Support a Memorial for Burge Torture Survivors

Support a Memorial for Burge Torture Survivors

February 17, 2020
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Signatures: 2,649Next Goal: 5,000
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Why this petition matters

Started by Jessica Gillespie

As we struggle for justice in the wake of the police murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and too many more Black people in the U.S, we must remember the long history of entrenched, systemic anti-Black racism that has brought us to the moment we are currently in and we must learn from the prior struggles against racist police violence.

Today, you have the opportunity to stand with Chicago Torture Justice Memorials (CTJM) and for justice by signing this petition and supporting this open letter in favor of a public memorial honoring police torture survivors.

Disturbing Chicago History

Between 1972 and 1991, notorious former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge and detectives under his command tortured over 125 Black and Latino men, women and boys. The torture was racially motivated and used to extract confessions to secure scores of wrongful convictions. Eleven of those tortured were sent to death row. 

Hundreds of Black and Brown lives were violently altered, displaced and lost at the hands of Burge and his men. Thousands of Black and Brown community members endured decades of setbacks as a result of this human loss, and their lives continue to be upended. 

Radical Efforts for Justice

A modicum of justice for the survivors has been secured, but we need your help to make sure this fight for justice continues.

On May 6, 2015, Chicago’s City Council passed reparations legislation providing concrete redress to the Burge torture survivors and their family members. The legislation included a formal apology for the torture, financial compensation for Burge torture survivors, the creation of a curriculum to be taught in Chicago Police Schools, free enrollment in Chicago City Colleges for the torture survivors and their family members, the creation of a community counseling center (the Chicago Torture Justice Center) and the creation of a permanent public memorial commemorating the Burge torture survivors and the struggle for justice. The legislation was the fruit of decades of organizing and litigation.

This public memorial is the only piece of the legislation the City of Chicago has yet to enact. 

Black Lives Matter yesterday, today and tomorrow. 

Sign the petition to support the creation of the Burge Torture Justice Memorial. Visit to view the official open letter to the City of Chicago.

This open letter is also supported by the following prominent signees:

Ben Austen | Journalist

Howard Brookins | Alderman, 21st Ward, City of Chicago

Stuart Chanen | Partner, Chanen & Olstein, Advisory Board Member of the Center on Wrongful Convictions, Northwestern Pritzker School of Law

Debbie Chizewer | Board Chair, Shriver Center on Poverty Law

Cathy Cohen | David and Mary Winton Green Distinguished Service Professor, University of Chicago

Karen Daniel | Director Emerita, Center on Wrongful Convictions, Northwestern Pritzker School of Law

Dr. Eve L. Ewing | Assistant Professor, School of Social Service Administration, University of Chicago

Ruth Wilson Gilmore | Director, Center for Place, Culture, and Politics, The City University of New York

Adam Green | Associate Professor, American History and the College, University of Chicago

Reverend Marshall Hatch | Senior Pastor, New Mount Pilgrim Church 

Tempestt Hazel | Arts Program Officer, The Field Foundation 

Margaret Huang
Executive Director, Amnesty International, USA

Mary Jane Jacob | Director, Institute for Curatorial Research and Practice, School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Brandon Johnson | Cook County Board Commissioner, 1st District

Mariame Kaba | Executive Director, Project NIA

Jamie Kalven | Founder, Invisible Institute

Barbara Koenen | Founder and Executive Director, Creative Chicago Reuse Exchange (CCRx)

Lisa Yun Lee | Executive Director, National Public Housing Museum

Khalili Gibran Muhammad | Professor, History, Race and Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School

Sara Paretsky | Author

Angelique Power | President, The Field Foundation

Jane Ramsey | President, Just Ventures

Barbara Ransby | Professor of History, Gender and Women’s Studies and African American Studies, University of Illinois, Chicago

Don Rose | Columnist and Consultant

Jennifer Scott | Director and Chief Curator, Jane Addams Hull-House Museum

Dick Simpson | Former Alderman, 44th Ward, City of Chicago

Elissa Tenny | President, School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Elizabeth Todd Breland | Associate Professor of History, University of Illinois, Chicago

Andre Vasquez | Alderman, 40th Ward, City of Chicago

Amanda Williams | Artist

Eric Williams | Owner, The Silver Room 

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Signatures: 2,649Next Goal: 5,000
Support now

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