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Social Issues

Today few Americans have print subscriptions, and many local news outlets have struggled to develop a digital audience. These challenges are among the intractable problems the Local News Initiative was created to help solve.

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We were only 15 minutes into our lab meeting when my single tear became what Oprah calls “the ugly cry.” My graduate students are therapists in training at the Family Institute at Northwestern, so they met my wave of emotion with empathy. I felt embarrassed, nonetheless.

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“When you're in this position, as I am, as a mother who has lost a child, it never goes away. It's just sometimes you can bury it a little bit deeper than other days.” In 2016 Shapearl Wells’ 22-year-old son, Courtney Copeland, was found outside a Chicago police station with a fatal bullet wound in his back.

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Geneve Ong ’14 is part of the fight to address COVID-19 in Singapore. As the senior assistant director of strategic planning for the government in Singapore, she helps find relocation options for people who are unable to shelter in place safely.

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Sharmila Wijeyakumar founded Rahab’s Daughters to help victims of human trafficking in Illinois. She says there is an unprecedented need for her work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Sharmila Wijeyakumar
Food truck operator Nizar Ku and friends created a “fund-a-meal” program to provide fresh, hot meals to those in need. They started delivering food to front-line medical workers but quickly shifted to feeding daily wage earners most affected by the lockdown, including Rohingya refugees, who often have no official status and find it hard to ask authorities for help.

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As president of the El Pasoans Fighting Hunger Food Bank (EPFH), Stuart Schwartz '76 has been fighting an uphill battle to get food to everyone who needs it. The COVID-19 crisis has led to a dramatic increase in food insecurity, and Schwartz and his team are working tirelessly amid staffing, supply and distribution challenges so that no one goes hungry during the pandemic.

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An organization run by Northwestern students is working hard to keep Evanston’s small business owners afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic. Helped by a $100,000 contribution from the city of Evanston, Lending for Evanston and Northwestern Development (LEND) is offering no-interest loans of up to $5,000 to entrepreneurs hit hard by the crisis.

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Lending a hand
Student Saif Bhatti relied on Northwestern connections to develop a smart listening device that might slow illegal poaching. After meeting first with his computer science and mechatronics professors, he’s turned to more than a dozen faculty, students and staff at McCormick School of Engineering, Northwestern Pritzker School of Law and the University’s Global Learning Office for support to get the project off the ground.

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In our increasingly computer-facilitated lives, we are constantly confronted by new threats to our personal privacy. We have learned that our credit cards, electronic home assistants and smartphones are all capable of sharing our personal information with their corporate sponsors.

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Matthew Kugler