By Michaela Purdue
Director of Community Programs, Human Rights Coordinator, JCUA
The conviction of former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge was a bittersweet affair for many Chicago activists.
The solace Burge’s torture victims, and their many supporters and allies, felt when the former police commander was convicted in June 2010, was lessened by Burge’s conviction not being for acts of torture, but for perjury and obstruction of justice he committed when he was deposed on the issue in 2003, and by the fact that the Illinois statute of limitations on torture, which lasts three years, expired before Burge was convicted.
Grassroots and advocacy groups like Black People against Police Torture and the Illinois Coalition Against Torture are committed to working with legislators to address extending the duration of the statute, and to putting to an end human rights violations in Chicago, in the state and elsewhere.
On Thursday, Dec. 9, 2010, from 6-9 p.m. at Grace Place on 637 S. Dearborn St., Chicago, in honor of International Human Rights Day, activists from those groups and from across Chicago will come together to speak out about police torture and the impact human rights principles can have in ensuring the respect and dignity of every Chicago resident.
The event, “Condemning Silence, Not People,” will be a night of spoken word featuring locally and nationally renowned artists C.C. Carter, Kevin Coval and Roger Bonair-Agard.