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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 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

 

We have a hearing on the Burge Torture Reparations Ordinance in the Finance Committee on April 14, 2015 at 10 a.m!  It will be our opportunity to present the torture survivors and our evidence to members of the Finance Committee and the public and demonstrate why this entire ordinance must be passed. 

 

It is important for the aldermen and women who support our ordinance to attend that meeting and publicly demonstrate their support for our ordinance with their presence and their votes.

 

On Wednesday, March 25, please call the finance committee members listed below, and ask them if they plan on attending the finance committee hearing on 4.14.15 at 10 a.m.  Ask them to commit to doing so.  

 

If you’re unsure who your alderperson is, check here. 

 

Proco Joe Moreno (1st Ward)

Ward: 773.278.0101

City Hall: 312.744.3063

 

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

 

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 R. 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

 

Daniel Solis (25th Ward)

Ward: 773.523.4100

City Hall: 312.744.6845

 

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

 

Scott Waguespeck (32nd Ward)

Ward: 773.248.1330

City Hall: 312.744.6567

 

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

 

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

 

Harry Osterman (48th Ward)

Ward: 773.784.5277

 

Joe Moore (49th Ward)

Ward: 773.338.5796

City Hall: 312.744.3067

 

We are in a pivotal moment in the movement for reparations and we are in need of money to help support the work we do.  Please consider donating to CTJM here to help further support the campaign to pass the Reparations Ordinance.  


CHICAGO — Today, Chairman Ed Burke of Chicago’s Finance Committee announced the committee will hold a hearing on the Burge Torture Reparations Ordinance on April 14, 2015 at 10 a.m.  Dozens of organizers and activists were present to demonstrate their support for the ordinance. 

The ordinance has been stalled in the Finance Committee since it was filed in City Council on October 16, 2013 by Aldermen Joe Moreno (1st Ward) and Howard Brookins (21st Ward).  Several organizations, including Amnesty International, BYP100, Chicago Light Brigade, CTJM, Project NIA and We Charge Genocide have held rallies, demonstrations, and marches over the last three months to demand a public hearing on the ordinance and to call on Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago’s aldermen and women to fully support the ordinance and commit to its immediate passage in City Council.


“We are pleased that we are finally going to have a hearing on the ordinance.  We look forward to having the day when the people of Chicago will hear from the torture survivors and international human rights experts as to why this must be passed,” said Alice Kim of Chicago Torture Justice Memorials.  “Burge’s reign of torture started over forty-two years ago.  It is now past due for Mayor Emanuel and the City of Chicago to take responsibility for the egregious harm inflicted by Burge and his men and provide the torture survivors and family members the compensation and services they so richly deserve.”


The ordinance is supported by Cook County Commissioner and mayoral candidate Jesus (Chuy) Garcia, 29 City aldermen and women, and numerous other political and civil leaders in Chicago.  This past November, the United Nations Committee Against Torture also called upon the City of Chicago to enact the ordinance.


"We are looking forward to the day when the reparations ordinance is passed by the City Council so that the survivors of Burge's torture can receive a measure of justice for their suffering and trauma,” said Mariame Kaba, founder and executive director of Project NIA. “Until that time, we will continue to fight for justice with them. We appreciate the hearing and still need Mayor Emanuel to declare his full support for the ordinance."

Steven W. Hawkins, executive director of Amnesty International USA said in response to the announcement of the hearing: “A public hearing on the reparations ordinance is a critical and necessary step toward the justice that Chicago police torture survivors need to heal, but the struggle is not yet over. More than four decades after Jon Burge first began his legacy of torture on Chicago's south side, it’s long past time for city officials, including Mayor Emanuel, to stand on the right side of history and unequivocally support reparations for torture survivors,” said Steven W. Hawkins, executive director of Amnesty International USA. “It’s crucial that the city of Chicago ensure full and adequate reparations without any further delay so that justice delayed does not become justice denied.”


The Ordinance serves as 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 of Chicago; provides free enrollment in City Colleges to the survivors; 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 all of this redress ­– approximately 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. 

 

"The damage done by Burge and his men is irreversible and will remain a stain on Chicago's reputation and collective consciousness for decades to come. It is our duty to help these victims and their families, and it is a moral and ethical imperative.  It is our hope that the healing and forgiving process can begin with the passage of this legislation.  The hearing brings us one step closer to getting this ordinance passed,” said Proco (Joe) Moreno, co-sponsor of the ordinance.


The ordinance was drafted to address the fact that over 120 African American men and women have been 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 in federal court 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 psychological effects of the torture they endured without any compensation, assistance, or legal redress.

 

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