Since the passage of the Reparations Ordinance in 2015, CTJM developed a process to commission artists to create proposals for a public memorial. In order to create a rigorous criteria for the memorial proposals, members of CTJM have researched memorials around the country and the world, learning from people who have created memorials, oral histories, and public art projects in Chicago and beyond. In 2018, we interviewed formerly incarcerated survivors, currently incarcerated survivors, and family members about visions for a memorial. We drafted questions about what a memorial could look like, where it should be, and what it could do for people visiting it (such as, tell a history, honor survivors, be a place of reflection or action). The interviews were synthesized into shared answers and themes reflecting the hopes the community has for the memorial and will be shared with artists in order to implement the memorial collaboratively.
In 2018, CTJM selected 8 Chicago-based artists to create proposals for a memorial. All of the artists are people of color, Chicagoans, have experience working with budgets, planning and public art. Importantly, all of the artists experienced in creating public memorials and collaborative community projects that reflect a deep commitment to social and racial justice. At this time selected artists are reviewing the criteria for the memorial and will confirm their participation by the end of the summer. An announcement will be made at that time.
As CTJM continues to move forward with the memorial process, we are grounded in our collective responsibility as artists, educators, activists, survivors, and community members to uplift the stories, struggles, and resilience of everyone impacted by police torture under Jon Burge.