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In this week's newsletter: The great migration out of Chicago, some of the best reporting on today’s gun control debate, how mass shooting survivors recover and more.

The story of Chicago's black exodus

During the Great Migration, Chicago was one of the most desirable destinations for African Americans seeking opportunities. But since 2000, the city’s black population has declined by more than 250,000.

We wanted to better understand two issues that have fueled the exodus: gun violence and school closures. So for this week’s show, we teamed up with two Chicago-based newsrooms – the Data Reporting Lab and the Chicago Reporter.

Here’s what they found:

The real story behind Chicago’s gun death stats
  • Significantly fewer people are dying because of gun violence in Chicago. However, it turns out that more people are actually being shot.
  • Gun homicides dropped by 30 percent in the last two decades, and law enforcement officials take credit for the drop.
  • Analysis from the Data Reporting Lab throws cold water on that theory: Shootings in the city actually increased by 15 percent during the same period.
  • The reporters found a different cause for the decline in deaths: improvements in trauma care at hospitals, thanks to innovations pulled from the battlefields of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • Confronted with this new information, officials say closely studying injuries, not deaths, could change how local governments try to solve gun violence.
Read more: The Bleeding of Chicago

What happened after Chicago’s great school closure
  • Chicago’s historic school closures were supposed to help kids in bad schools, but researchers determined that most kids didn’t see improvements.
  • In 2013, Chicago’s school board voted to close 50 schools – an unusually large number.
  • At the time, Mayor Rahm Emanuel claimed the closures were to ensure that kids in bad schools made their way to better ones.
  • Chicago’s public schools have lost more than 52,000 students in the past 10 years. That’s because school closures sometimes prompt parents to leave the city altogether.
  • And black neighborhoods have suffered some of the most severe declines and most of the school closures and budget cuts. A loss of 11,000 students in 2016 “tracked closely with population decline in communities with high crime or poverty,” according to a report from WBEZ.

Read more: Thousands of black students leave Chicago for other segregated districts

Impact: Leaders begin inquiries into modern-day redlining

Two weeks ago, we exposed staggering racial disparities in mortgage lending across the country, focusing specifically on Philadelphia.

Now, we’re seeing action: Pennsylvania’s attorney general and treasurer have each launched their own investigations. And the Philadelphia City Council called for hearings, too.

“I’m frankly disgusted by it,” the state attorney general, Josh Shapiro, told lawmakers during a state Senate budget committee hearing Tuesday.

How students recover from a mass shooting

Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, have refused to grieve silently since 17 people were killed in a mass shooting at their school, spending the last two weeks demanding that politicians take up gun control and find other ways to stop school shootings.

Last year, we followed two mass shooting survivors from Colorado who now help others grieve and cope for the film “Grieving in a Fishbowl,” part of our Glassbreaker Films documentary series. Despite the trauma associated with their experiences, they both found a huge opportunity to connect with others.

Filmmaker Olivia Merrion said working on the documentary provided surprising lessons in human strength.

“In the wake of Parkland, stories of survivors are important because they offer a lens into the future,” she said. “The main aim I had with my film is to showcase the human resiliency of these individuals and their strength in numbers.”  

The best deep dives on Parkland and gun violence in America

The NRA’s Straight-A StudentsThe Trace
Key excerpt: To preserve its sway in statehouses, the NRA has its candidate grading system, the power of which is plain to anyone who has ever received a report card. Its lobbyists assign every would-be officeholder a simple letter grade, from A+ through F. Politicians angle for good marks, then must show unfailing loyalty to preserve those grades.

82,000 stolen guns are missing in FloridaReveal/Tampa Bay Times
Key excerpt: Those guns turn up in the hands of drug dealers and felons. Some wind up killing people.

US gun violence spawns a new epidemic: conspiracy theorists harassing victimsThe Guardian
Key excerpt: As record-breaking mass shootings have become a ritual of life in the U.S., survivors and victims’ families across the country have increasingly faced an onslaught of social media abuse and viral slander. Bullying from the ugliest corners of the internet overwhelms the grief-stricken as they struggle to cope with the greatest horror they’ve ever experienced.

Inside the federal bureau of way too many gunsGQ
Key excerpt: The only place the police can turn for help is a Kafkaesque agency in West Virginia, where, thanks to the gun lobby, computers are illegal and detective work is absurdly antiquated. On purpose.
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