Former president Barack Obama with young activists at the University of Chicago, making his first post-presidential public appearance. Credit: Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Welcome to the Reader‘s morning briefing for Tuesday, April 25, 2017.

  • Obama at the University of Chicago: “It is wonderful to be home”

Former president Barack Obama took the first step of his post-presidency mission to mentor young leaders by participating in a panel discussion with a group of six local students and recent graduates at the University of Chicago Monday. More than 400 people attended the event about civic engagement. “The single most important thing I can do, to help in any way, I can prepare the next generation of leadership to take up the baton,” Obama said. He spoke about his days as a community organizer on the south side and advised the students to listen more than they speak. “It did change me,” he said. “This community gave me a lot more than I was able to give in return.” Obama also met with at-risk young men involved in with the nonprofit Emerson Collective program at a community center in Roseland on Sunday. “Obama listened to the young men’s stories and shared some of the challenges that he faced growing up,” Kevin Lewis, a spokesman for the former president, told the Sun-Times. “He expressed that he was optimistic about their potential to positively contribute to their communities and support their families because of the services provided in the program.” [Sun-Times]

  • An abortion bill going through the state legislature could cost Rauner votes

Governor Bruce Rauner is refusing to support an Illinois house bill that would expand Medicaid coverage and remove an abortion trigger provision, and that could cost him important votes in the 2018 gubernatorial race, according to the Sun-Times. The bill “eliminates a provision making abortions illegal in Illinois should Roe v. Wade be overturned and also allows women with Medicaid and state employees to use their coverage for abortions in any case.” The governor wrote in a 2014 candidate questionnaire released by the pro-choice Personal PAC that he supports expanding abortion access for low-income residents, and recently said that he “always been and always will be a strong supporter and protector of women’s reproductive rights.” By vetoing the bill, he’s risking losing votes from female voters, according to Brian Gaines, a political science professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “Abortion is one where inconsistency hurts more,” Gaines told the Sun-Times. “So Rauner’s challenge is to say something like there’s something specific about the bill that is a problem. That even for a pro-choicer like me, there’s some reason why. Something that would sort of persuade suburban female voters that are the ones I presume he would lose that probably make the margin for a Republican governor to win or lose in a state like this.” [Sun-Times]

  • The bag tax aftermath: plastic and paper bag use has dropped by 42 percent

Chicagoans have been using 42 percent less paper and plastic bags from grocery and retail stores since the seven-cent bag tax was implemented February 1, according to a study conducted by behavior design lab ideas42. The city gets five cents from the tax while the store keeps the other two cents, and Mayor Rahm Emanuel was hoping that the tax would bring the city $9.2 million in revenue. “I am glad so many Chicagoans are choosing to forgo paper or plastic bags at checkout, and encourage others to help Chicago further reduce disposable bag use in the city,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement. “By decreasing our paper and plastic bag use, Chicago is making important progress in reducing our carbon footprint as well as reducing street litter and improving recycling operations.” [DNAinfo Chicago]

  • Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity suspended by Northwestern

Northwestern University has suspended its chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity and is requiring members to vacate the fraternity house. “The organization knowingly violated its disciplinary probation earlier this year by repeatedly hosting parties and providing alcohol to minors,” university spokesman Bob Rowley said. Loyola University Chicago recently suspended SAE for three years after alleged hazing incidents. The Northwestern suspension will last until September 1, 2018. [Evanston Review]

  • Thieves drove a BMW through the doors of the Michigan Avenue Louis Vuitton store

Thieves stole more than two dozen Louis Vuitton purses after crashing a BMW to break down the doors of the Paris-based fashion house’s Michigan Avenue store. The theft happened shortly after midnight Monday; the purses could be worth tens of thousands of dollars, with individual bags priced at between $1,300 and $4,000 on the store’s website. [DNAinfo Chicago]

  • Derrick Rose got a standing ovation at the Bulls playoff game

South-side native and former Bulls player Derrick Rose got a surprising standing ovation from the United Center crowd when he attended the team’s playoff game against the Boston Celtics Sunday evening. The NBA free agent said attending the game with his son, P.J., made it easier. “If I was by myself, it might be a little bit weird. But I’m with him,” Rose told the Tribune. “He makes it a lot easier. I look at it all that happened in the past. The memories will always be there. My heart is still here when I visit. I just love basketball, so I had to watch.” Former Bulls players Scottie Pippen, Horace Grant, and Ben Gordon also got ovations from the crowd when they were shown on the video board during the game. [Tribune]