The Christian Science Monitor

How a Chicago photographer uses art to bridge racial divides

When Tonika Johnson was in high school, her day began at 5:45 each morning at a bus stop at 63rd and South Loomis on Chicago’s South Side. Using bus, train, and another bus, she traveled far from her Englewood neighborhood, with its storefront churches, abandoned houses, and vacant lots, to a selective high school on the city’s North Side, a journey whose final leg took her down a tree-lined street graced with cafes and boutiques.

“I thought, wow, this street looks totally different from my neighborhood,” she says. “Why doesn’t my neighborhood have these things?”

The question has haunted her ever since. The racial and economic divide she crossed each day was an old scar across the city, separating the poorer, mostly African

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Christian Science Monitor

The Christian Science Monitor8 min readPolitics
In Iowa, Buttigieg Seeks Trump Voters. He May Need More Democrats.
Mayor Pete Buttigieg woos voters in six rural Iowa counties that voted for Barack Obama in 2012, but flipped to Donald Trump in 2016.
The Christian Science Monitor6 min read
‘Granny Flats’: More Affordable Housing. More Parked Cars, Too.
Montgomery County clash over “granny flats” symbolizes a struggle to build affordable housing in leafy suburbs facing racial and economic change.
The Christian Science Monitor6 min readPolitics
For These Young Socialists, It’s All About Local Control
Socialism is gaining ground in the U.S., even as Republicans treat it as a slur. Democratic socialists in New York value local control.