A new 15-part documentary series that explores the experiences of five people, including a North Lawndale resident, as they confront intergenerational poverty will air online at wttw.com/firsthand on Jan. 18.

“The recent COVID-19 crisis is both exacerbating – and drawing attention to – income inequality in Chicago,” said executive producer Dan Protess.  

“But the reality is that social mobility has been declining in America for a half century and there are vast swaths of our city where the American Dream has long been out of reach,” he said. “That’s why it is so important to share firsthand accounts from people who seldom get a chance to tell their stories, to spotlight the challenges they face, and suggest how we might meet these challenges.”

The new digital series, called FIRSTHAND: Living in Poverty, follows five Chicago residents during the summer and fall of 2020. 

One of the individuals, Dominetrius Chambers, is a lifelong resident of North Lawndale.  

“She seemed to be poised for success: the 20-year-old graduated third in her high school class,” according to a synopsis of the documentary series. 

“But the next steps that a middle-class woman her age might take – college, career, an apartment – have proven elusive. Then Dominetrius was introduced to My Block, My Hood, My City, a nonprofit that introduced her to mentors and exposed her to neighborhoods around the city. Will the excitement of new people and places lead to greater opportunity?”

The series is accompanied by a range of articles, expert video talks, community dialogues, and discussion guides designed to prompt conversations and analysis on the city’s poverty, according to WTTW representatives. 

You can visit wttw.com/events to reserve a spot at an upcoming community discussion.