History

MC Don Hall and storytellers Nestor Gomez, Laura Mendoza, Ibrahim Mokhtar, Suzanne Akhras Sahloul, Zahra Aljuboori and Emily Lund at our night of immigrant stories at the Oak Park Library on Feb. 5, 2018.
MC Don Hall and storytellers Nestor Gomez, Laura Mendoza, Ibrahim Mokhtar, Suzanne Akhras Sahloul, Zahra Aljuboori and Emily Lund at our night of immigrant stories at the Oak Park Library on Feb. 5, 2018. Photo by Michelle Kanaar

We have centered the voices and images of immigrants in our work from the start.

Chicago is a city of immigrants. Between 2014 and 2018, over 1.6 million immigrants lived in the metropolitan Chicago area. And nearly one-third of households in Cook County, Illinois include one or more immigrants.

Yet, Chicago’s local media is woefully under-serving immigrant populations in the region today. 

In 2012, there were over 130 local and national media outlets serving primarily immigrant audiences in Chicago. Today, just over half of those outlets remain. 

Borderless Magazine grew out of a rapid-response journalism project called 90 Days, 90 Voices, which launched just two weeks after President Donald Trump signed the Muslim Travel Ban in February 2017. Seeing a gap in local media coverage of the travel ban, 90 days, 90 Voices cofounders Sarah Conway, Alex Hernandez and Nissa Rhee began publishing stories on Medium that amplified the voices of local immigrants impacted by national policies.

Artist Dan Rowell joined the project early on as an illustrator and then art director, and they designed the 90 Days, 90 Voices logo. In 2018, 90 Days, 90 Voices incorporated as a nonprofit organization with the support of Chicagoans who demanded more and better local reporting on immigration. Michelle Kanaar joined the team that year and helped cofound Borderless Magazine. Dan Rowell left in February 2019 to start nursing school, and Sarah Conway departed in January 2020 to join City Bureau as their managing editor of civic reporting programs. 

In October 2019, we changed our name to Borderless Magazine and launched a standalone website. We hired cofounders Michelle Kanaar and Nissa Rhee as our first full-time employees in May 2020, and we now have a staff of five.