Activism | Police | Politics

We Got Power, and We Got Love

The Chicago Torture Justice Center honors the mothers of police torture survivors

Maddie Anderson

Reparations Won!” a white sheet cake boasted in blue lettering. The names of survivors of torture by detectives within the Chicago Police Department hung from clotheslines draped across the walls. A dozen cardstock letters from CPD torture survivors who remain in prison dangled by pink string from the ceiling. On orange and pink post-it notes, questions like “What do you want the world to know about your mom?” and “What gives you hope?”—and corresponding answers like “Artists give me hope!”—colored the windows. A microphone stand arose from a makeshift stage set up in front of two large banners reading “Consent is Everything” and “You Are Never Alone.” Among all of this, over fifty activists, young and old—torture survivors, their mothers, and their allies—greeted each other, hugged, ate, and mingled.

Activism | Food Issue 2018 | Politics

Witnesses to Slaughter

A group of activists fights animal cruelty one vigil at a time

Kiran Misra

At 11:30pm last Wednesday, a group of fifteen people was standing on a street in West Town, watching for the arrival of a truck. They were members of Chicago Animal Save, an animal anti-cruelty group, and they were holding a monthly vigil to protest the animal cruelty that goes ignored in slaughterhouses. Each member was ready to stand until the truck came, which might not happen until four in the morning. The truck would be bringing chickens for slaughter.

Activism | Politics

Evans’s Bond Court Order Under Watch

With court watching and town halls, organizers continue to push criminal justice reform

Community organizer Ethan Viets-VanLear with A Just Harvest speaks at the release of the 2018 Court Watching Report (Kiran Misra)

At a presentation held last month at the Grace Place Episcopal Church in Printer’s Row, the Coalition to End Money Bond released the most recent results of its community court-watching initiative. Their efforts tracked the implementation of an order, issued by Circuit Court Chief Judge Timothy Evans, that bond court judges set more affordable bonds for legally innocent pretrial detainees in the Cook County criminal justice system. This is the most recent result of the long history of activism for bail reform in Cook County—a history which began in the 1970s, as detailed in a threepart series in the Weekly earlier this year.

Activism | Interview Issue 2017 | Photo Essay

Chicago Youth Work to Increase the Peace

Photos from the last Increase the Peace campout of the summer

Children from the Back of Yards neighborhood take turns trying to hit a piñata as it rises and falls, pulled by a string controlled by Increase the Peace youth leaders. (Sebastián Hidalgo)

Weekly photographer Sebastián Hidalgo attended the last Increase the Peace campout—youth-led anti-violence demonstrations across the South Side—of the summer. On August 4, dozens gathered outside of St. Michael’s Church in Back of the Yards for games, music, and food to celebrate the community center’s reopening after over ten years.

Activism | Interview Issue 2017 | Interviews

From Summer Nights to the Long Haul

Resurrection Project campouts build youth leaders and community ties

Increase the peace youth leaders hold a private meeting recalling an incident with two local gang factions at the recently re-opened St. Michaels Community Center, Friday, August 4, 2017 (Sebastián Hidalgo)

Every few weeks this summer, a block in a South Side neighborhood was taken over by peace marches, workshops, free food, and an all-night campout. This is the Resurrection Project’s Increase the Peace campaign, a youth-led program that grew out of the tragic drive-by shooting of high school senior Naome Zuber in the fall of 2016. Naome was riding in the back seat of a car when a stray bullet ended her life. Her death galvanized her community; since then, other neighborhoods from Little Village to Englewood have come together as well, on these warm summer nights, to think about structural ways to stop gun violence long after the campouts end.

Activism | Politics

Priority in Planning

South Side United seeks greater community involvement in Obama library development process

Courtesy of the Obama Library

Of the 150 individuals who attended the first Washington Park Summit on April 1, only fourteen actually lived in the neighborhood, according to the Hyde Park Herald. Cecilia Butler, longtime Washington Park resident and president of the Washington Park Resident’s Advisory Council, called the meeting “insulting” due to the lack of notice given to neighborhood residents. An event posted on the neighborhood bulletin website EveryBlock did not appear until less than a week before the event.