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Reparations Implementation

CTJM members, along with a dedicated group of specialists and organizers volunteering their time, have been working hard to ensure that the reparations package passed on May 6, 2015 is properly implemented and CTJM is excited to share some important updates:


57 Individuals Received Financial Compensation!


On January 4, 2016, the City of Chicago began distributing financial compensation to 57 survivors of Burge torture, most of whom received the maximum amount of $100,000 allowed for by the City council ordinance (a survivor only received less if he had previously received money as part of a settlement from a prior lawsuit pertaining to the torture he suffered).  The distribution of this money was critical because the survivors who received money had no legal recourse to recover any other financial compensation for the torture they endured since the statute of limitations for claims relating to the torture expired decades ago.


Job Training, City Colleges, and City Programs


Chicago City Colleges is currently enrolling reparations recipients and their family members in Chicago City Colleges for the Fall 2016 term, which begins August 29, 2016.  If you or an immediately family member (including grandchildren) are interested in enrolling for the fall term, registration ends August 22, 2016.


To learn more about City Colleges and classes and programs they have to offer, the City Colleges is hosting an information session on:


June 18, 2016

10-11 a.m.

Malcolm X

1900 W. Jackson

Multipurpose Room/Conference Center


For more information about the City Colleges, classes and programs,, you can contact Melissa Champs, Director of Recruitment with City Colleges at 312-553-2630.


Community Center for Survivors and Families of Police Torture


We are making momentous strides in establishing the Community Center for Survivors and Families of Police Torture, a Center that will be the first of its kind in the United States.  The Center will provide specialized trauma services, family therapy, substance abuse counseling and other necessary services for the Burge torture survivors and their family members on the south side of Chicago. 


Although the reparations ordinance specified that the City would provide three years of services, our hope is that we can make this Center a permanent place on the South Side that will not only provide these necessary services to Burge torture survivors and their family members, but to all survivors of law enforcement violence in Chicago. 


To establish this Center, CTJM has worked hard to recruit an amazing group of volunteers – social workers, psychologists, case managers and others – who are serving on an ad hoc steering committee to develop a plan and a process for creating this Center.  CTJM also requested and received a $150,000 grant from the City of Chicago to fund the planning process, identify a location, and hire necessary staff.  At the beginning of this year, the steering committed hired Camesha Jones to serve as a project coordinator for the planning process and she has been meeting with survivors, family members, and others in the community to gather their invaluable and necessary input, ideas and visions.


The Steering Committee is also seeking to hire:

·       An executive director for the Center, please find the job description here.  Job applications are due June 17, 2016.

·       An outreach specialist for the Center, please find the job description here. As a peer-to-peer position, the outreach specialist must be a survivor of police torture. Job applications are due June 30, 2016.


If you’d like more information about the community center or are interested in helping to create the Center please email the Center at     


We are hopeful that the Center can begin providing services to Burge torture survivors and their family members in the beginning of 2017.


School Curriculum about Burge Torture


A team of Chicago Public Schools (CPS) teachers, historians, educators and CPS representatives is working to create the initial draft of the school curriculum about Burge torture to be taught to 8th and 10th graders in Chicago Public Schools.  We are hopeful the curriculum will be piloted in classrooms in the fall of 2016.


CTJM will continue to press on to properly implement all components of the reparations legislation.  


Reparations: The Payment of Financial Compensation to the Survivors 

Chicago, IL- Today the City of Chicago began the process of disbursing financial reparations in the Burge torture cases. 57 living survivors of police torture perpetuated by those working at the behest of disgraced former Commander Jon Burge were recipients. The payment fulfills a critical component of the historic reparations ordinance passed by the Chicago City Council last May. As members of Chicago Torture Justice Memorials (CTJM), we herald these reparations payments as part of a decades-long struggle for justice in the Chicago police torture cases, and honor the 57 survivors who deserve so much more.

In the midst of a major political crisis in our city, we must understand this development in the context of our times.

Most importantly, the reparations package was the product of decades of organizing, litigation, and investigative journalism, and was, inspired by the dedication of the survivors themselves, the culmination of a campaign in the winter and spring by CTJM, Amnesty International, USA, Project NIA and We Charge Genocide. The rise of the Black Lives Matter movement nationally was the critical context for our success. City leaders faced extraordinary local, national and international pressure to support the reparations ordinance: 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 first-of-its­kind legislation; many hundreds of Chicagoans attended demonstrations, rallies, sing-ins and citywide teach-ins; and tens of thousands signed petitions to urge the mayor and City Council to support the ordinance.

While the Reparations Ordinance was drafted to provide redress to the approximately 125 Black people tortured by Burge and his subordinates from 1972 through 1991, and was inspired by the extraordinary groundwork done by Attorney Stan Willis and Black People Against Police Torture, it also spoke to a national crisis. “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,” 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.

Since passage of the ordinance, we have seen a steady stream of protests, vigils, disruptions, and occupations—fueled largely by social media and cell phone videos— targeting racist police violence locally and nationally. In Chicago the police killing of Laquan McDonald, which some have referred to as an “execution,” sparked sustained protests, leading to the firing of the police superintendent and head of IPRA (Independent Police Review Authority) and the opening of an investigation of Chicago police practices by the U. S. Department of Justice. Even more recently, the police killings of Bettie Jones and Quintonio Legrier have created a renewed crisis in the city and an intensification of struggle.

Newly released data from the Citizens Police Data Project shows that 99% of tens of thousands of complaints against CPD officers from 2011-2015 led to no punishment or

sanction. This culture of impunity, racism and violence clearly goes beyond a “few bad apples,” and suggests the multigenerational span of this crisis of police violence in Chicago.

Jason Van Dyke, indicted for murdering Laquan McDonald, had 18 civilian complaints filed against him, including allegations of using excessive force and racial slurs. He, like Jon Burge before him, was encouraged rather than punished.

Moreover, the trauma for survivors continues. As Burge torture survivor, Anthony Holmes stated in his court testimony in 2011 “I can’t ever shake it. I still have nightmares, not as bad as they were, but I still have them. I wake up in a cold sweat. I still fear that I am going to go back to jail for this again. I see myself falling in a deep hole and no one helping me to get out.” Each time a new video surfaces of CPD murdering Black Chicagoans, the cycle of trauma is sustained.

In response to the very important question of whether torture reparations alone can bring healing to a city beset with a torrent of recent revelations of police, prosecutorial and judicial misconduct Alice Kim, activist and a CTJM leader said: "This is forty four years after the first known instance of Burge torture. The criminal justice system failed those who were tortured by Burge and for too long Burge torture was denied and covered up. No amount of financial compensation can make up for what the survivors suffered but we sought tangible redress that could make a meaningful difference in their lives.”

Flint Taylor, a founding member of the People's Law Office and who, with his law partner and CTJM founder Joey Mogul have acted as lawyers for CTJM said: "Reparations, although an historic accomplishment that recognizes that racist violence by the police is not a recent phenomenon, but rather spans many decades, cannot heal the City without fundamental systemic changes within the Chicago police department, the Cook County State's Attorneys' Office and the Cook County Criminal Justice system."

Darrell Cannon, a Burge torture survivor and one of the main spokespersons for the Reparations campaign said: "Reparations is only the first step to healing the City. We still have a long way to go. No one should forget that torture under Jon Burge took place with the knowledge and complicity of former Mayor Daley and former States Attorney Devine.”

The Reparations Ordinance provides a package of services, education and resources, and CTJM is working with appropriate partners to implement these important measures. Torture survivors and other victims of police violence have the right to financial compensation and other forms of redress to repair the harm done to them and their communities. But it is also clear that multi-million dollar settlements have not led the City of Chicago to halt the long reign of police abuse; significant changes in police practices are long overdue. It is truly unconscionable that 40% of the city budget is allocated to the Chicago Police Department, while schools and mental health clinics are closed.

Hence, CTJM joins other organizations and leaders in calling for a transformation of governance in this city and a re-thinking of the best way to achieve public safety.


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. 


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.


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. 





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.





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.


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


* Original Sponsor of the Ordinance

** Co-sponsor of the ordinance

Bold – member of Finance Committee

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