The Chicago Torture Justice Memorials Project (CTJM) formed in 2011 as part of an on-going effort to secure justice for the Chicago police torture survivors. CTJM issued a call for “speculative memorials of radical imagination” that remember and interrogate the conditions that lead to the torture of over 100 African American men and women in Chicago under former Police Commander Jon Burge during the years 1972-1991. Our goal is to honor the survivors of torture, their family members and the African American communities affected by the torture. By issuing a call for proposals we seek to reckon with this history, its ongoing impact on our communities, and the structural racism that enabled this torture to continue unchecked for three decades.
After a more than a year of CTJM events, roundtables, discussions, and public working groups at institutions and community centers across Chicago CTJM’s work culminated in an exhibition at The Sullivan Galleries at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago "Opening the Black Box: The Charge is Torture." The exhibition featured memorial proposals from over 70 local, national, and international artists, educators, students and activists. The programming for the exhibition included discussions, readings, screenings, and performances.
"As I continue to seek justice for the torture survivors, I believe one of the hardest tasks for us to achieve is reparations for the torture survivors, and this is not just financial reparations. This also includes official recognition of the torture, an apology for the torture, and permanent memorializations of the torture and struggle for justice. Such wholesale reparations, while recognized under international laws and customs is not recognized in the U.S. legal system and such reparations will not be obtained In the courts."
--Joey Mogul, attorney and CTJM co-organizer