Stella M. Chávez | KERA News

Stella M. Chávez

Immigration/Demographics Reporter

Stella M. Chávez is a reporter covering immigration and demographics for KERA News. Her work at the station has earned multiple awards, for education coverage and projects such as Generation One, which focused on first-generation students in North Texas schools.

Her journalism roots run deep: She spent a decade and a half in newspapers – including seven years at The Dallas Morning News, where she covered education and won the Livingston Award for National Reporting, which is given annually to the best journalists across the country under age 35. The award-winning entry was  “Yolanda’s Crossing,” a seven-part DMN series she co-wrote that reconstructs the 5,000-mile journey of a young Mexican sexual-abuse victim from a small Oaxacan village to Dallas. For two years, she worked for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, where she was part of the agency’s outreach efforts on the Affordable Care Act and ran the regional office’s social media efforts.

Ways to Connect

Courtesy of Emma Chalott Barron

For weeks, Emma Chalott Barron had been riddled with anxiety, wondering how the U.S. Supreme Court would rule on the program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.

In this 2019 file photo, Tarrant County Sheriff Bill Waybourn addresses the county commissioners court ahead of a vote to extend the controversial 287(g) agreement with federal immigration authorities.
Christopher Connelly / KERA News

Tarrant County Commissioners voted Tuesday to extend the county’s contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Lillian Ayro, a pastor, business owner and parent, addresses the demonstrators gathered in downtown Waxahachie, Texas, at a Black Lives Matter protest on Saturday, June 6, 2020.
Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

Lillian Ayro, a mother of three boys and three girls, elevated her voice so the crowd gathered in the Ellis County Courthouse square could hear her share what it's like to be an African American parent.

"Every time my children leave out the door, I am not like my white sisters who don't worry about it. I worry." 

Courtesy of Daniel Kapuku

We first met David Kapuku in the fall of 2014, during an orientation for refugee students at Conrad High School in Dallas. He was the students’ guide, showing them around the building.

Police shot gas a kneeling protestors on the Hunt Hill Bridge Monday.
Hady Mawajdeh / KERA News

Protests continued around North Texas for a fourth day Monday, with one in Dallas resulting in police firing smoke bombs at a crowd on the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge. 

Eric Gay / Associated Press

The toll of the COVID-19 pandemic is staggering: More than 90,000 Americans have died of the disease and more than 38 million people have filed for unemployment since March. While the pain is widespread, it hasn’t been equal.

Blanca Parra Gonzalez says her longtime partner, Hugo Dominguez, worked at Quality Sausage Company in Dallas and died last weekend of COVID-19.
Stella M. Chavez / KERA News

The family of a man who died of COVID-19 has sued the West Dallas meat processing plant where he worked. The suit alleges Quality Sausage Company didn’t take the virus seriously or protect its workers. 

Dallas City Hall

Some in Dallas may qualify for financial aid to pay their rent or mortgage as the city launched its mortgage and rental assistance program Monday, as well as a fund to help small businesses. The city has set aside $6.1 million for rent and mortgage aid and $5 million for small businesses.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

Two workers at a meat processing plant in West Dallas died of COVID-19 in the last few days. And on Tuesday, family members blamed Quality Sausage Company for not shutting the plant down earlier, as soon as there were signs of infection among employees.

Fareed Khan / Associated Press

Ramadan begins tonight, but with social distancing guidelines in place, Muslims around the world are making some adjustments to how they observe it. One North Texas Muslim leader is keeping certain spiritual traditions alive.

Courtesy of Izcan Ordaz

Izcan Ordaz voted for the first time in Texas’ Democratic primary on March 3, or Super Tuesday. As an 18-year-old high school senior, he was excited for this milestone in his young life.

That was just before the U.S. became an epicenter in the coronavirus pandemic.


Being cooped up at home with family members every day can lead to problems — or intensify existing ones. Some family attorneys say they've seen a spike in calls during the COVID-19 pandemic from people contemplating divorce.

Tom and Lisa Beck

Several times a week, Lisa and Tom Bick hop on their road bikes and cruise the countryside of Ellis County.

Stella M. Chavez / KERA News

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the International Rescue Committee in Dallas had a plan — to encourage its clients to fill out the Census. Now the rescue committee and other groups are also making sure their clients — many of whom are refugees — have enough to eat and know how to stay safe.

Ricardo ISD

Ricardo in South Texas is a tiny blip on the map. There's no grocery store and no traffic light.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins

Dallas County has ordered residents to stay home – shelter in place – in an effort to slow down the spread of the coronavirus. It's one of the most aggressive measures taken by a county in Texas to date.


Kim Jermany is a full-time doctoral student and works as a part-time teaching assistant. She also has two kids, a five and 11-year-old. Now that all of them are under one roof 24-7, it’s been a juggling act.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

Cable news watchers know Soledad O’Brien from her time at CNN. These days she produces and anchors her own political magazine show, and she’s also become a vocal critic of other media outlets. 


Dallas County announced Thursday night that five more people are "presumptive positive" cases of COVID-19. The county's top executive officially declared it an emergency, saying public gatherings of 500 or more people will be prohibited starting at 11 a.m. Friday. The ban will continue, for now, until 11 a.m. on March 20.

Genevieve Collins For Congress

Genevieve Collins has won the Republican primary for the 32nd Congressional District, one of the most closely-watched races in North Texas. 

Five candidates were vying for the seat in the district, which includes much of Dallas County and part of Collin County.

Stella Chavez / KERA News

More than 700,000 Texas Democrats voted early for today’s Super Tuesday primary, but tens of thousands of them voted for candidates who are no longer in the race.

Stella Chavez / KERA

Young people want to spend money on cool gadgets and clothes, but many of them don’t know how to save up for that. Some Dallas high school students are learning how to manage their money through a leadership conference hosted by Fidelity Investments.  The school hopes the students will be able to influence their peers' financial knowledge.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

They came from around Texas – dozens of college and high school age Latinos. Their message to political candidates: Listen to us, our vote matters.

A polling location in San Antonio, Texas
Associated Press

A projected 32 million Latinos will be eligible to vote in this year’s U.S. presidential election, according to the Pew Research Center.

This means that Latinos, for the first time, will make up the largest racial and ethnic minority voting bloc.

Gov. Greg Abbott
Christopher Connelly / KERA News

Months and weeks before Gov. Greg Abbott said refugees would not be resettled in Texas this fiscal year, dozens of organizations and individuals lobbied him behind the scenes.

Courtesy Justin Terveen

Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson released the Task Force on Safe Communities report Thursday. The report recommends ways to reduce violent crime in the city.

Dallas Portal Screen
Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

On a recent December morning, five twenty-somethings gathered inside a gold shipping container at Bonton Farms in Southeast Dallas. It was like a mini movie auditorium with a large projector screen. 

Anton "Tony" Wallace, left, and Richard White were killed Sunday in a shooting inside West Freeway Church of Christ on Dec. 29.
Courtesy / Facebook

The two church members killed Sunday in the sanctuary of West Freeway Church of Christ were not just bystanders in a violent attack. Friends and family say Anton Wallace and Richard White were men dedicated to their church community and deeply rooted in their faith. 

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins
Christina Ulsh / KERA News

Dallas County Commissioners unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday welcoming refugees and consenting to resettlement in the county.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

The North Texas region leads the country in the number of people arrested by U.S. immigration and Customs Enforcement.