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CHICAGO — WGN News anchors Micah Materre and Lourdes Duarte hosted “WGN News Special Report: The COVID-19 Divide” on Thursday, May 21.

The special took a closer look at the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 in Chicago’s communities of color, and how differences in access to preventative care, information and existing biases are among the factors.


Experts say a history of segregation and structural inequities set the stage for the deadly disparities Chicago and cities around the world are seeing during this pandemic.

Tackling the health issues and historic disinvestment are Dr. Jeffrey Sterling, Dr. David Ansell, Esther Corpuz, Author Natalie Moore and Illinois Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton.

They examine the wealth, health and death gaps that lead to the higher numbers of COVID-19 in Chicago’s black and Latinx populations.


With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing learning out of classrooms and into homes, living rooms and at dining room tables many Chicago students say they’re facing new challenges in education.

Access to strong WiFi and sometimes the need for multiple computers in a single home are just some of the new hurdles in area households.

Student Brandon Duran and his mother Herlinda Arriaga share their story. So does 2020 Columbia College graduate Naiya Davis. And education leaders Daniel Anello from Kids First Chicago, Dennette Howard from Lumina and Juana Medina from the Pilsen Neighbors Community Council.

Longtime Chicago community activists Father Michael Pfleger from Saint Sabina Church and Dr. Carol Adams, President of Urban Prescriptives weigh in on the road that led to today’s crisis and detail their visions for a path ahead to equality.


Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood was one of the most successful business districts in the city before the pandemic, and similar challenges are being faced by small business owners across the city.  Entrepreneurs and city industry leaders weigh in including Larry Ivory, President of the Illinois Black Chamber of Commerce; Bianca Soto, Exec. Director, Little Village Chamber of Commerce; Laura Gutierrez Ramos, owner of Nuevo Leon restaurant; Jaime Di Paulo, from the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; business owner Elena Duran; and Len Dominguez, President of the Little Village Rotary Club.


Stacy Pitts Caldwell, director of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business Development Center, said the agency is offering free assistance to minority small business owners at

And Sylvia Puente, executive director of the Latino Policy Forum, the only Latino public policy and advocacy organization in Illinois, shares her insights.


The City of Chicago has mobilized its efforts bring much needed support from City Hall to community streets where leaders and activists have been working long before COVID-19 to bring improvements to residents. With updates on the  solutions already in progress are three women enacting the change for equity in Chicago: Ayesha Jaco, Executive Director of West Side United; Sybil Madison, City of Chicago Deputy Mayor; and Candace Moore, the first even City of Chicago Chief Equity Officer.


Singer Joshua Green, a baritone with the First United Methodist Church in Evanston performs a touching tribute with his original song, “Stand Up for Love.”