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Christine Herman

Christine Herman spent nine years studying chemistry before she left the bench to report on issues at the intersection of science and society. She started in radio in 2014 as a journalism graduate student at the University of Illinois and a broadcast intern at Radio Health Journal. Christine has been working at WILL since 2015.

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As racial disparities in maternal and child health outcomes persist in the U.S., a new statewide initiative aims to promote equity in maternal health and improve outcomes for all women and children.

When a woman dies during pregnancy or within a year of childbirth in Illinois, that's considered a maternal death. Karen Tabb Dina reviews cases like this in the state of Illinois.

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Kai Humphrey, 9, has been learning from home for more than a year. He badly misses his Washington, D.C., elementary school, along with his friends and the bustle of the classroom.

"I will be the first person ever to have every single person in the world as my friend," he said on a recent Zoom call, his sandy brown hair hanging down to his shoulder blades. From Kai, this kind of proclamation doesn't feel like bragging, more like exuberant kindness.

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Anti-Asian hate appears to have worsened during the pandemic. A recent study from California State University finds anti-Asian hate crimes reported to police in major U.S. cities rose 150% last year — even as overall hate crimes dropped 7%. And an analysis by the group Stop AAPI Hate found nearly 3,800 self-reported cases of anti-Asian bias in the U.S. throughout the pandemic.

Photo provided by Mayra Ramirez

In the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mayra Ramirez contracted the virus and ended up in the ICU on life support. She was 28 years old.

With more than 20 million acres of corn and soybeans, Illinois is among the top U.S. producers of both those crops. To make it all happen, the state relies on thousands of farmworkers — some who travel to the state for seasonal work and others, like 35-year-old Saraí, who call Illinois home.

For more than a decade, Saraí has been a farmworker, cultivating corn and soybeans in the fields of central Illinois. She moved to the U.S. from Mexico to find work that would allow her to better support her family.

A bag of Doritos, that's all Princess wanted.

Her mom calls her Princess, but her real name is Lindsey. She's 17 and lives with her mom, Sandra, a nurse, outside of Atlanta. On May 17, 2020, a Sunday, Lindsey decided she didn't want breakfast; she wanted Doritos. So she left home and walked to Family Dollar, taking her pants off on the way, while her mom followed on the phone with police.

 

On the outskirts of Rantoul, in east-central Illinois, about 100 migrant farmworkers are living at an old hotel in a sleepy part of town.