Reparations Ordinance Hearing
A FILM FESTIVAL AGAINST TORTURE
I AM MEMORY: CHICAGO WRITERS AGAINST TORTURE
Opening the Black Box—Reception
Challenges in Combatting Torture: A Conversation with Juan E. Mendez, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture
Twitter Campaign on October 24, United Nations Day
The Reparations Ordinance and Frequently Asked Questions
Download a slideshow presentation about the CTJM project including a gallery of the memorial proposals that appeared in the Opening the Black Box exhibition.
“The fight for justice in the torture cases will not be over until all Burge torture victims receive compensation for their suffering, the men in jail get fair hearings and Burge’s pension is taken from him.”
–– Ronnie Kitchen, torture survivor
O R D I N A N C E
REPARATIONS FOR THE CHICAGO POLICE TORTURE SURVIVORS
WHEREAS, the City of Chicago acknowledges that former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge and detectives under his command systematically engaged in acts of torture, physical abuse and coercion of African American men and women at Area 2 and 3 Police Headquarters from 1972 through 1991; and
WHEREAS, the acts of torture committed by Burge and detectives under his command included electrically shocking individuals on their genitals, lips and ears with an electric shock box or cattle prod; suffocating individuals with plastic bags; subjecting individuals to mock execution with guns; physical beatings with telephone books and rubber hoses; and other forms of physical and psychological abuse; and
WHEREAS, Burge and his men committed these acts of torture and abuse to extract confessions from the victims which were subsequently admitted against them in their criminal prosecutions resulting in their wrongful convictions; and
WHEREAS, these acts of torture, physical abuse and coercion violate state, federal and international law and such acts are universally condemned worldwide; and
WHEREAS, the trauma and damage caused by these heinous acts continue to deleteriously effect the torture survivors, their family members, African American communities and the City of Chicago; and
WHEREAS, the trauma and damage caused by these heinous acts will continue to cause egregious harm to those affected unless the City of Chicago and other municipal bodies enact reparations to mitigate the harm; and
WHEREAS, the City of Chicago has been complicit in the torture practices and tacitly supported those acts by expending more than $20 million of taxpayers’ funds to defend Burge and other detectives implicated in civil litigation brought by the torture survivors, and
WHEREAS, Mayor Emanuel has recently acknowledged that the torture scandal was a dark chapter in the history of the City of Chicago that stained its reputation and that he was sorry for it;
WHEREAS, the City of Chicago must officially acknowledge the torture that occurred in the City and resolve to never allow such acts to go undeterred and unpunished ever again, now therefore,
BE IT ORDAINED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF CHICAGO AND
THE MAYOR OF CHICAGO:
' Hereby issues a formal apology to the torture survivors, their family members, and other affected individuals and communities on behalf of the City of Chicago for the violations and harm incurred by these torture practices.
' Hereby creates a Chicago Police Torture Reparations Commission that is responsible for administering financial reparations to the torture survivors to compensate them for the torture they endured.
' Hereby creates a center on the south side of Chicago that will provide psychological counseling, health care services and vocational training to the torture survivors, their family members and others affected by law enforcement torture and abuse.
' Hereby provides that all torture survivors and their family members be allowed to enroll in City Colleges and receive their education and degree for free.
' Hereby calls on the Chicago Public School system to incorporate into its curriculum a history lesson about the Chicago Police torture cases and the struggles to hold those accountable and to seek reparations for the survivors and affected family members.
' Hereby calls on local law enforcement officials to provide evidentiary hearings to the torture survivors who remain behind bars who had their coerced confessions used against in their criminal proceedings resulting in their wrongful convictions, and moreover, supports the torture survivors’ rights to have a full and fair opportunity to present evidence that demonstrates they were physically coerced into giving a confession.
' Hereby commits to supporting the creation of public memorials that memorialize the Chicago Police Torture survivors and the struggle for justice on their behalf.
' Hereby provides a minimum of $20 million to finance the Chicago Police Torture Reparations Commission, the center on the Southside Center, the creation of a curriculum and to fund the creation of public memorials set forth herein.
' Hereby directs the Corporation Counsel to take whatever legal steps are available to support the stripping of Jon Burge’s pension.
March 4, 2014, 5:13 p.m. – 5:13 p.m.City Hall, 121 N. LaSalle St, 2nd floor, City Council Chambers
The Finance Committee will be having a hearing on the reparations ordinance, date TBA. The proposed Ordinance calls for a formal apology to the survivors; creates a Commission to administer financial compensation to the survivors; creates a medical, psychological and vocational center on the south side for the survivors and their family members; provides free enrollment in City Colleges for the survivors and family members; requires Chicago Public schools to teach a history lesson about the cases; requires the City to fund public memorials about the cases; and sets aside $20 million to finance this redress, the same amount of money the City has spent to defend Burge, other detectives and former Mayor Richard M. Daley in the Chicago Police torture cases.
Dec. 15, 2012, noon – 7 p.m.Sullivan Galleries
A screening of three powerful films about torture, featuring discussions with the filmmakers:
THE END OF THE NIGHTSTICK by Peter Kuttner, Cyndi Moran, and Eric Scholl
As victims speak out, THE END OF THE NIGHTSTICK investigates charges of institutional racism, violence and cover-up. It also tell the story of a resistance movement, as local activist groups, including the Task Force to Confront Police Violence, refuse to let testimonies of police violence remain buried.
TO TURN A BLIND EYE by Jackie Rivet-River and John Lyons
This short documentary film, TO TURN A BLIND EYE, exposes police torture of African American Suspects by former police Commander Jon Burge. As investigative journalist Jon Conroy said, “…they all knew, all the officers, the State’s Attorneys as did many judges…and later there are 18 and there are 28 and there are 56 and now it’s at 112. These are just guys we know about, there are many we don’t.
BENEATH THE BLINDFOLD Ines Somer and Kathy Berger.
BENEATH THE BLINDFOLD interweaves the personal stories of four torture survivors who now reside in the U.S., but originally hail from different parts of the globe: South and Central America, Africa, and the U.S. This documentary paints a holistic portrait of survivors’ experiences, their path to healing, and life after torture.
Nov. 29, 2012, 6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.Sullivan Galleries: 33 S. State St., 7th Floor
Join us for an evening of fierce words with some of Chicago’s finest writers: performances and readings by Kevin Coval, Darby Tillis, Archy Obejas, Gary Younge, Quraysh Ali Lansana, Krista Franklin, and others. This reading is dedicated to the survivors, families, and communities who endured unspeakable acts of torture at the hands of Chicago police.
Presented as part of the Sullivan Galleries exhibition Opening the Black Box: The Charge is Torture
organized by the Chicago Torture Justice Memorials Project, on view through December 21.
Oct. 5, 2012, 4:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.Sullivan Galleries
April 24, 2012, 7 p.m. – 8 p.m.International House Assembly Hall
Chicago Torture Justice Memorials is a proud co-sponsor of this important conversation on torture:
"Challenges in Combatting Torture: A Conversation with Juan E. Mendez, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture"
Tuesday, April 24, 7pm
Presented by the University of Chicago Human Rights Program
Juan E. Mendez is the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment and the author with Marjorie Wentworth of Taking a Stand: The Evolution of Human Rights. Until May 2009, he was the President of the International Center for Transitional Justice. Concurrently, he was Kofi Annan's Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide (2004-2007). Between 2000 and 2003 he was a member of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States, and its President in 2002. He teaches human rights at American University in Washington and at Oxford University (UK). In the past he has taught also at Notre Dame Law School, Georgetown and Johns Hopkins. He worked for Human Rights Watch (1982-1996) and directed the Inter-American Institute on Human Rights in San Jose, Costa Rica (1996-1999). As a labor and human rights lawyer in Argentina, Mendez was himself imprisoned and tortured during Argentina's "Dirty War."
Free and open to the public with a booksigning to follow.
We invite artists and those who seek justice to submit proposals for a speculative monument to memorialize the Chicago Police torture cases. Over 100 African American men and women were tortured by white Chicago police officers and forced into giving confessions under former Commander Jon Burge. These memorial projects will serve as a public reckoning with police torture in Chicago and honor those who fought to stop it. We aim to make visible the social and political conditions that made torture possible, as well as the acts of courage that ended—or at least brought to light—the culture of impunity that thwarted justice for so long in this instance. Every submission will be an act of solidarity with torture survivors. We welcome proposals of radical imagination as we seek to honor the survivors of torture, their family members and the African American communities affected by the torture.
All submitted proposals will be exhibited at one or more of the following venues: Chicago area art galleries, community centers, and a dedicated website. We hope this project will help to build a social movement strong enough to deter these and other acts of torture and transform our broken criminal justice system.
Download the call poster and help spread the word.
Chicago Torture Justice Memorial Project
Sites throughout the Chicagoland area and a website
Submissions may be made by a person of any age and nationality.
Criteria for Proposals
A proposed monument may take any form – from architecture to haiku, from website to mural, from community organization to performance, from bronze plaque to large-scale memorial.
The submission can be in the form of a PDF, PPT, webpage, or other accessible electronic format. Non-electronic submissions will also be accepted.
Chicago Torture Justice Memorial Project
c/o People's Law Office
1180 N. Milwaukee
Chicago, Illinois 60642
Support the Chicago Police Torture (Burge) Reparations Ordinance
Please join the Chicago Torture Justice Memorials Project (CTJM) and Amnesty International, USA on Octobber 24, 2014 for a twitter power hour from 3 to 4 p.m. (CST) to tweet at Mayor Emanuel and urge him to support the passage of the Chicago Police Torture (Burge) Reparations Ordinance. See below for a summary of the twitter campaign and the significance of UN day in relation to Chicago police torture.
Demand that he walk the walk and not just talk the talk! Use hashtag #RahmRepNow and tweet at Mayor Emanuel @ChicagosMayor. For sample tweets, see http://pastebin.com/FnCQPNX1
October 24th is United Nations Day, an international holiday commemorating the passage of the Charter of the United Nations. This year, its 67th anniversary, the Chicago Torture Justice Memorials Project (CTJM) and Amnesty International, USA call on all concerned citizens of the world to support survivors of torture: please urge Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, via twitter, to honor UN Day by complying with the UN Convention Against Torture and pass the Chicago Police Torture (Burge) Reparations Ordinance pending in Chicago’s City Council.
The Reparations Ordinance seeks to provide financial compensation, psychological and vocational counseling and other redress to the torture survivors, their family members and African American communities impacted by the systematic torture committed by notorious former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge and the detectives working under his command from 1972 through 1991.
During Burge’s reign of terror, over 110 African American and Latino men and women were subjected to electrical shocks on their genitalia or other body parts with a handmade shock box or cattle prod, suffocation with plastic bags, beatings with rubber objects or telephone books, and/or staged mock executions. The vast majority of the torture survivors were also subjected to racist terrorism throughout their interrogations – they were repeatedly called racist slurs and epithets. These heinous acts of torture were committed in order to extract confessions. These confessions were then used to wrongfully convict scores of people, at least 11 of whom who were sentenced to Illinois’ infamous death row. There is no question that these acts constitute crimes of torture as proscribed by the UN Convention Against Torture and condemned worldwide. It is why Chicago has been dubbed by some as the Abu-Ghraib of the Midwest.
Today, scores of Burge’s torture survivors and their families continue to suffer from the psychological effects of the torture they endured without any compensation or assistance. They have no legal recourse to obtain any redress whatsoever because the statute of limitations on any claims they could have brought expired long ago. Moreover, approximately 19 of Burge’s torture survivors continue to languish behind bars. They have never received evidentiary hearings to present newly discovered evidence uncovered over the last 20 years to substantiate their claims that they were tortured into confessing.
After decades of litigation and numerous governmental investigations, there is overwhelming evidence that unequivocally demonstrates that the City of Chicago not only condoned the torture but failed to stop its systematic practice and engaged in efforts to cover it up. The City of Chicago must accept responsibility for these international human rights violations and make amends to all of those so deleteriously harmed by them. It can do so by passing and enacting the Burge Torture Reparations Ordinance.
The UN holds special significance to those who struggle for justice in the Burge torture cases. In 2006, after exhausting all local and national remedies for justice, advocates working with the Midwest Coalition for Human Rights and the US Human Rights Network presented the Burge torture cases to UN Convention Against Torture. Even then, it was well known that Burge and his Midnight Crew engaged in acts of torture, but they were never held responsible for these crimes and they enjoyed impunity for their international human rights violations.
The UN Committee Against Torture heard Chicagoans cries of injustice, and, after reviewing the evidence presented, issued an historic ruling on May 19, 2006. It found that the U.S. Government had failed to comply with the UN Convention Against Torture, noting the “limited investigation and lack of prosecution” in the Burge torture cases, and it called on the U.S. Government “to bring the perpetrators to justice.” Subsequently, Burge was indicted for obstruction of justice and perjury for falsely denying he and others engaged in acts of torture in 2008, and he was convicted of these crimes in 2010. Although this was a tremendous victory, the torture survivors still have not received the recognition and redress they so richly deserve and are entitled to under UN Convention Against Torture.
The Reparations Ordinance has stalled in Chicago’s City Council for over a year. Mayor Rahm Emmanuel has apologized for the torture that was committed and said it is a “dark stain” on the City. He has also acknowledged the torture survivors are entitled to some redress, but thus far he has taken no steps to pass the Reparations Ordinance.
Now is the time for Mayor Emmanuel to pass the Reparations Ordinance and ensure the City of Chicago is complying with its international obligations under the UN Convention Against Torture.
BRING HUMAN RIGHTS HOME!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)
The Chicago Police Torture (Burge) Cases and the Reparations Ordinance
From 1972 to 1991, former Police Commander Jon Burge and detectives working under his command tortured over 110 African American and Latino men and women. Torture tactics included: electrically shocking genitalia or other body parts with a handmade shock box or cattle prod, suffocation with plastic bags, beatings with rubber objects or telephone books, and staging mock executions. The vast majority of the torture survivors were also subjected to racial slurs and epithets throughout their interrogations. Burge and his men committed the torture in order to extract confessions. These confessions were then used to wrongfully convict scores of people and send 11 of the torture survivors to Illinois’ death row.
Burge was fired from the CPD in 1993. Burge was tried in federal court and, in 2010, convicted of obstruction of justice and perjury for lying when he falsely denied that he and others committed acts of torture. After serving approximately 3 ½ years in federal prison, he was released from prison to a halfway house on October 2, 2014.
What Does the REPARATIONS ORDINANCE Seek to Provide?
serves as a formal apology to the survivors, their family members, and the communities of color affected by this systemic torture that lasted close to two decades;
creates a Commission to administer financial compensation to the survivors;
creates a community center on the south side of Chicago that would provide psychological counseling, vocational training, referrals and other services to the torture survivors, their family members and the communities affected;
provides free enrollment in City Colleges to the survivors and their family members;
requires Chicago Public schools to teach a history lesson about the cases;
requires the City to fund public memorials about the cases; and
sets aside $20 million to finance this redress
Why Should the Ordinance Be Passed?
Scores of Chicago Police Torture survivors and their families continue to suffer from the psychological effects of the torture they endured without compensation or assistance. The majority of survivors have no legal recourse to obtain any redress whatsoever. Further, evidence exists that implicates the City and County in actions that led to ongoing torture and its cover up.
Has the City of Chicago Taken Any Steps Towards Redress?
No. While Mayor Emanuel has repeatedly called the Burge era a dark chapter in the history of Chicago and apologized on behalf of the City, no steps have been taken by the Mayor or the Chicago City Council to provide redress to those who survived the torture. The City remains complicit in this institutionalized violence, until it provides the survivors of torture redress for the suffering they endured. The passage of this Ordinance will help complete this unfinished business.
Haven’t All of the Torture Survivors Received Financial Compensation from the City?
No. The vast majority of the torture survivors have received no financial compensation from the City whatsoever. Only 16 people (out of over 110) have recovered financial compensation through lawsuits for their wrongful convictions.
Can Torture Survivors Sue Now to Get Financial Compensation for the Torture They Suffered?
No. Torture survivors can no longer sue because the statute of limitations expired on any civil claims decades ago. The overwhelming majority of torture survivors did not bring claims at the time they were tortured because they were occupied defending themselves in criminal cases. Further, at the time they were tortured, survivors were not believed and did not have the benefit of exculpatory evidence that the City of Chicago and implicated detectives actively took steps to withhold and cover up for the last 25 years.
Who Is Eligible to Receive Financial Compensation from this Ordinance?
All individuals or the families of deceased individuals who can establish that they were tortured by Burge or one of the detectives working under his command at Area 2 or 3 police headquarters (and have not received a minimum compensation from lawsuits) are eligible.
Why is the Amount of Total Compensation $20 Million?
$20 million is the amount the City has spent to defend Burge, other detectives and former Mayor Richard M. Daley in the Chicago Police Torture (Burge) cases. The City has also spent tens of millions of dollars more answering requests for information in federal and county investigations into the torture and in settlement amounts to a limited number of survivors’ in their civil cases.
How Would Financial Compensation Be Determined and Distributed?
The ordinance sets up a commission responsible for establishing rules and procedures for how people can claim that they are eligible for financial compensation. Each individual would receive the same amount of money from the commission.
How Do Survivors Establish They Are Eligible For Compensation?
Generally, a person would have to demonstrate that they were arrested and interrogated by Burge or an officer working under his command during the relevant time period. They can put forth evidence from their criminal cases wherein they claimed they were tortured or otherwise coerced, or they can present other outcry evidence noting a complaint of torture during or near the time of their interrogations.
How Will Criteria Related to the Other Parts of the Ordinance (Counseling Center, Access to City Colleges, High School Curriculum) Be Established?
The commission convened to determine financial eligibility will also determine who is eligible for the other redress in the ordinance.
Can Torture Survivors Currently Get Psychological Counseling Services from the City?
No. There are no psychological services or centers that provide counseling, vocational training or other therapeutic treatment to police torture survivors in Chicago or its environs. The Heartland Alliance Marjorie Kovler Center in Rogers Park is a community site that provides counseling and other therapeutic programs to international torture survivors only. Federal funding restricts their capacity to serve domestic survivors of torture.
Are There Any Burge Torture Survivors Who Remain Behind Bars?
There are approximately 19 Chicago Police (Burge) Torture survivors who remain in prison and whose conviction rests in whole or in part on their coerced confessions. Many have not been allowed to present evidence of their torture allegations, even given new evidence demonstrating the systemic nature of the torture uncovered over the last 25 years. The Ordinance also requires the City of Chicago to go on record in support of such evidentiary hearings.
Does the Ordinance Apply to all People Who Have Been Tortured By the Chicago Police?
No. There are uncounted individuals who have been tortured by officers in the CPD over many decades; including some who worked with Burge but engaged in acts of torture or abuse after he was separated from the Department. This ordinance is limited to providing financial compensation and redress to those tortured under Burge’s tenure in the Department in light of the overwhelming evidence that demonstrates that this systematic pattern and practice of torture occurred under his command. We would hope that the community center on the south side of Chicago could serve the needs of all Chicago police torture survivors and victims.
ANNE ELIZABETH MOORE WITH VIRGINIA KONCHAN
Reposted from http://theconversant.org
In an increasingly neoliberalized literary market, “surface” readings constitute today’s most prevalent form of cultural criticism within and beyond the academy. In pop as well as literary culture, amid critical dispositifs of disinterest and “zaniness”—described by Sianne Ngai as an aesthetic of laboring and playing under the new “connexionist” spirit of capitalism—the pressure to trade in nuanced perspectives for shallow punditry or personal diatribes subtends what Avital Ronnell calls our “default of the political.”
Project NIA's pamphlet series titled "Historical Moments of Policing, Violence, and Resistance" created a pamphlet that provides the history of the torture cases, stories from survivors, and points for further discussion. Take advantage of this incredible resource!
Download the entire pamphlet as a pdf.
On November 2, 1983 three charter members of Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge’s torture crew took African American murder suspect Darrell Cannon to an isolated area on the South Side of Chicago and tortured him. They repeatedly pressed an electric cattle prod to his testicles. They allowed him to believe they had loaded a shotgun, rammed it into his mouth, and pulled the trigger, repeating this mock execution three times. They tried to lift him off the ground by the handcuffs that secured his hands behind his back. At another location, they drove the cattle prod into his mouth. They beat him with a police flashlight.1 Eventually, Cannon succumbed and falsely confessed to participating in the murder. Thus started a twenty-nine year legal odyssey that continues to this day and presents the City of Chicago with a case that it cannot win.
Cannon’s false confession led to his conviction for murder and a life sentence. He won a reversal of the conviction, but he was again convicted at a second trial. On appeal, Cannon’s lawyers informed the court of 28 newly discovered cases of torture and abuse by the same Burge henchmen who had tortured Cannon, and the Court issued a landmark decision granting Cannon a new hearing at which he could use this evidence to show that his confession was tortured from him.2 The case was again returned to the trial court, and, after a protracted evidentiary hearing that focused on the pattern and practice of police torture, the State of Illinois dismissed Cannon’s case in 2004. After another lengthy legal battle, the Illinois Prisoner Review Board finally rescinded a parole hold that was premised on the dismissed murder conviction and Cannon was released from prison in 2007 – - 24 years after he was wrongfully convicted.
In 1986, while ensconced in the bowels of the Illinois prison system, Cannon had sought to vindicate his constitutional rights in Federal Court. He filed a handwritten complaint alleging that he was tortured and seeking money damages from his torturers. Unbeknownst to him, his court appointed lawyer, and the public at large, his torture was part and parcel of a widespread secret pattern and practice that was spearheaded by Burge and implemented by the crew of detectives who tortured him. As a result of this ignorance, in 1988, well before the newly discovered evidence of torture had surfaced, Cannon accepted the City of Chicago’s offer of a nuisance value settlement of $3000, of which he netted $1247.
After Cannon was exonerated in 2004, he filed a new suit in Federal Court, seeking damages for the more than two decades of wrongful imprisonment that he suffered as a result of his tortured confession. In this suit, he described the decades-long conspiracy to cover-up by high level Chicago and Cook County officials, and added Burge, a series of police superintendents, as well as the City itself, as newly named defendants who had not been named in the original suit. The City and the police defendants moved to dismiss the suit, arguing that the 1988 settlement agreement barred Cannon from pursuing further compensation against any and all City officials. In 2006, the trial Judge rejected this argument, ruling that the massive conspiracy to cover-up the torture constituted a fraud by the police defendants and the City which thereby rendered the 1988 settlement a nullity.3
In 2007, the Chicago City Council held hearings on the Burge torture scandal, with a special emphasis on ending the City financed defense of Burge in five pending civil damages cases, including Cannon’s. Several Council members publicly called on Mayor Richard M. Daley and the City’s legal department to settle all of the outstanding torture cases, including Cannon’s. In response, the City settled four of the five cases for a total of $19.8 million, but refused to offer a nickel to Cannon, arguing that he was not entitled to a second bite of the apple. Instead of settling, the City poured $1.75 million in legal fees into further contesting Cannon’s case, and in 2011 its lawyers convinced the Judge to reverse her field and grant the City’s motion for summary judgment. In so doing, the Judge deemed the cover-up irrelevant to the issue of fraud because Cannon knew he had been tortured and therefore, in her view, was not deceived.4
Cannon appealed the decision, and on August 8, 2012 his lawyers from the People’s Law Office and the MacArthur Justice Center filed his brief in the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.5 The appeal presents to the Court the fundamental question of whether Burge, his crew of now notorious “Asskickers,” and the entire City power structure can utilize their wholesale cover-up of the worst police scandal in the history of the City of Chicago to deprive a torture victim of his fair day in court and his right to reasonable compensation. Whatever the Court of Appeals decides, the City cannot win this battle in the court of public opinion, as its steadfast position in the Cannon case reaffirms, without question, that it continues to be on the side of the torturers rather than the tortured, preferring to spend millions to peddle the proposition that a torture victim’s suffering is worth $1247, regardless of the official fraud perpetrated on him, if he accepts the pittance.
The organizers of the Chicago Torture Justice Memorials (CTJM) Project:
Dorothy Burge is the Internship Coordinator for Associated Colleges of the Midwest. She also teaches seminars on systematic racism, criminal justice, and social problems.
Sali Vickie Casanova, educator/artist/activist, is a member of the US Human Rights Network and Black People Against Police Torture. Much of her cultural work with youth and educators confronts abuses of justice in the U.S. juvenile system especially in communities of color. She holds the MAT (Master of Arts in Teaching) from Columbia College, MBA and BA degrees from Indiana University, and recently received the Award for Excellence in Urban Studies and Community Development from IU Northwest. Ms. Casanova's efforts as teaching/performing artist are dedicated to empowering youth and activists to transform the movement for social justice and human rights.
Adam Green is Associate Professor of History and the College and Master of the Social Science Collegiate Division at The University of Chicago, concentrates in U.S. history and African American history. He is author of Selling the Race: Culture Community and Black Chicago, 1940-1955 and co-editor of Time Longer Than Rope: A Century of African American Activism. Adam has lectured on campuses and community venues, and has appeared on WTTW (PBS) Chicago, WBEZ Chicago (radio), Al-Jazeera, BBC (radio) and C-SPAN. He’s been involved in community initiatives in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles related to police accountability and educational justice.
Alice Kim is a cultural organizer, writer and a longtime anti-death penalty and criminal justice reform activist. She is on the editorial board of In These Times magazine and the advisory board of the Children and Family Justice Center at Northwestern University Law School. She is also the director of The Public Square, a program of the Illinois Humanities Council, that creates spaces for public conversations about social, political and cultural issues.
Carla Mayer's primary work focus is as an arts administrator and program manager for a municipal agency. She is a committed youth developer and creative activist. As an installation artist and sculptor, her work focuses on silenced voices, elemental materiality and including non-artists in the process of art-making. She has a master’s degree in interdisciplinary art from Columbia College, a bachelor’s degree in literary theory from Brown University and is a state certified art teacher.
Joey Mogul, is a partner at the Peoples Law Office in Chicago, Illinois and director of DePaul University' civil rights clinic. Mogul has been involved in the campaign for justice for Chicago police torture survivors for the past fourteen years both as an attorney and as an activist. Mogul was one of the founding members of the Campaign to Prosecute Police Torture and traveled to Geneva, Switzerland to successfully present the Chicago police torture cases to the United Nations Committee Against Torture in 2006.
A. Laurie Palmer is an artist, writer, and teacher. She has shown her visual work, which takes various forms as sculpture, installation and public projects, nationally and internationally, and she has published her writing in art journals and as independent projects. Her work has received support from the Louis Tiffany Foundation, the Illinois Arts Council, the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, The Graham Foundation, the ArtCouncil (now Artadia), and the Radcliffe Institute. Palmer teaches in the Sculpture Department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Amy Partridge is an artist, activist, and Associate Director of Gender Studies at Northwestern University. As a Mess Hall "key-holder," she has organized events, exhibitions, and extensive collaborative projects with Iraq Veterans Against the War/Warrior Writers, Tamms Year Ten, White Rose Catholic Worker, Sewing Rebellion, AREA, Project NIA, and a reading group with Danville prisoners. She is a collective member of Cheap Art for Freedom Collective, Midwest Radical Cultural Corridor, and the Slow-Motion Research-Action Collective. From 2009-2011, she was a community representative and Chair of the "Arts & Other" Committee in the 49th Ward Participatory Budgeting Process.
Mary Patten is a visual artist, video-maker, writer, educator, and political activist. In all her work, she seeks to address collisions as well as alignments between the worlds of “politics” and art-making. Her book-length essay, Revolution as an Eternal Dream: The Exemplary Failure of the Madame Binh Graphics Collective, was recently published by Half Letter Press. She has exhibited and screened her work widely, and has directed, curated, and participated in many large-scale collaborative art projects for over thirty years, including Pathogeographies (with Feel Tank Chicago), “Depression: What is it Good For?” at the Gene Siskel Film Center; Project Enduring Look; Group Material’s “Your Message Here” (with ACT UP/Chicago); Artists’ Call against Intervention in Central America; and Cityarts Workshop. She teaches in the Film, Video, New Media, and Animation Department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Sarah Ross is an artist who creates forms like clothing, signage and postcards to visualize struggles around space, class, access, and gender. She often works collaboratively on projects such as Compass and Regional Relationships. Sarah teaches at The School of the Art Institute Chicago and works with incarcerated artists at an Illinois state prison. Images and ideas can be found at www.insecurespaces.net
Ellen Rothenberg's work is concerned with the politics of everyday life and the formation of communities through collaborative practices. She is a recipient of grants from the NEA, the Bunting (now Radcliffe) Institute, Engelhard Foundation, LEF Foundation and the Illinois Arts Council. Rothenberg's work has been presented at London's Royal Festival Hall; Neues Museum Weserburg, Bremen; National Museum for Contemporary Art, Bucharest; Museum London, Ontario; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Boston's Institute of Contemporary Art and Museum of Fine Arts; and CUNY’s James Gallery NYC; among others. Rothenberg teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Ben Stagl is an interdisciplinary artist, industrial designer, and community educator. His projects range in scale from the intimate to the civic scale and are informed both by a thurough understanding of classical traditions as well as a passion for advanced digital practices. Stagl is largely concerned with how humans continue to address and experience the commons. His projects have received support from the Oregon Arts Commission, the Regional Arts and Cultures Council, The Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, The Chicago Pop-Up Loop Alliance, the Urban Institute for Contemporary Art, and the Chicago Cultural Center. Stagl instructs workshops at colleges around Oregon and Illinois and he currently directs development at West Supply in Chicago and practices design with his collaborative studio ChiLab.
Brett Stockdill is an educator, writer, and activist. He is an Associate Professor of Sociology, Women’s Studies, and Latino & Latin American Studies at Northeastern Illinois University.
Jan Susler, a lawyer since 1976, has been a partner at the People’s Law Office since 1982, with a focus on police misconduct civil rights, political prisoners and prisoners’ rights including litigation, advocacy and educational work around control unit prisons. Her work with the Puerto Rican Independence Movement and with progressive movements challenging U.S. foreign and domestic policies has been a constant throughout her career. Attorney for the Puerto Rican political prisoners for over three decades, she served as lead counsel in the efforts culminating in the 1999 presidential commutation of their sentences. She continues to represent those who remain imprisoned.
The Advisory Board for the CTJM project include: