Chicago Police Torture & Reparations Interactive Pop-Up Art Exhibition & Teach-In at City Hall on Wednesday, March 18th

Chicago—(ENEWSPF)—March 17, 2015 — Join Project NIAWe Charge Genocide, and Chicago Torture Justice Memorials on March 18th as survivors of police torture and their supporters dramatize the history & legacy of the horrors experienced at the hands of Chicago police through an interactive art exhibition and teach-in at City Hall, 121 N. LaSalle, 5th Floor. There will also be a rally outside the mayor’s office at 4pm that will bring the force and energy of the current movement for the reparations ordinance directly to the mayor’s door.

Organizers, police torture survivors and their supporters are demanding that Mayor Emanuel declare his full support for the Reparations Ordinance. Yesterday, the finance committee of the Chicago City Council announced that it will hold a hearing on the Burge Torture Reparations Ordinance on April 14. The exhibition-in will also serve as a way to continue to educate the public AND our local elected officials about the importance of reparations.

“Mayor Rahm Emanuel has repeatedly claimed that he would bring closure to the Burge torture survivors, but he has failed to fully support the reparations ordinance,” says Mariame Kaba from Project NIA group. “We need the Mayor’s full support to pass the reparations ordinance in City Council.” 

Mayoral candidate and Cook County Commissioner Jesus Chuy Garcia has already endorsed the reparations ordinance, vowing to hold a hearing and vote on it in Chicago’s City Council. 

The pop-up art exhibit will feature testimonials and documents from torture survivors and a timeline of Burge police torture and the movement to end this systematic abuse. Furthermore, 3D installations will explore international examples of reparations as a response to state violence, and new submissions will place Burge police torture in a broader context of police violence and the growing movement to expose and end contemporary police torture and abuse. 

The Reparations Ordinance is supported by over half of the current City Council, numerous other civic and political leaders including Karen Lewis of the Chicago Teachers Union, and the United Nations Committee Against Torture. 

Since the election, the Chicago Police Department’s use of coercive, torturous and abusive tactics are being raised again in the media in response to a series of articles published by Spencer Ackerman in The Guardian about the disappearance of arrestees at the Chicago Police Department’s Homan Square. Many in the media, including Chris Hayes of MSNBC, have noted Chicago’s troubled history with police torture, citing the Burge torture cases and Mayor Emanuel’s failure to provide reparations to the Chicago Police Torture survivors. 

Over 110 African American men and women were tortured by former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge and his detectives. This racially motivated violence included electric shock, sexual abuse, suffocation and beatings. The City of Chicago has acknowledged this torture, and the UN has called for redress. Yet scores of survivors still suffer from the ongoing impact of the trauma they endured — without compensation, assistance, or recourse. 

The ordinance calls for a formal apology to the survivors; a commission to administer financial compensation to survivors; a medical, psychological and vocational center on the South Side for survivors and family members; a history lesson to be taught in Chicago Public Schools about the cases; city funding for public memorials about the cases; and $20 million to finance this redress, 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. 

Source: project-nia.org