In the summer of 1995, Chicago experienced an unthinkable disaster, when extremely high humidity and a layer of heat-retaining pollution drove the heat index up to more than 126 degrees. Cooked: Survival by Zip Code tells the story of this tragic heatwave, the most traumatic in U.S. history, in which 739 citizens died over the course of just a single week, most of them poor, elderly, and African American.
When peeled away from the shocking headlines the story reveals the less newsworthy but long-term crisis of pernicious poverty, economic, and social isolation and racism. Cooked is a story about life, death, and the politics of crisis in an American city that asks the question: Was this a one-time tragedy, or an appalling trend?
CONTENT NOTES: Discussions of death, dead bodies and racism; depictions of illness, injury and death.