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.
CTJM began in 2010 when 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.
In 2013, a 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.
CTJM led the effort to introduce the ordinance into Chicago’s City Council. The knowledge of the ordinance gained momentum amongst various Chicago communities and transitioned into the Reparations Now campaign also known as the #RahmRepNow movement. CTJM, along with local and national organizations joined together with the mission of garnering city-wide support of the reparations ordinance. The movement was centered on spreading information about John Burge, the torture survivors with specific focus on getting the major of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel to support the passing of the ordinance.
Finally on May 6, 2015, after decades of grassroots struggle, the Chicago City Council passed the reparations package for the Burge torture survivors and their family members.
CTJM now turns its attention to making sure the reparations package is properly implemented. The organization is working on the creation a community center on the Southside of Chicago to provide the specialized trauma services to the Burge torture survivors and their family members. ensure the Chicago Public School curriculum and permanent, public memorial are designed and implemented in a way that we can all be proud of.