It's hard to believe that 2017 is nearly on the books. It seems like only yesterday I woke up in a hotel room in St. Louis on the day after the 2016 election in November sandwiched between a half empty bottle of bourbon and a my laptop.
While I didn't travel America as much as I normally have in recent years, there was no shortage of news in Chicago, where activists marched, rallied, and worked together to both build community and resist any number of attacks on marginalized communities and other issues both local and national.
While I'll have a much longer written reflection (with plenty of visuals) in the coming week or so, I wanted to share some of my favorite photos from the year. Many of these are from stories I reported for Chicagoist, but there's also quite a few that were never published (either because my fantastic colleague Tyler LaRiviere was on the ground with me shooting or they were left on the cutting room floor).
In addition, there's a few from other things I've shot - either from the few times I traveled this year or from other events I shot for other folks I've done work with. Where applicable, the captions have a link to a story.
I'll be back to more regularly scheduled posts, podcasts, and more next week, and will be doing a lot more subscriber-only things.
As always, I can never thank y'all enough for supporting my work. Much love!
Me, all geared up and soaking wet covering a Fight For 15 march sometime in May
Demonstrators outside a Burger King in the Chicago Loop in March on International Women's Day. Activists targeted that and other fast food locations to highlight several disturbing cases of sexual harassment and intimidation of the job employees have faced.
Demonstrators picket outside a fundraiser for Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner at the Chicago Hilton. Rauner presided over a years-long budget impasse that drastically harmed social service agencies and labor unions throughout the state.
Thousands take to the streets every year on May Day, also known as International Worker's Day. In Chicago, marches and rallies not only highlight and show solidarity with struggling workers, but also of other marginalized communities - particularly immigrants.
In May, activists demanding a fully-funded budget that protects social services walked from Chicago to Springfield, Illinois' capitol. The trip took about 15 days. Along the way, the group stopped in various towns to talk to local residents about the effects of the state's budget impasse. The march culminated with 34 arrests in the Capitol Building on May 31st.
Veterans with the VFW Hall in suburban Tinley Park fire a three-volley salute on Memorial Day.
Chicago's three-day long “People’s Summit” featured workshops, teach-ins, trainings, lectures and speeches from a host of progressive activists, organizers and others seeking to build and sustain a movement in the face of both an emboldened right wing and traditional centrist and neoliberal Democrats, who critics say have abandoned or sidelined the ideals of the left.
Long exposure of the night sky as seen from the small town of Ferryville, Wisconsin.
A reenactment of the siege of Prairie Du Chien during the War of 1812. Each year in July, reanactors in and others participate in a mock battle in the small Wisconsin town at the site of Fort Shelby.
In July, demonstrators donned outfits inspired by the Margaret Atwood novel turned Hulu series The Handmaid's Tale to urge Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner to sign HB40, a bill that removed restrictions on Medicaid and state employee health insurance, allowing coverage for all pregnancy-related care, including abortion. The law, which Rauner eventually signed in September, also repealed “trigger” language that would criminalize abortion in Illinois should the Supreme Court overturn Roe vs. Wade.
Revelers light fireworks in Chicago's Winnemac Park on July 4th.
Chicago Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa speaks at a press conference on education equity outside the National Teachers Academy during a "bus tour for fair funding" to highlight disparity created by the underfunding of neighborhood public schools.
In July, I spent a week in Oklahoma City the Gathering of the Juggalos slinging books for Microcosm Publishing, shooting photos, and trying to write a story on the annual festival hosted by Insane Clown Posse. I got a short story up on Chicagoist with a few of my photos, along with a whole gallery from Nate 'Igor' Smith, but still haven't finished the now 3,000+ word (and counting) long piece. Hoping I can get to it sometime in the new year, or at least before the next one rolls around.
Chicago Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa poses with Rock Island Alderman Dylan Parker at an event during the three-day long convention of the Democratic Socialists of America at UIC in Chicago. Rosa is now running to represent the 4th District of Illinois in the US House of Representatives.
Hundreds marched through the Chicago Loop for two days in August to show solidarity with the victims and denounce white supremacy in the wake of the domestic terror attack on counter-protesters by white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Protesters filled the Chicago Loop and later shut down an intersection in front of an Immigration Customs Enforcement office in response to the Trump administration's decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
Dorothy Holmes, whose son Ronald Johnson was shot and killed by Chicago police in 2014, speaks at a rally in front of Chicago Police headquarters to mark the third anniversary of the Laquan McDonald shooting, which sparked weeks-long protests.
Democratic candidate for Illinois' 3rd Congressional District Marie Newman speaks at an endorsement event hosted by NARAL Pro-Choice America.
My dear friend, companion, comrade, and boss, Questor.