Support a Memorial for Burge Torture Survivors
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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 chicagotorture.org 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
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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