Chicago Torture Justice Memorials (CTJM) aims to honor and to seek justice for the survivors of Chicago police torture, their family members and the African American communities affected by the torture. In 2010 CTJM, a group of attorneys, artists, educators, and social justice activists, put out a call for speculative memorials to recall and honor the two-decades long struggle for justice waged by torture survivors and their families, attorneys, community organizers, and people from every neighborhood and walk of life in Chicago. This effort culminated in a major exhibition of 75 proposals and a year-long series of associated teach-ins, roundtables, and other public events in 2011-2013.CTJM now turns its attention to a campaign for reparations for those affected by Chicago Police torture, and to working in solidarity with other groups and individuals for racial justice and to end police violence and mass incarceration.

Left: the electrical device used for torture during interrogations by former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge.

 CTJM PROJECT PRESENTATION

Download a slideshow presentation about the CTJM project including a gallery of the memorial proposals that appeared in the Opening the Black Box exhibition.

download

“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


Contact Us

justicememorials@gmail.com

Chicago Torture Justice Memorials Project (CTJM Project)
c/o People's Law Office
1180 N. Milwaukee
Chicago, Illinois 60642

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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.

5 - mile March

Dec. 16, 2014, noon – 5 p.m.

12 PM / Police Headquarters: Chicagoans will march about five miles from Chicago Police Headquarters, at 3510 S. Michigan Ave, to City Hall, at 121 N. LaSalle.

2 PM / City Hall, 5th Floor: Marchers will deliver a petition with over 45,000 signatures in support of the Reparations for Chicago Police Torture Survivors ordinance. They will create a public memorial outside the Mayor's office and call for Mayor Emanuel and the Chicago City Council to pass the ordinance before the municipal elections this February.

March and public memorial honoring survivors of CPD torture and communities of color enduring ongoing police abuse, violence and murder in Chicago.

 

On Tuesday, December 16th, Chicago Torture Justice Memorials (CTJM), We Charge Genocide, Project NIA and Amnesty International will hold a five-mile march, then deliver a petition, reveal a list of nice & naughty alderpeople and hold and a memorial at City Hall to demand passage of the Reparations Ordinance for Chicago Police Torture Survivors. 

 

On October 16, 2013, a Reparations Ordinance for Chicago Police Torture Survivors was introduced in Chicago’s City Council. It has already garnered the support of 26 alderpeople, with only one additional vote needed to pass the ordinance. Passage of the ordinance is also supported by the United Nations Committee Against Torture.

Organizers are asking Chicagoans represented by alderpeople not in support of the ordinance to take action: http://pastebin.com/248AcnE2

Schedule:

 

12 PM / Police Headquarters: Chicagoans will march about five miles from Chicago Police Headquarters, at 3510 S. Michigan Ave, to City Hall, at 121 N. LaSalle. 

 

2 PM / City Hall, 5th Floor: Marchers will deliver a petition with over 45,000 signatures in support of the Reparations for Chicago Police Torture Survivors ordinance. They will create a public memorial outside the Mayor's office and call for Mayor Emanuel and the Chicago City Council to pass the ordinance before the municipal elections this February. 

 

Remote Action: Organizers are encouraging those who can't attend the action to participate via social media by using the #RahmRepNow hashtag to demand that Mayor Emanuel support the reparations ordinance, and by calling the Mayor’s office at 312-744-3300 to advocate for the ordinance.

 

Participants are asked to bring a photo, manifesto, memento, candle, sign, poem, or flower to City Hall.  

 

Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/340660236117395/

 

"We give thanks to all who have stood up against the travesty of Chicago Police torture. We are making our grief, anger and determination seen and felt by coming together to demonstrate that we will not ignore the ongoing reality of police violence," says Martha Biondi, a member of Chicago Torture Justice Memorial. "We demand Mayor Emanuel offer his full support to the Reparations Ordinance for Chicago Police Torture Survivors and are delivering petitions with over 45,000 signatures in support of it."

Reparations Ordinance Hearing

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.

A FILM FESTIVAL AGAINST TORTURE

Dec. 15, 2012, noon – 7 p.m.

Sullivan Galleries
33 S. State St., 7th Floor

A screening of three powerful films about torture, featuring discussions with the filmmakers:

 

12:00–2:00 p.m.

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. 

 

2:15–3:30 p.m.

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.

 

4:00–6:00 p.m.

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.

I AM MEMORY: CHICAGO WRITERS AGAINST TORTURE

Nov. 29, 2012, 6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Sullivan Galleries: 33 S. State St., 7th Floor

Reception 5:30pm

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.

Opening the Black Box—Reception

Oct. 5, 2012, 4:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Sullivan Galleries
33 S. State St., 7th floor
The show will run October 4 – December 21, 2012

Flier for the Opening the Black Box show at Sullivan Galleries.

For Proposals

The Chicago Torture Justice Memorial

 

Artists, Architects, Photographers, Writers, Poets, Musicians, Performers and Everyone Concerned with Justice!

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.

Sponsor
Chicago Torture Justice Memorial Project
(CTJM Project)

Deadline
Ongoing

Venue
Sites throughout the Chicagoland area and a website

Eligibility
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.

Submission Process
The submission can be in the form of a PDF, PPT, webpage, or other accessible electronic format. Non-electronic submissions will also be accepted.

email contact
justicememorials@gmail.com

mail to
Chicago Torture Justice Memorial Project
c/o People's Law Office
1180 N. Milwaukee
Chicago, Illinois 60642

Reparations Won May 11, 2015

After months–and decades–of grassroots struggle, the Chicago City Council passed the reparations package for the Burge torture survivors and their family members on Wednesday, May 6, 2015!

The reparations package, based on the Reparations Ordinance introduced in October of 2013 by Aldermen Proco Joe Moreno (1st Ward) and Howard Brookins (21st Ward), provides concrete redress to the torture survivors and their family members, which includes: a formal apology for the torture; specialized counseling services to the Burge torture survivors and their family members on the South Side; free enrollment and job training in City Colleges for survivors and  family members (including grandchildren) as well as prioritized access to other City programs, including help with housing, transportation and senior care; a history lesson about the Burge torture cases taught in Chicago Public schools to 8th and 10th graders; the construction of a permanent public memorial to the survivors; and it sets aside $5.5 million for a Reparations Fund for Burge Torture Victims that will allow the Burge torture survivors with us today to receive financial compensation for the torture they endured.

Chicago is the first municipality in the history of the United States to ever provide reparations for racially motivated law enforcement violence.  In doing so, the City of Chicago is agreeing to acknowledge the City’s responsibility for gross human rights violations and to commit significant resources to begin to help repair the harms inflicted on the torture survivors, their families and the communities they come from. The enactment of this legislation sends a strong message that activism and organizing matter in the ongoing struggle for human rights and social justice.

Thank You!

Amnesty International - USA, CTJM, Project NIA and We Charge Genocide

This historic legislation is the product of decades of activism, litigation and journalism and the culmination of a concerted six-month inspirational, intergenerational and interracial campaign co-led by Amnesty International - USA, Chicago Torture Justice Memorials, Project NIA and We Charge Genocide.  We want to thank our partners who were absolutely critical in making this win a reality.  It has been an a privilege and profound pleasure to work with you.

Police Torture Survivors

We recognize, honor and are indebted to the torture survivors, some whom were tortured under Burge’s reign of terror and others who were not, who have courageously spoken out and testified about the torture they suffered and sought justice for themselves and others for decades. 

Family Members

We recognize, honor and are indebted to the family members, particularly the mothers of the torture survivors, who also courageously spoke about the torture inflicted and made great sacrifices seeking justice for their loved ones and others.

Standish Willis and Black People Against Police Torture

We recognize, honor and thank Standish Willis for his brilliant vision to take the Burge torture cases to international fora and to Stan and Black People Against Police Torture for the original idea and call for reparations for Chicago Police Torture survivors. 

Organizations

We thank the following organizations for endorsing the ordinance, some of which held their own actions in support of the ordinance and many of the members who persistently and consistently came out to support our events: Amnesty International, Group 50; American Friends Service Committee – Chicago (AFSC); Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Chicago; Black and Pink, Chicago; Black Youth Project 100 (BYP100), Chicago; Chicago Alliance Against Racism and Political Repression (CAARP); Chicago Coalition to Shut Down Guantanamo; Chicago Committee to Defend the Bill of Rights; Chicago Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights; Chicago Light Brigade; Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America (CRLN); Children and Family Justice Center at Bluhm Legal Clinic at Northwestern University; Center for Victims of Torture; Citizens Alert; Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, Chicago Chapter (CBTU); Community Justice For Youth Institute; Connect Force; 8th Day Center for Justice; Edwin F. Mandel Legal Aid Clinic of the University of Chicago; Elephant Rebellion; First Defense Legal Aid (FDLA); Gay Liberation Network (GLN); Grassroots Collaborative; Grassroots Curriculum Task Force; Heartland Alliance Marjorie Kovler Center; Illinois Coalition Against Torture; Illinois Institute of Community Law and Affairs; International Human Rights Institute, DePaul University College of Law; Kuumba Lynx; L.E.A.D.E.R’s Network; #Let Us Breathe Collective; Lucky Pierre; MacArthur Justice Center; Midwest Coalition for Human Rights (MCHR); National Alliance for the Empowerment of the Formerly Incarcerated; National Lawyers Guild, Chicago Chapter (NLG); National Police Accountability Project (NPAP); John Howard Association; People’s Law Office; Prison and Neighborhood Arts Project (PNAP); Revolutionary Poets Brigade, Chicago; Southside Together Organizing for Power (STOP); Tamms Year Ten; Transformative Justice Law Project (TJLP); UE Western Regional; United Auto Workers #551, Union Solidarity Committee; Uptown People’s Law Center; Witness Against Torture.

Institutional Offerings of Space

We thank the Jane Adams Hull-House Museum, People’s Law Office, Experimental Station, Mess Hall, In These Times, Southside Community Arts Center, Grace Place, Sullivan Galleries and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Social Justice Initiative Pop Up Just Art (PUJA), NEIU Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies, Poetry Foundation & Poetry Magazine, the Chicago Temple and Silver Room for providing CTJM, Project NIA and We Charge Genocide space to host our events and art exhibits over the last four years.

Contributors of Art

We thank all the people who contributed their art and artistic labor - - banners, flags, posters, photographs, videos, documentaries, spoken word, holiday card, memes, songs, poetry, graphics, installation pieces, syllabi, blog posts, speculative memorials - - to this cause both in visioning what a public memorial could be, creatively presenting our demands, and documenting the campaign that served to inspire us to continue fighting on.

Movement Activists and All 

We thank everyone who came to a rally; march; sing-in; demonstrations; charrette; art exhibit; spoken word event; round table discussion; film showing; hosted or attended a #TeachBurge teach in; participated in a twitter power hour; met with their alderperson; emailed, wrote, called, or tweeted at Mayor Emanuel or their alderperson (#RahmRepNow); signed a post card, holiday card or a petition; or donated funds to support the reparations ordinance and campaign.

Funders

We thank the Crossroads Fund, the Propeller Fund, the People’s Law Office, the University of Chicago Pozen Family Center for Human and the Center for Race, Politics and Culture of the University of Chicago for awarding us grants or providing funds or other in kind services that enabled us to mount this campaign.

Prior Activism

We want to recognize all of the decades of activism, litigation and investigative journalism that preceded the reparations campaign that served as the necessary basis for making this reparations campaign a possibility, including: the campaign to get Burge fired from the CPD in the early 90s; the struggle for the Death Row 10, Aaron Patterson and against the death penalty in the late 90s and early 2000s; the campaign seeking a special prosecutor to investigate the crimes committed by Burge and others in the early 2000s; the coalition to raise these cases in international fora; the push for the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Attorney’s Office to prosecute Burge and his men; the campaign that passed the Torture Inquiry Relief and Commission Act (TIRC); and those who continue to support the on-going struggle to get evidentiary hearings for the torture survivors who remain behind bars.

The Work is Not Over

We take this moment to cherish this hard fought victory, but we must recognize that this work is not over.  While the legislation has passed, we still need to work hard to make sure it gets properly implemented.  We continue to ask for you to get involved in the campaign and support us in creating a community center on the Southside of Chicago to provide the specialized trauma services to the Burge torture survivors and their family members.  If we are successful in developing this center we hope that its mission can expand to provide these necessary services to others harmed by law enforcement violence.  We also need your participation and support to ensure the Chicago Public School curriculum and permanent, public memorial are designed and implemented in a way that we can all be proud of.

To this day there are approximately 20 or so Burge torture survivors, and countless others, who continue to languish behind bars who were wrongfully convicted because their physically coerced confessions were used against them.  All of them are entitled to have evidentiary hearings to present the newly discovered that corroborate their allegations that they were physically forced to confess.  If a Court finds they were physically coerced, they are entitled to have their convictions vacated and to be re-tried without the use of a physically coerced confession. 

Further, we have always recognized that torture by law enforcement officials did not begin or end with Burge.  It is unfortunate that the reparations are limited to the Burge torture survivors and family members in this instance.  We hope, however, that this legislation can serve as a precedent and can help support redress packages for others who suffered from law enforcement violence.

 

Finally, we continue to see the ravages of racially motivated police violence affecting mostly young Black people today, whether it be the degrading but common practices of stop and frisk, the egregious use of tasers, or the far too frequent shootings of people.   This work continues and CTJM stands in solidarity with our partners and other groups seeking to eradicate this violence.  We call on you to support this on-going work. 

###

CITY COUNCIL MAKES HISTORY IN PASSING REPARATIONS LEGISLATION FOR BURGE TORTURE SURVIVORS May 6, 2015

 

CITY COUNCIL MAKES HISTORY IN PASSING REPARATIONS LEGISLATION FOR BURGE TORTURE SURVIVORS

 

Chicago, IL – This morning Chicago Police torture survivors and their family members attended a Chicago City Council hearing to witness passage of historic legislation providing reparations for the torture they and scores of other African American men and women survived at the hands of Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge and officers under his command.  Some of the torture survivors and family members traveled out of the City and State to attend the hearing.

 

The reparations package is the product of decades of organizing, litigation, and investigative journalism, and represents the culmination of an inspiring intergenerational and interracial campaign led by CTJM, Amnesty International, USA, Project NIA and We Charge Genocide, re-invigorated by the #BlackLivesMatter movement.  Forty-six organizations endorsed the ordinance, the U.N. Committee Against Torture specifically called on the U.S. Government to support the passage of the legislation and scores of Chicagoans attended demonstrations, rallies, sing-ins and a Citywide Teach-ins over the last six months to urge Mayor Emanuel to support the reparations ordinance.

 

"Over the course of the past 6 months, a coalition of individuals and groups organized tirelessly to achieve this goal. Today's historic achievement, passage of the reparations ordinance, is owed to the decades of organizing to bring some justice to the survivors of Burge and his fellow officers' unconscionable torture. We have successfully organized to preserve the public memory of the atrocities experienced by over 110 black people at the hands of Chicago police torture because we refuse to let anyone in this city ever forget what happened here," said Mariame Kaba, founder and executive director of Project NIA.

 

The reparations resolution represents the first time Chicago’s City Council has formally acknowledged and taken responsibility for the police torture that occurred in Chicago, and recognized its obligation to provide concrete redress to the survivors and family members.  In addition to the establishment of a $5.5 million Reparations Fund for Burge Torture Victims, the City will provide survivors and their families specialized counseling services at a center on the South side, free enrollment in City Colleges, and priority access to job training, housing and other city services. Additionally, a history lesson about the Burge torture cases will henceforth be taught in Chicago Public schools and a permanent public memorial will be erected to commemorate the torture and survivors.  

 

“It is the first time that a municipality in the United States has ever offered reparations to those violated law enforcement officials,” said Joey Mogul, a co-founder of Chicago Torture Justice Memorials, partner at the People’s Law Office and drafter of the original reparations ordinance. “This holistic model should serve as a blueprint for how cities around the country, from Ferguson to Baltimore, can respond to systemic racist police brutality.”

 

The final legislation was the product of an agreement reached with Mayor Emanuel, CTJM and Amnesty International, USA on the eve of an April 14, 2015 hearing on the original reparations Ordinance introduced into City Council by Aldermen Proco Joe Moreno (1st Ward) and Howard Brookins (21st Ward) in October of 2013.

 

While torture survivors, family members, and activists were pleased with the reparations package passed today, they noted that much more work needs to be done to address racially motivated police violence in the City of Chicago.  

 

"Today is an important and historic day, and the result of a courageous, decades-long effort to seek justice. But this is not the end. We must make sure that this curriculum places torture under Burge in a broader context of ongoing and endemic police violence. We must expand counseling and treatment services so they're available for all survivors of police violence. And more broadly, we must fight for an end not only to these horrific acts of torture, and police shootings of Black youth, but also against the daily police harassment and profiling of young people of color in Chicago and across the country," said Page May, an organizer and activist with We Charge Genocide.

 

The Reparations Ordinance was drafted to provide redress to approximately 120 African American men and women subjected to racially-motivated torture, including electric shock, mock executions, suffocation and beatings by now former Police Commander Jon Burge and his subordinates from 1972 through 1991.  Although Burge was convicted on federal charges for perjury and obstruction of justice stemming from the torture cases in 2010, he continues to draw a taxpayer funded pension.

 

###

 

Phone Bank for Reparations! April 26, 2015

Background

Reparations for Burge torture survivors are close to a final vote! If the City Council approves reparations on May 6th, it will be the first time a city provides reparations for police violence. We need your help supporting the torture survivors and their families, and make sure this historic legislation passes.

The City Council Finance Committee is scheduled to vote on the Reparations for Burge Torture Victims Ordinance at a special session on May 5th, and the full City Council is scheduled to vote for the Reparations Ordinance and Resolution at a special session on May 6th.

Instructions

We are asking you to call members of the City Council who have already expressed support for the ordinance. The full list is available here, and pasted below. We have a two-part request.

1) Please thank them for their support and ask them to demonstrate that support by attending the City Council on May 6th and voting in favor of the Reparations for Burge Torture Survivors Ordinance and Resolution.

2) For members of the Finance Committee (names in bold), please also ask them to attend a special session of the Finance Committee on May 5th and vote yes on the Ordinance.

Here’s a script that you can use in your calls:

 “Good Afternoon. I understand that Alderman X has already declared their support for the Burge torture survivors ordinance introduced in the City Council in October 2013. I am calling to thank Alderman X for their support and to ask that they attend and vote in support of the ordinance when it is heard in the finance committee on May 5*and when it is heard in the full City Council on May 6. Can you please relay my message to Alderman X? Once again, I thank them for their support and for taking a stand against police torture.”

*only if they are members of the Finance Committee (names in bold)

 

If your alderperson is not on the list of supporters, and is one of the seventeen who have not expressed support for reparations, you can call them and ask them to vote yes on reparations on May 6th. You can find out who your alderperson is on this website.

 

Contact List: Aldermen and Women who Support the Reparations Ordinance

 

Proco Joe Moreno (1st Ward)*

Ward: 773.278.0101

City Hall: 312.744.3063

Robert Fioretti (2nd Ward)

 

Ward: 312.263.9273

City Hall: 312.744.6836

Pat Dowell (3rd Ward)

Ward: 773.373.9273

City Hall: 312.744.8734

William Burns (4th Ward)

Ward: 773.536.8103

City Hall: 312.744.2690

Leslie Hairston (5th Ward)

Ward: 773.324.5555

City Hall: 312.744.6832

Roderick Sawyer (6th Ward)**

 

Ward: 773.635.0006

City Hall: 312.744.0670

Michelle Harris (8th Ward)**

Ward: 773.874.3300

City Hall: 312.744.3075

Toni Foulkes (15th Ward)

Ward: 773.863.0220

City Hall: 312.744.6850

Latasha Thomas (17th Ward)**

Ward: 773.723.0908

City Hall: 312.744.7738

Lona Lane (18th Ward)

Ward: 773.471.1991

City Hall: 312.744.6856

Willie B. Cochran (20th Ward)**

Ward: 773.955.5610

City Hall: 312.744.6840

Howard Brookins (21st Ward)*

Ward: 773.881.9300

City Hall: 312.744.4810

Ricardo Munoz (22nd Ward)

Ward: 773.762.1771

City Hall: 312.744.9491

Michael Chandler (24th Ward)

 

Ward: 773.533.2400

City Hall: 312.744.6839

Daniel Solis (25th Ward)

Ward: 773.523.4100

City Hall: 312.744.6845

Robert Maldonado (26th Ward)

 

Ward: 773.395.0143

City Hall: 312.744.6853

Walter Burnett, Jr. (27th Ward)

Ward: 312.432.1995

City Hall: 312.744.6124

Jason Ervin (28th Ward)**

Ward: 773.533.0900

City Hall: 312.744.3066

Ariel Reboyras (30th Ward)**

Ward: 773.794.3095

City Hall: 312.744.8576

Scott Waguespeck (32nd Ward)

Ward: 773.248.1330

City Hall: 312.744.6567

Deborah Mell (33rd Ward)

 

Ward: 773.478.8040

City Hall: 312.744.6825

Carrie Austin (34th Ward)

Ward: 773.928.6961

City Hall: 312.744.6820

Rey Colon (35th Ward)

Ward: 773.365.3535

City Hall: 312.744.6835

Nicholas Sposato (36th Ward)

 

Ward: 773.836.0036

City Hall: 312.744.7947

Emma Mitts (37th Ward)**

Ward: 773.379.0960

City Hall: 312.744.8019

Brendan Reilly (42nd Ward)

Ward: 312.642.4242

City Hall: 312.744.3062

Michelle Smith (43rd Ward)

 

Ward: 773.348.9500

City Hall: 312.744.5685

 

John Arena (45th Ward)

 

Ward: 773.286.4545

City Hall: 312.744.6841

 

James Cappelman (46th Ward)

 

Ward: 773.878.4646

City Hall: 312.744.6831

 

Ameya Pawar (47th Ward)

Ward: 773.868.4747

City Hall: 312.744.0446

 

Harry Osterman (48th Ward)**

Ward: 773.784.5277

City Hall: 312.744.6834

Joe Moore (49th Ward)**

Ward: 773.338.5796

City Hall: 312.744.3067

 

Key
* Original Sponsor of the Ordinance

** Co-sponsor of the ordinance

Bold – member of Finance Committee

HISTORIC HEARING ON REPARATIONS FOR BURGE TORTURE SURVIVORS April 14, 2015

Chicago, IL – This morning, members of Chicago Torture Justice Memorials (CTJM), Amnesty International, USA and representatives of the Mayor’s Office announced an agreement on a reparations package for survivors of torture by Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge and officers under his command before a special session of the City Council Finance Committee. The package, based on the Reparations Ordinance introduced in October of 2013 by Aldermen Proco Joe Moreno (1st Ward) and Howard Brookins (21st Ward), provides concrete redress to the torture survivors and their family members, which includes: a formal apology for the torture; specialized counseling services to the Burge torture survivors and their family members on the South side; free enrollment and job training in City Colleges for survivors and  family members; a history lesson about the Burge torture cases taught in Chicago Public schools; a permanent public memorial to the survivors; and it sets aside $5.5 million for a Reparations Fund for Burge Torture Victims that will allow the Burge torture survivors with us today to receive financial compensation for the torture they endured.

This historic agreement is the product of decades of organizing for justice in these cases, and represents the culmination of a concerted six-month campaign led by CTJM, Amnesty International - USA, Project NIA and We Charge Genocide, with the help of several other organizations including BYP100, Chicago Light Brigade and the Chicago Alliance Against Racism and Political Repression.

Bill sponsor Alderman Moreno said, in support of the bill’s passage, "I call on my fellow aldermen to swiftly pass this reparations package that Mayor Emanuel has agreed to because we have a moral and ethical duty to help these victims and their families. We hope and trust that the healing and forgiving process can begin with the passage of this legislation."

The reparations package, rooted in a restorative justice framework, acknowledges the torture of Black people under former police commander Jon Burge, and begins to make amends by providing financial compensation and services to the torture survivors and their families. Beyond the financial compensation, the legislation is an important acknowledgment by the city of its responsibility to make amends for the torture, and the decades of denials and cover-ups. It is a significant step towards justice and healing, although nothing can erase the unconscionable human rights violations committed by Burge and his fellow officers.

“The harm that was done by Burge and officers under his command to individuals, to their families, and to Black communities in Chicago cannot be undone,” said Mariame Kaba, founding Director of Project NIA. “It cannot be erased, and the lasting impact of this torture and trauma continues to this day. We keep this knowledge in our hearts and minds. And at the same time, it is important that the city acknowledge and speak to this harm. This ordinance is another step in the long march toward an end to police violence.  It is a modicum of redress.”

Scores of supporters of the legislation filled the City Council chambers to support the survivors of police torture. Several leaders in the movement for reparations gave testimony before the Council Finance Committee in support of the package, including torture survivors and CTJM members Anthony Holmes and Darrell Cannon, Steven Hawkins, Executive Director of Amnesty International USA; Dorothy Burge, member of CTJM and Black People Against Police Torture; Joey Mogul, co-founder of CTJM and partner at the People’s Law Office and Flint Taylor of the People’s Law Office.

When describing the ordinance, Darrell Cannon, a survivor of torture by detectives under Burge’s command, said “This is historic.  For those of us who have been fighting and struggling to set a landmark, this is that landmark. This is the moment. What we do here will not be undone. People across the country will talk about Chicago.  It would be the first bill in the US that would provide reparations for law enforcement conduct.”

The Reparations Ordinance was drafted to provide redress to approximately 120 African American men and women subjected to racially-motivated torture, including electric shock, mock executions, suffocation and beatings by now former Police Commander Jon Burge and his subordinates from 1972 through 1991.  Although Burge was convicted on federal charges for perjury and obstruction of justice stemming from the torture cases in 2010, he continues to draw a taxpayer funded pension, while scores of Chicago Police Torture survivors continue to suffer from the effects of the torture they endured without any compensation, assistance, or legal redress.

 

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Kuumba Lynx's Powerful Performance Speaks Out Against Chicago Police Torture and Calls for Reparations March 30, 2015

Kuumba Lynx showed Chicago what it means to speak out against the cycle of police torture and genocide on Saturday. Their powerful performance highlighted the need for reparations -"Reparations are owed to the 110 black men":

Check out their incredible performance and congratulations Kuumba Lynx!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FEfTKgT3ASo

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:

  • Locke Bowman, Legal Director of the Mac Arthur Justice Center
  • Darrell Cannon, Chicago Police Torture survivor
  • Sali Vickie Casanova, Cultural Artist/Educator, Black People Against Police Torture
  • Bernardine Dohrn, Northwestern Children Family and Justice Center
  • Mary Fabri, Director, Torture Treatment Services & International Training of the
  • Heartland Alliance Marjorie Kovler Center
  • Susan Gzesh, Executive Director of the Human Rights Program at the University of Chicago
  • Anthony Holmes, Chicago Police Torture survivor
  • Mariame Kaba, Founder and Director of Project NIA
  • Kevin Kaempf, Artist and Educator
  • Ronald Kitchen, Chicago Police Torture Survivor
  • Mary L. Johnson, Activist and mother of Chicago Police torture survivor Michael Johsnon
  • Andrea Lyon, Director of the Center for Justice in Capital Cases, DePaul University College of Law
  • Erica Meiners, Critical Resistance, Chicago
  • Mary D. Powers, Coordinator of Citizens Alert
  • Michaela Purdue, Community Organizer and Human Rights Advocate
  • Therese Quinn, Activist/Teachers for Social Justice
  • Jane Ramsey, Executive Director, Jewish Council on Urban Affairs
  • Howard Saffold, Positive Anti-Crime Thrust
  • Mario Venegas, Human Rights Activist
  • G. Flint Taylor, People's Law Office
  • Standish Willis, member of National Conference of Black Lawyers, founder of Black People Against Police Torture