Reparations Won!

As this historic day unfolds, I find myself without many words. I’ve previously expressed my thoughts on the reparations ordinance, including my thoughts on what it would mean to win. Today, more than anything, I am simply grateful. I am grateful to have played my own small part, helping to build actions around this campaign in recent months, grateful to have friends who were willing to commit themselves to this effort, and to make further sacrifices had the fight required as much, and grateful to have been witness to such a hard fought victory. The torture survivors, and those who have stood behind them for decades, have my absolute admiration today, and I am so honored to have stood with them.

In the absence of more thoughtful words on the subject, I wanted to share a look back at some of the actions that brought us to this moment. While countless hours of planning, negotiating, and other labor went into this fight, direct action is the front I understand best, and it’s where I spend much of my time in heated campaigns like this one. Here are a few of the moments I will carry with me tonight as we celebrate this historic victory.

Outside Rahm Emanuel's house demanding reparations for CPD torture survivors. (Photo: Kelly Hayes)
Outside Rahm Emanuel’s house demanding reparations for CPD torture survivors. (Photo: Kelly Hayes)
After holding up their message directly in front of Rahm Emanuel's home, activists crossed the street to make sure the mayor could clearly read the light banner from his window. Lights went on at the front of the house during the protest. Rahm Emanuel was reportedly home at the time. (Photo: Kelly Hayes)
After holding up their message directly in front of Rahm Emanuel’s home, activists crossed the street to make sure the mayor could clearly read the light banner from his window. Lights went on at the front of the house during the protest. Rahm Emanuel was reportedly home at the time. (Photo: Kelly Hayes)
A group of young women who joined protestors at the 95th Street Station after hearing organizers explain the reparations ordinance. (Photo: Kelly Hayes)
In February, on the eve of the mayoral election, a group of young women joined train takeover protestors at the 95th Street Station after hearing organizers explain the reparations ordinance. (Photo: Kelly Hayes)
(Photo: Kelly Hayes)
(Photo: Kelly Hayes)
(Photo: Kelly Hayes)
(Photo: Kelly Hayes)
Another commuter rejects Rahm Emanuel in support of the reparations ordinance. (Photo: Kelly Hayes)
A train takeover on the eve of the mayoral election in February. (Photo: Kelly Hayes)
A recent living memorial for victims of police torture under Jon Burge lined an entire city block. (Photo: Kelly Hayes)
A recent living memorial for victims of police torture under Jon Burge lined an entire city block. (Photo: Kelly Hayes)
(Photo: Kelly Hayes)
(Photo: Kelly Hayes)
(Photo: Kelly Hayes)
(Photo: Kelly Hayes)
(Photo: Kelly Hayes)
(Photo: Kelly Hayes)
(Photo: Kelly Hayes)
(Photo: Kelly Hayes)
(Photo: Sarah Jane Rhee)
(Photo: Sarah Jane Rhee)
(Photo: Sarah Jane Rhee)
(Photo: Sarah Jane Rhee)
(Photo: Sarah Jane Rhee)
(Photo: Sarah Jane Rhee)
(Photo: Sarah Jane Rhee)
(Photo: Sarah Jane Rhee)
(Photo: Brit Schulte)
(Photo: Brit Schulte)
(Photo: Kelly Hayes)
(Photo: Kelly Hayes)
(Photo: Kelly Hayes)
(Photo: Kelly Hayes)
Burge torture survivor Mark Clements leads a teach-in about the fight for justice for CPD torture survivors. (Photo: Kelly Hayes)
Burge torture survivor Mark Clements leads a teach-in about the fight for justice for CPD torture survivors. (Photo: Kelly Hayes)
(Photo: Kelly Hayes)
Visitors examine the photo section at the City Hall exhibition-in for reparations. (Photo: Kelly Hayes)
(Photo: Kelly Hayes)
Students from The Village Leadership Academy stand in protest. (Photo: Kelly Hayes)
At the close of the exhibition-in event at City Hall. (Photo: Sarah Jane Rhee)
At the close of the exhibition-in event at City Hall. (Photo: Sarah Jane Rhee)

And while this wasn’t exactly a direct action, I’ll never forget it:

Chicago organizers raising a glass to the struggle, and to the day's progress. (Photo: Brit Schulte)
Chicago organizers raising a glass to the struggle, and to a pending victory. (Photo: Brit Schulte)

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