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CPS students are walking out. Here’s why.

By Sidney Madden | @sidney_madden_


CPS students are planning to walk out Friday after returning to school this week following days off due to reopening negotiations between the district and the Chicago Teachers Union.

A group of students joined together earlier this month to form Chi-Rads, a radical youth alliance pushing for students to have a seat at the bargaining table.

And while Chi-Rads support the teachers union, they say students have been excluded by both CPS and CTU in the reopening conversations. 

“If we felt like we were being fully represented in this discussion, then we wouldn’t feel the need to build coalitions like this,” Lux DeLaGarza, Chi-Rads member and junior at Eric Solorio Academy in Gage Park, told the Triibe

Amid negotiations, the group published their own list of demands: They want N95 masks, student laptops, safe continuation of extracurriculars, and more social support programs. 

But it’s not just Chicago students — young people across the country are protesting the COVID-19 policies and protocols in their schools.

New York students walked out Tuesday, Seattle students are staging a sick-out Friday, and Oakland students said they’d be ready to strike as early as next week.

So, will the Chicago students’ demands be heard?

👉 Follow Chi-Rads on Instagram or Twitter for more about Friday’s walkout. 

🎧 Listen to students tell City Cast how they felt returning to school earlier this school year. 

Chi-Rads were not taking interviews at the time of request. 


It’s been more than two years since Chicago rapper Juice WRLD died from a drug overdose, sending shock waves across the city and music world. 

A new documentary captures his meteoric rise after coming on the scene in 2015 with viral SoundCloud songs, and dark explorations of addiction and mental illness in his music — including in his newly released album. 

🎧 Listen to Chicago music writer Mark Braboy tell us about Juice WRLD’s impact and “the artist’s darkest album.”

👉 Watch the “Juice WRLD: Into the Abyss” documentary on HBO. Listen to the “Fighting Demons” album. Read a letter from the rapper’s mother.


▪️ Uber and Lyft’s new local super PAC and nonprofit don’t help drivers — they hurt them. [Crain’s Chicago]

▪️ The city said it’d distribute 1.5 million KN95 masks. [NBC Chicago]

▪️ An outside contractor failed to properly test Stateville prison’s water after reports of high levels of contamination. [Chicago Reader]

▪️ On this day two years ago, a Chicago resident returned from Wuhan, China. She was the state’s first known COVID-19 case and the country’s second. [Chicago Magazine]

▪️This Lory Litefoot–Kamala Harris parody had us CACKLING 😭

▪️ Get hyped to see plays and musicals for $30 or less during next month’s Chicago Theatre Week. Tickets are on sale now 💃


Thanks to all the readers and listeners who nominated City Cast Chicago as the best newsletter and podcast in the city! Now, it’s time to vote. 

Show us some love — the Chicago Reader poll is open until Feb. 2.


+ FRIDAY: Art show opening in West Town
See the work of local emerging artists at the Martin Friday from 6–9 p.m.

+ SATURDAY: Heffer BBQ pick-up in Pilsen
Order sausages, brisket burgers, and ribs for this weekend’s NFL playoffs.

+ THIS WEEK: Free Days at the Shedd
Illinois residents can get into the aquarium for free through Monday.


Our very own Jacoby Cochran wrote a love letter to his family-owned skating rink in the new “Storytellers’ True Stories about Love” anthology. 

For 10 years, Rich City Skate in Richton Park was a beloved rink by the community and Jacoby. Here’s an excerpt: 

“Those were some of the best years of my life. And ironically, I have the injuries to prove it. I’ve dislocated the thumb on my right hand multiple times. I’ve cracked my ankle in three different places, leaving irreparable damage to my shin. I’ve torn the meniscus in my left knee, dislocated my shoulder, and ripped my groin on two separate occasions. Yet, when I think about those years, I rarely think about the injuries.”

A bright yellow, red, and blue arch that says "FOOD COURT" welcomes guests into an arcade with air hockey tables, video game machines, and a snack bar.
Rich City Skate. (Image by Jacoby Cochran)

Look at Jacoby skating into our pod feeds and hearts — nothing but good vibes and smooth footwork 💙

👉 Get your copy now.

Baby Yoda dances in the snow.

Not only did reader Caroline Patton tell us her fav hidden gem in the city earlier this week — Shit Fountain in Ukrainian Village — Caroline also told friends to subscribe to the City Cast newsletter. What. A. Champ. 

Be like Caroline! Send in your Chicago hidden gems, AND earn rewards when you tell friends to subscribe to our newsletter 🤪