Reparations WON Thanks To YOU! Our Work CONTINUES!!

For: Chicago Torture Justice Memorials
Chicago, IL
Organizer: Alice Kim
$4,454
of $7,500 goal.
Raised by 45 donors
59% Complete
This fundraiser is closed. Thank you for your support!

The Story

After months–and decades–of grassroots struggle, the Chicago City Council passed the reparations package for the Burge torture survivors and their family members!

The reparations 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 (including grandchildren) as well as prioritized access to other City programs, including help with housing, transportation and senior care; a history lesson about the Burge torture cases taught in Chicago Public schools to 8th and 10th graders; the construction of 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.

Chicago is the first municipality in the history of the United States to ever provide reparations for racially motivated law enforcement violence.  In doing so, the City of Chicago is agreeing to acknowledge the City’s responsibility for gross human rights violations and to commit significant resources to begin to help repair the harms inflicted on the torture survivors, their families and the communities they come from. The enactment of this legislation sends a strong message that activism and organizing matter in the ongoing struggle for human rights and social justice. 

We take this moment to cherish this hard fought victory, but we must recognize that this work is not over.  While the legislation has passed, we still need to work hard to make sure it gets properly implemented.  We continue to ask for you to get involved in the campaign and support us in creating a community center on the Southside of Chicago to provide the specialized trauma services to the Burge torture survivors and their family members.  If we are successful in developing this center we hope that its mission can expand to provide these necessary services to others harmed by law enforcement violence.  We also need your participation and support to ensure the Chicago Public School curriculum and permanent, public memorial are designed and implemented in a way that we can all be proud of.

To this day there are approximately 20 or so Burge torture survivors, and countless others, who continue to languish behind bars who were wrongfully convicted because their physically coerced confessions were used against them.  All of them are entitled to have evidentiary hearings to present the newly discovered that corroborate their allegations that they were physically forced to confess.  If a Court finds they were physically coerced, they are entitled to have their convictions vacated and to be re-tried without the use of a physically coerced confession. 

Further, we have always recognized that torture by law enforcement officials did not begin or end with Burge.  It is unfortunate that the reparations are limited to the Burge torture survivors and family members in this instance.  We hope, however, that this legislation can serve as a precedent and can help support redress packages for others who suffered from law enforcement violence.

Finally, we continue to see the ravages of racially motivated police violence affecting mostly young Black people today, whether it be the degrading but common practices of stop and frisk, the egregious use of tasers, or the far too frequent shootings of people.   This work continues and CTJM stands in solidarity with our partners and other groups seeking to eradicate this violence.  We call on you to support this on-going work.

Fundraiser for the Homestretch

We are so grateful for the incredible support you have provided over the past six months.  We continue to ask you once again to support this campaign as we take steps to ensure that the reparations package is properly implemented.   In addition to the creation of a trauma center that will serve all survivors of police violence in addition to Burge torture survivors, we also need your support to set up a speakers’ bureau so that torture survivors, many of whom were tortured under Burge and others, can share their experiences with the world and continue to work towards ending police torture.


Our sincere and heartfelt thanks to every one who has supported the reparations campaign!! 

For more info and updates on the Reparations Ordinance, visit
http://chicagotorture.org/


Fundraiser Updates

Posted on April 20, 2015

Posted on April 20, 2015

HISTORIC HEARING ON REPARATIONS FOR BURGE TORTURE SURVIVORS
Mayor’s Office Announces Support for Reparations Legislation; Supporters Pack City Council chambers
Tuesday, April 14

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.


Posted on January 30, 2015

Posted on January 30, 2015

Tell Your Alderman: Support Reparations for Burge Torture Survivors
Take one minute to send a letter to the aldermen who have yet to come out in support of the Reparations Ordinance by clicking on this link. 

http://wechargegenocide.org/reparations-now/

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