Chicago Torture Justice Memorial Project

We invite artists and those who seek justice of all kinds to submit proposals for a speculative monument to memorialize the Chicago Police torture cases. Our goal is to honor the survivors of torture, their family members and the African American communities affected by the torture. The monument will also recall and honor the nearly two-decades long struggle for justice waged by torture survivors and their families, attorneys, community organizers, and people from every neighborhood and walk of life in Chicago.

These memorial projects will serve as a public reckoning with police torture in Chicago and honor those who fought to stop it. We hope to make visible the social and political conditions that made torture possible, as well as the acts of courage that ended – or at least brought to light — the culture of impunity that thwarted justice for so long in this instance. Every submission will be an act of solidarity with torture survivors. We welcome proposals that exhibit radical imagination – they may critically examine the usefulness and limitations of monuments themselves while exploring the issues of reparations, truth and reconciliation, and restorative justice. For example, one submission might consist of the blueprint for a compensation committee for torture survivors, another might be an annual walking tour of Area 2 Police Headquarters (where the majority of tortures occurred), while still another might be a large public sculpture set on a pedestal or in a public square. These memorials should also be understood as a locus of public empathy, making concrete the profound suffering of people like Anthony Holmes, tortured and made to confess to a crime he did not commit. In his recent testimony, Holmes describes internal injuries “from the electricity shot through me with the black box” and instances of Burge “choking me with the plastic bag.” Though Holmes makes clear that “[Burge] tried to kill me,” he claims that “what really hurt me is that no one really listened to what I had to say. No one believed in me.”

All submitted proposals will be exhibited at one or more of the following venues: Chicago area art galleries, community centers, and a dedicated website. The proposals, exhibition, and what we hope to become some permanent monument(s) will honor the survivors of police torture, acknowledge the communities most affected by police criminality as well as inform the world about the history of the police torture in Chicago under former Commander Burge. We recognize that this is not the only police torture that has been or continues to be committed in the City of Chicago. We hope this project will build a social movement strong enough to deter these and other acts of torture and transform our broken criminal justice system.

Sponsor: Chicago Torture Justice Memorial Project (CTJM Project)

Deadline: May 19, 2012

Venue: Sites throughout the Chicagoland area and a website

Curators: A panel of prominent area critics, artists, and community members will curate the submissions into roving exhibitions.

Eligibility: Submissions may be made by a person of any age and nationality.

Criteria for proposals: A proposed monument may take any form – from architecture to haiku, from website to mural, from community organization to performance, from bronze plaque to large-scale memorial.

Submission process: the submission can be in the form of a PDF, PPT, webpage, or other accessible electronic format. Non-electronic submissions will also be accepted; please contact to arrange delivery or mail to:

Chicago Torture Justice Memorial Project (CTJM Project)

c/o People’s Law Office

1180 N. Milwaukee

Chicago, Illinois 60642