“Lord, Help Me Move”

Stories • January 28th, 2019
Niwana Johnson hurls her fists. She shoves. And then she starts running.   She sprints away from the two women she had been fighting, heading for asphalt. She leaps into the street. She doesn’t see the car, but she feels it.   The impact sends her careening into the air. Bystanders say she flew 20 feet high.      Niwana doesn’t quite black out. It’s more of...
Read More

Jim and Darlene Conner: Chapter Two

Stories • October 30th, 2018
A torrential August rain pummels Chicago, turning streets into wading pools. But inside a brick building three floors up in the city’s Andersonville neighborhood, the rain just serves as a steady soundtrack as Darlene and Jim Conner settle me at the dining room table of their apartment, offering me an array of tea bags and slabs of homemade Black Forest cake.   Their 20-year-old son...
Read More

Colleen Brinkmeier: “Only God Brought Me Through”

Stories • June 27th, 2018
Around 7:30 a.m., inside a brick house on the corner of Kimbark and Kenwood Avenues on the far South Side of Chicago, Colleen Brinkmeier gathers at a table with Debra on a recent Tuesday, just as they do every morning.   They pull out their Bibles, and each has brought with them a devotional, from which they’ll share a passage with one another.   A block away, 87th...
Read More

James Kang: A Heart for Asia

Stories • June 4th, 2018
  James Kang moves through Southeast Asia with alacrity and aplomb, wearing flip flops and weaving through the streets without fear, stepping in front of the ever-present motorbikes weaving past him—often hopping on one himself—and greeting longtime friends in just about every country.   James had grown a silver-flecked, ebony mustache for the first time just before a...
Read More

Nikki Janes: Seeking Light Through the Layers

Stories • March 21st, 2018
When some people see an expo atmosphere, with swaths of tables set up by companies and organizations giving away free pens or t-shirts or other swag, they gravitate toward the freebies.   Not Nikki Janes.   Tables filled with freebies hardly ever appeal to her.   But one day at the start of her freshman year, she wandered the green space at the University of...
Read More