Last fall, the neighborhood formerly known as Boystown changed its name to Norh Halsted, after complaints of exclusion against other sections of the LGBTQ community. I interview activist Devlyn Camp, who wrote the petition that started it all.
Renata del Sol, a 6-year-old-girl from Venezuela who is diagnosed with epilepsy and cerebral palsy, is in dire need of medication and amenities that are almost impossible to find in her home country.
Her aunt and now parent, Zory Lugli, is a family friend of mine. Since we live outside of Venezuela, where resources are more accessible, my family decided to start a GoFundMe page to fundraise for Renata’s needs.
I invite you to learn more about her story through the video above, and hope you consider contributing to her renaissance.
I’m Gabriel Paredes Reyes, but most people call me Gabe. Born in Caracas, Venezuela, the political turmoil of my homeland pushed me to grow up in two distinct perspectives of the American experience: the deep southern flavor of Louisiana and the quaint midwestern humility of Nebraska.
It was in Omaha where I published my first story to my high school newspaper. Since then, I’ve loved the thrill of being a journalist, dipping my toes into a story idea to then navigate a deep sea of causes, effects, and entangling points of views.
Now studying multimedia journalism at Loyola University Chicago, I’ve grown an interest in telling stories through documentaries. I see cameras and video as a unique tools to authentically capture the sounds, colors, and emotions of the world around us.
Outside of Journalism, I enjoy exploring my current home of Chicago, the peaceful nightmare of golf, and the warmth of spending time with the people I love.
With this blog, I plan to highlight artistic creators studying at Loyola University Chicago. As I write this in February of 2021, the COVID-19 pandemic has made it tough for everyone to do what they like to do in the same way they did it before social distancing.
These students, whether photographers, videographers, graphic designers, etc., have managed to persevere past the challenges of their environment and continue practicing their craft while maintaining themselves healthy. I hope that by showcasing these students I can inspire others to find ways to create and pursue their passions despite the unfortunate circumstances they may face, even when there isn’t a global pandemic.
By getting to know these creatives, I can inspire myself as well as I also try to find new ways to tell stories and overcome challenges.
Since starting college, I’ve grown an interest in producing documentaries. This led to a group of Loyola students and I to start a student media group in October of 2019 called Small Town Chicago, where we produce mini-documentaries on the people, cultures, strengths, and weaknesses of the most unique yet overshadowed neighborhoods in Chicago.
In just over a year we’ve produced four mini-documentaries in three different neighborhoods from North Lawndale to Roseland, but the coronavirus restrictions challenged us as much as anyone else.
For the Fall semester of 2020, we set out to shed a light on the displacement of the Hispanic and artistic culture of Pilsen, due to the ever-rising expenses of gentrification. The story was so good it could tell itself, we just had to figure out how to shoot and edit a detailed documentary as a deadly disease rampaged through the world.
It made us rethink everything: how to collaborate remotely, how to meet safely, how to coordinate interviews safely. What equipment would be the safest to use? Everything now had a safety element to it.
I’m proud to say that by the end of the Fall semester we produced what I believe is our best work yet, but this virus put the game in a difficulty level we had never faced before. This experience gives me respect for all creators who have persevered past this pandemic, as well as other challenges, to continue doing what they love.
I hope our stories can motivate others to create as well.