HERE.

Illinois Legal Aid Online. This organization offers guidance to resources to help you with your legal problem, including FIGHTING EVICTION (Note: Evictions in Chicago are banned for 30 days.) It provides court forms, legal information, and referrals to free or low-cost legal aid lawyers. To apply online, click HERE.

Howard Brown. This organization is offering services and information for LGBTQ youth who might be experiencing homelessness or need assistance. They can be contacted online, or for medical questions call our Patient Services Team at 773.388.1600. For more information, click HERE.

StreetLight Chicago. This organization provides up-to-date information on Chicago-based food, housing, and health resources for young adults between the ages of 16 and 24 with unstable housing. To connect with an interactive map with book-a-bed reservations click HERE.


FREE SUPPORT & MORATORIA

Comcast offers free internet. Low-income families who live in a Comcast service area can sign up as new customers to receive 60 days of free Internet Essentials service. To qualify for Comcast’s Internet Essentials service, customers must be eligible for public-assistance programs such as the National School Lunch Program, Housing Assistance, Medicaid, SNAP, or SSI. Applicants can visit internetessentials.com to enroll in the program; they may also call (855) 846-8376 for English or 855-765-6995 for Spanish. To read more about this, click HERE.

Charter offers free internet. Cable giant Charter Communications will provide free broadband for two months to households with students, as a number of U.S. schools are shutting down because of concerns about the coronavirus pandemic. To enroll in Charter’s free-broadband program, eligible consumers must call (844) 488-8395. To read more about this, click HERE.

ComEd moratorium. The electricity company has voluntarily implemented a moratorium on service disconnections for non-payment, effective immediately through May 1st. For more information, click HERE.

People’s Gas moratorium. According to the gas company website, “We are not disconnecting customer’s service for non-payment at this time.” For more information, click HERE.


—> Illustration by Elio Leturia


 

Food resources in Chicago

IN TIMES OF NEED, there is always somewhere to turn. With a record number of people filing for unemployment and rent due, many people are struggling to pay their bills and buy groceries. Here are some ways to stock up if your kitchen is bare and you’re not sure what to do.


FOR COLLEGE STUDENTS

Students, if you are experiencing food insecurity, please look for a pop-up pantry at your university.

Food Security Resources at University of Chicago

Pop-Up Pantry | Wellness Center | University of Illinois at Chicago

Student Food Pantry at DePaul University


FOR EVERYBODY, INCLUDING CPS STUDENTS

Greater Chicago Food Depository. It’s Chicago’s food bank that provides food for hungry people while striving to end hunger in our community. They have a map application. Enter an address, intersection, or ZIP code to find a food pantry, soup kitchen, mobile food distribution or shelter in Cook County. For the most precise results, use the full address. Use the filters to select specific kinds of programs. To access the map and locations, click HERE.

Chicago Public Schools. Since the temporary closure of the schools due to COVID-19, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) has provided millions of grab-and-go meals to families. They are committed to providing meals during spring break and until CPS schools reopen. To find a CPS Go-and-Grab Meal Site click HERE.

Feeding America. The Feeding America nationwide network of food banks secures and distributes 4.3 billion meals each year through 200 food pantries and meal programs throughout the United States. To find a food pantry close to your home, click HERE.

StreetLight Chicago. This organization provides up-to-date information on Chicago-based food, housing, and health resources for young adults between the ages of 16 and 24. To connect with an interactive map with food resources click HERE.


SHOPPING HOURS FOR VULNERABLE POPULATION

Whether you shop at Aldi, Jewel, Mariano’s or Trader Joe’s, they have established shopping hours for senior citizens and other vulnerable populations. To find out about each individual store special schedule, click HERE.

Get help by phone from Greater Chicago Food Depository staff with determining eligibility and applying for Medicaid or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.


FOR PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

In Chicago, public transit remains an essential service. To get information from the CTA about public transportation scheduling, frequency and alerts, click HERE.


—> Information curated by Dr. Edel Marie Jose and Suzanne McBride
—> Illustration by Elio Leturia
Icons by Eucalyp and Nikita Golubev/ flaticon.com


 

In times of distress, supporting local news sources is more important than ever

By Suzanne McBrideTHE HUNGER WE HAVE for news and information at this chaotic and confusing time demonstrates the important role the media plays in helping us navigate our ever-changing world. Now more than ever it’s imperative that each of us look for reliable information that has been confirmed by credible and authoritative sources we trust.

Where did your family member get the information he posted on Facebook? How did your friend get the information she posted on Twitter? Did the that information come from trained journalists reporting on the coronavirus? Or was your relative or friend simply sharing something they heard somewhere?


The “free” information that many of us get when we go online each day is not actually free.

This is the time when the importance of journalism, especially at the local level, is clear, and that’s why I’m asking each of you to make a commitment to support one local media outlet that’s helping you stay informed in this critical time. Whether it’s one of Chicago’s daily newspapers, a radio or television station, or an online site that covers your community, each of these outlets depends on your business to keep going and be able to provide the invaluable information you’ve come to rely on.

Well before the coronavirus crisis hit, hundreds of local newspapers over the last decade had closed, and many more now are in jeopardy. The “free” information that many of us get when we go online each day is not actually free. Journalists have to shift through a great deal of information; interview reluctant or fearful sources; confirm facts that are often complicated and convoluted; verify the veracity of video and photos submitted to them; produce coherent stories on deadline – and then do it all again later sometimes that same day.

At most media organizations, advertising, subscriptions and/or memberships used to cover the costs of reporters, photographers, editors and other journalists, but that’s not the case anymore at many places. Throughout the United States, news outlets have laid off employees, slashed their workers’ pay, furloughed staff members or had to shut down altogether. Your help is needed to prevent that from happening here in Chicago. Your support of even a few dollars a week can make all the difference.

Here are some of the many local news organizations I hope you’ll consider subscribing to or becoming a member. Please know this is not an exhaustive list:

» Block Club Chicago
» Chicago Defender
» Chicago Public Radio/WBEZ
» Chicago Public Television/WTTW
» Chicago Reader
» Chicago Reporter
» Chicago Sun-Times
» Chicago Tribune
» South Side Weekly

In a time of so much uncertainty when many of our budgets are already strained, I appreciate your willingness to support media institutions that help keep us informed about our democracy. Thank you!


Suzanne McBride is Chair of the Communication Department at Columbia College Chicago and an editor at the Chicago Sun-Times. She is also editor and publisher of AustinTalks.org, an online news site that covers Chicago’s West Side. She had her Fulbright in Ireland.