Tlaxcala Dreams of New Haven

On stage, mothers find a hole in the border to visit their migrant children.

David Mendieta leans over the railing at John F. Kennedy International Airport, holding his baby boy and glancing often at the arrivals board with heavy eyelids. A 25-year-old contractor, Mendieta woke up his wife and son before dawn for the two-hour drive from their house in West Haven to pick up his mother at the terminal. His son bats a “Welcome Home” balloon. Tired families trickle into the lobby, all waiting for their mothers to arrive from Mexico. Anxiety mounts as light spills through the. . . Read more
Sebi Medina-Tayac
Checking into Limbo

How a real estate developer and government regulators failed hundreds of low-income families in New Haven.

Ramon DeJesus, a former tenant of Church Street South. From above, the Church Street South complex looks like a yard of stray train cars. Each of the nineteen buildings is a squat, concrete rectangle coated in a layer of yellow-beige paint. It could be the site of a massive derailment. Evidence of human occupancy catches the eye: a blue bike on a second floor balcony, a towel hanging from a window. One basketball hoop. Amy Marx observes the apartment complex from the eighth floor of. . . Read more
Elena Saavedra Buckley
The Signal’s Back In Town

A new radio station wants to localize New Haven’s airwaves.

Halfway through a show on New Haven’s new local radio station, Onyeka Obiocha is talking about rural Tanzanian villages. But, as is standard on WNHH, the conversation loops back to the city. Obiocha’s warm, tenor voice describes how the beans make their way to his downtown coffee shop, The Happiness Lab. Shafiq Abdussabur, the host of Urban Talk Radio, asks him about the ins and outs of the business in a voice that can command a room. Adbussabur takes measured, attention-grabbing pauses between sentences as. . . Read more
Elena Saavedra Buckley
What’s Left Behind

The Mexican town of Tetlanohcan grapples with New Haven’s influence.

“Get in, guero [white boy], it’s cold out here,” said Daniel Mendieta, naked in the mountain air. He leaned out of the temazcal built at the edge of the cornfield. The sweat lodge, bathed in crisp moonlight, had been in the family’s backyard for generations—it was the site of their monthly purification steam baths. I undressed, placed my clothes on a dusty wooden chair, and crawled into the candlelit opening. Inside, Daniel threw a shallow bowl of water into the black hole of an antechamber. . . Read more
Sebi Medina-Tayac
Of A Certain Age

The culture of fake IDs at Yale.

Nora is anxiously awaiting a package. She is lying on her bed in her suite when she finally gets the USPS delivery notice on her iPhone. After class that afternoon, she picks up a bulky envelope from the Yale post office. Two of her friends are already waiting for her back in the suite. They eye the package impatiently. “Moment of truth,” one of them says. Nora rips open the pouch and removes a small, lilac box tied with pale purple ribbon. She flips off. . . Read more
Spencer Bokat-Lindell
For Country?

The “Renaissance” of Yale’s relationship with the U.S. military.

The seventy-five men and women in blue and black uniforms trace the perimeter of the basketball court in Payne Whitney Gymnasium with crisp, synchronized movements. As the students march, the patriotic chords of “Anchors Aweigh,” “Off We Go into the Wild Blue Yonder,” and the “Marine’s Hymn”—the traditional songs of the United States Navy, Air Force, and Marines—resonate across the gym. Row by row, the cadets and midshipmen of Yale’s Air Force and Naval Reserve Officer’s Training Corps battalions salute Yale President Peter Salovey, the. . . Read more
Jane Darby Menton
The Uncertain Hour

Standing at the threshold of society, newly released inmates plan their next steps

Hudson Street, just off of Whalley Avenue, looks like any other street after a hard winter. The asphalt is pocked with fresh potholes, the sidewalks cracked from months of ice. Debris litters the edges of the road—stray tires, plastic bottles, scraps of clothing, a discarded pair of shoes. The shoes look like black-and-white low-top Converse, but their rubber soles are thinner and flimsier, and the ripped canvas bears no insignia. They are state-issued prison sneakers, given to inmates by the Department of Correction On one. . . Read more
Edward Columbia
Expect the Worst

In an age of false security, preppers plan for disaster

The walls of Nick Provost’s suburban Connecticut living room are decorated with a taxidermied deer head and a few grandmotherish tchotchkes in the colors of the American flag. A flat-screen television occupies one corner. Provost’s three blonde daughters, ages 9, 8, and 7, chase each other through the room. About a dozen people sit around on couches, chairs, and stools. Nick Provost, a boyish 28-year-old with a warm, crooked smile, lies on the floor. A black strap called a Hasty Harness is wrapped between his. . . Read more
Isabelle Taft
Everyday Evil

Can a new network of radical vegans change the mainstream liberal agenda?

The funeral was supposed to begin at 7:30 p.m., but the mourners didn’t show up until closer to 8. They came dressed all in black except for their sneakers. None of them had been to this kind of funeral before, and they were nervous. “I haven’t memorized my speech,” a young woman named Bianca told me. The procession was going to begin at the New Haven Green. Bianca shuffled around the flagpole, trying to get warm. With nightfall, the mist had turned to cold pinpricks. . . Read more
Eric Boodman
American Spirit on the Housatonic

What does it take for a Native American tribe to be acknowledged by the U.S. government?

The Schaghticoke tribe is praying for the long-lost bones of its ancestors. Standing on the Connecticut reservation their families once called home, members clasp one another’s cold hands. They turn their backs on the neighboring town of Kent and on the massive vans parked like sleeping giants on the other end of the plateau. They wait outside the wooden fence of the reservation’s small cemetery, bordered by spindly birch trees and the Housatonic River. It is early November, and they have gathered from across the. . . Read more
Maya Averbuch