#15: Healing and Repair

This issue of AREA was released on December 6, 2015 at Experimental Station in Chicago.
Edited by Rozalinda Borcilă, Jayne Hileman, Jacob Klippenstein
Designed by Kimberly Le
Contributing Editors and Advisers: Mohamed Mehdi, Francesco de Salvatore
Transcription: Sara Brodzinsky, Francesco De Salvatore, Denise Dooley, Mohamed Mehdi, Fred Moten, Sara Nelson, Erin Raether, Mary Wu, Ally Young
Rights and Reproductions : Creative Commons Deed Attribution / Non-Commercial / No Derivative See www.creativecommons.org or contact AREA Chicago for more information.

An Editorial Introduction

By Rozalinda Borcila — the range of activities and efforts we grouped under the rubric of “healing” rep­resent a dense field of political and social experimentation. These practices attempt to address systemic harms while at the same time enacting social possibilities beyond the logic of capitalism and white supremacy. But notions like healing are also often used as a stand-in for a pacifying and repressive set of practices. In a context in which the deepening crisis of capitalism is framed as though it is caused by Black people and poor communities of color, by immigration, by physical and mental disability, by gender nonconformity and womyn, the liberal agenda of “healing our communities” or “healing from violence” actually perpetuates and deepens structural and uneven exposure to violence in its many forms. This version of a healing politics has been central to the project of creating a Chicago that is safe for capitalist development and investors, for tourists and the professional class.

Section 1: Resistance and Survival

By AREA Staff — The contributions in this section explicitly address the question of who is meant to survive in a society structured by a colonizer/ colonized relation.

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Restoring the Land, Restoring Ourselves

By Chi-Nations Youth Council — “Chi” means big in Ojibwe but also it’s short for Chicago and we come from many nations – so we are Chi-Nations. This text is based on a recording of a group conversation among CNYC members on October 4, 2015. Participants: Naomi Harvey-Turner (Lakota), Co-President CNYC; Adrien (AJ) Pochel (Cree/Lakota), Chicago-Citywide American Indian Education Council (CAIEC) Youth Ambassador; Anthony Tamez (Cree/Lakota), Co-President CNYC; Janie Pochel (Cree/Lakota), CNYC adviser; Raven Roberts (Potawatomi, MiqMaq, Oneida) adviser.

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We Charge Genocide: Reflections on Healing and Resistance

By Page May, Hana Worku, Breanna Champion, Monica Trinidad, Ethan Viets-Van Lear, Kush Thompson — It could be that the part of us that most needs healing is the exact same part of us that has capacity to work for liberation. This is the part of us that is both oppressed and defiant. What do we do with the urgency to abolish genocide that also feeds us? Why is it that the terms of freedom and sustainability are defined as self/community preservation, but all too often point toward self-destruction? How could it be that we are tasked with both resisting within and without?

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A Refusal to be Made Lifeless

By Semillas Autónomas — Chicagoiguala is not just a drug corridor. Chicagoiguala is where we live, an integrated global supply-chain linking captive labor, extraction, assembly plants, finished commodities, planning processes and financial flows. It is how logistics firms and consultants “restructure” the state, channeling public moneys and migrant remittances into infrastructure projects that open up new territories for transnational extraction. It is how Mexican economic and political elites are organized in the US as Latino politics, whose function is to de-indigenize and manage the mass migration. Chicagoiguala is a border zone where our struggles for liberation are disarticulated by “immigration reform” politics and the electoral spectacle.

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40 Acres and Beyond: Black Communities, Food Sovereignty and Climate Change

By Eric Kofi Malone, Diallo Kenyatta, Theodore Richards, Safia Rashid, Gregory Bratton, Kenya Vera Sample, Julian Sample, Michael Tekhen — “Raise Awareness and a Garden - Part 2” was a panel discussion organized and facilitated by Eric Kofi Xola Malone and the Chicago Wisdom Project in April 2015, at the South Side Food Forest on Chicago’s South Side. It was a follow-up to a similar event organized the year before, to deepen the public discussion around food sovereignty, land use, Black farmers and climate change.

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Mothers’ March for Absolute Justice

By Panzy Edwards, Daphne Jackson — Panzy Edwards called for an evening protest on Mother’s Day, Saturday May 9, 2015 at 6PM at the intersection of E 67th St and S Indiana Ave. This is the site where Panzy’s 15 year old son, Dakota Bright, was executed by the Chicago Police Department. The demands of the march included: Dismantle the Chicago Police Department—No Cop Zones in our communities; reparations for all victims of state sponsored police violence; a Civilian Police Accountability Council— can we fight to dismantle the entire Chicago Police Department while at the same time push for civilian oversight of Police Districts?

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“Your traumas can become the vehicle in which the art can become manifest.” Southside Reflections on Art and Healing

By Brian Sykes with Jayne Hileman — I think that when children are exposed to such violence and the presence of death, their thought process is so much deeper than the normal teenager. They actually have to think deeper because at an early age you must first learn how to survive and then if possible entertain the idea of “living.”

Section 2: Reparations

By AREA Staff — This section charts three distinct ways that restitution and reparation have been articulated in recent local struggles.

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Repairing a Society built on Enslavement: Grassroots Reparations Enforcement in Chicago

By Kamm Howard — ­Kamm Howard shared a long and in-depth interview about the fight for reparations for peoples of African descent globally, within the Caribbean, nationally and in Chicago, drawing upon international law and his work with the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (N’COBRA). Following is a short version of the transcript of this interview. […]

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The Ghosts of Slavery in Corporate Chicago

By Larry Redmond, Bob Brown and Kamm Howard — When we talk about how African people or Black people built America, this exhibit will show you how deep: not only that we built the structures, early structures in America physically, but the capital produced financed the entire expansion of this country. And you'll see in some of this research it also financed England's industrial revolution. It definitely financed this industrial revolution here in America. There's nowhere in any large city that you can't go and visually see our ancestors' labor that was stolen from us…

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Statement from BYP100 Regarding #STOPTHECOPS Action

By Black Youth Project 100 — Black Youth Project 100 (BYP100), Assata’s Daughters, We Charge Genocide, #Not1More and Organized Communities Against Deportations (OCAD) are taking action today to shut-down the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Conference in Chicago to demonstrate the urgency for a fundamental shift in the way this country invests in our most valuable resources – our people. Together, we’re organized to demand that our lives, our communities and our futures be made a priority. The police chiefs who belong to the IACP, and their local departments have a debt to pay for the lives and the resources they’ve stolen and we’re here to collect.

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Testimonies from a Hearing on the John Burge Torture Reparations Ordinance

By Anthony Holmes, Dorothy Burge, Darrell Cannon — Following are transcripts of three of the testimonies offered during the City Hall Finance Committee Hearing from April 14, 2015 that discussed the proposed reparations ordinance for survivors of Chicago Police torture ordered by ex-CPD chief John Burge. AREA Chicago strove to transcribe every word and remain faithful to the testimonies as they were given. […]

Reparations Now at City Hall, Chicago Torture Justice Memorials March 2015; Photo by Sarah Jane Rhee

Collective Chicago Torture Justice Timeline

By Chicago Torture Justice Memorials (CTJM) — 2008 – 2009                Standish Willis calls for “Reparations” for the Chicago Police torture survivors. He is the first to frame the need for significant and expansive redress using the language of reparations. Oct 16, 2008               Jon Burge is indicted for perjury and obstruction of justice for falsely denying he and detectives at Area 2 Police […]

Section 3: Within and Against (the Law)

By AREA Staff — The entries below explicitly address the ways dominant institutions struc­ture power and the various ways communities try to find alternatives both inside and outside existing institutional frameworks.

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How to Provide Healing When Capitalism is Killing Us: The Revolutionary Potential of Community Healthcare From Below

By Mary Bowman — We need to build a mass political movement, which will relentlessly dismantle oppressive systems from multiple angles—through social justice unionism, de-privatizing and wholly subsidizing public services, universal health coverage for everyone without exception, and ultimately removing the most toxic poison to public health: capitalism itself. True healing will require an end to what is killing us, and the creation of a future where our systems enable collective well-being, prevent violence and disease, and protect us from exploitation and oppression.

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Introducing the Chicago Community Bond Fund, or, Why We Should Let Most People Out of Cook County Jail

By Chicago Community Bond Fund — CCBF is a revolving fund that will pay bond for people charged with crimes in Cook County Jail (CCJ). In addition, we will engage in education about the role of bond in the criminal legal system and ultimately advocate for the abolition of money bond. CCBF supports individuals whose lives and communities have been impacted by structural violence and whose bonds are completely out of proportion to their ability to pay.

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The Real Barriers to Care: What We Truly Need to Combat HIV

By Cassie Warren — When I hear folks in healthcare concerned about young people adhering to the regiment of a medication like PrEP, I don’t often hear them talking about the structural oppressions that make adherence difficult to impossible: lack of safe storage; the bureaucracy around Medicaid that makes it so easy to lose care; being denied services based on gender markers, or a new name that doesn’t match medical records; not having state ID, a social security number, or other documentation; lack of bus fare to pick up or refill prescriptions; the criminalization of survival crimes and/or quality of life crimes; limited access to a consistent phone number or email; the lack of youth-only spaces.

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You Can Die and Then be Buried or you can Raise Above the Grave and Fight

By N'Dana Carter — So our goal is always—no matter what we’re doing—it’s to educate people. Always. We had our last forum and we say we don’t need to know the politicians. You meet one politician, you’ve met them all. They need to know who we are. So when we have a forum, it’s about you knowing me, not me knowing you. You’re one of a billion. But now you need to know who I am. Because I’m not one of the zillion and even if I am, it’s a zillion of me you need to know...