The annual Chicago Air & Water Show, sponsored by Shell Oil and Boeing, is the largest such free public display of deadly military airpower in the country. Jets screech across the skies above the Chicago lakefront for most of a weekend, projecting the sounds that terrorize large swaths of the world. Here, the City offers this spectacle as “entertainment.” Some people flee the city to avoid the sounds and the crowds. On Sunday, World Can’t Wait and Voices for Creative Nonviolence went into the thick of it to bring some truth and challenge people attending what our banner declared to be “The Air & War Show.”
We invite you to march with us this Sunday in the “Against ALL Hate” contingent of the Chicago Pride Parade. The horrific massacre of innocent LGBTQ people at The Pulse Club in Orlando is being used to justify once again yet more bombing of the people in Syria – by both candidates, Trump and Clinton. Once again, it is on us, people living in this country, to speak out against hatred aimed at the LGBTQ and Muslim communities here in the U.S. AND to much more visibly resist the U.S. wars for empire that have given rise to ISIS and require the vilification of Muslims worldwide. “If people really want to stand up to anti-Muslim hatred and be supportive of Muslim people, then they can’t continue to ignore the role that the so-called global U.S. war on terror has had in shaping the horrific events like in Orlando.” Please read “Giving Heart to People All Over the World,” by Jill McLaughlin (below), and join us this Sunday!
When: Sunday, June 26, meet at 11 am
Where: In front of the Uptown Target store, 4466 N. Broadway, Chicago (south of Wilson)
What: Look for our banner (below) in the “Against ALL Hate” contingent
Giving Heart to People All Over the World
by Jill McLaughlin, World Can’t Wait steering committee and Chicago chapter
When I woke to the news Sunday morning June 12 about the horrific massacre at the LGBTQ night club, Pulse in Orlando FL, my heart was very heavy and my gut twisted. As speculation by the media and officials about the shooter were being made, I became very worried. Would this act of violence against LGBTQ people by a man who they said claimed allegiance to ISIS be used as justification for yet more bombing of innocent people, more indefinite detention, more repression of civil liberties by our government?
The answer is yes, it will be used in that way by the ruling forces of this country, whether Democrat or Republican. But does that mean we as people of this country should go along with that, either by ignoring that it’s happening or being silent? No, we should not.
Yesterday I thought about all the times I experienced a sense of fear or loneliness when a homophobic slur was thrown my way, or subjected to stares and whispers when out and about, or the time I was actually followed and threatened with violence just for being lesbian. I thought about that and thought, this must be what it’s like to be Muslim in this country. But I also felt a sense of frustration because while I am heartened by the sentiments expressed by so many of my LGBTQ brothers and sisters that this event in Orlando not be used as justification for hateful rhetoric and acts towards Muslim people in this country, they are not enough. These sentiments do not go deep enough nor do they reflect the reality with which too many in the world are faced with today. There is much more that needs to be grappled with here. We need to be thinking about the whole world.
I can’t help but note these are some of the same types of sentiments that were expressed about the refugees from countries like Syria who were coming under vicious reactionary anti-Muslim assault in the U.S. and Europe in the wake of the attacks in Paris and San Bernardino. As I expressed at the time these are good sentiments… important sentiments… but people need to dig deeper and understand the role of U.S. imperialism that has given rise to the likes of ISIS and the refugee crisis.
If people really want to stand up to anti-Muslim hatred and be supportive of Muslim people, then they can’t continue to ignore the role that the so-called U.S. global war on terror has had in shaping the horrific events like the one in Orlando. I encourage people to read the statement put out by Revolution Newspaper which denounces the ideology behind this attack but holds U.S. imperialism to account. We are reminded in this statement about the horrible role of both: “There is in fact nothing ‘radical’ and nothing at all even remotely progressive about this ideology. Its role in the world in attracting angry people to its banners to carry out vicious and misguided acts only reinforces the oppressive relations of the world, and actually strengthens U.S. (and western) imperialism, as people feel driven to choose between two oppressive alternatives. Both U.S. imperialism and jihadism must be opposed, with no quarter given to either by anyone who hungers for justice and human emancipation.”
As people living in this country must now more than ever take a more visible stand of resistance to these U.S. wars for empire with the lives of people all over the world in mind and heart.
What: Free screening & discussion of “Wounds of Waziristan” and “Unmanned: America’s Drone Wars“
When: Sunday, April 10, 2 pm – 4 pm
Where: St. Gertrude’s Ministry Center, 6214 N. Glenwood, Chicago
(Free parking, or we’re just a few blocks west of the Granville stop on the Red line)
The film “Eye in the Sky,” starring Helen Mirren, builds drama by presenting a Hollywood fantasy of “precision drone targeting” guided by great care and concern to kill only “known terrorists.” The reality of the U.S. armed killer drone program is exactly the opposite. This Sunday, April 10, we will screen and discuss two films that vividly portray that reality.
While U.S. military and CIA drone operations are secret, we know from human rights activists and journalists on the ground that dozens of ordinary people are killed daily, from Afghanistan to Yemen, where U.S.-supplied Saudi drones are pulverizing that country’s people and infrastructure. Democracy Now! reported that on a single day, Wednesday, April 6, 2016, 17 people were killed by drone attacks in Afghanistan, including a local elder on his way to settle a land dispute and two people who came to collect the bodies of the dead. The latter attack is cynically termed a “double tap” by the CIA. Make no mistake: “Targeted killings through drones are war crimes,” according to Daniele Archibugi, a director at the Italian National Research Council.
Every presidential candidate of both the Republican and the Democratic parties promises to continue this armed drone program, a cornerstone of Obama’s expanded war of terror. We all have to consider: Do we want to live in a country where the U.S. president kills whomever he or she wants, wherever he or she wants, without regard for law, due process, accountability, or evidence? Join us on Sunday to watch and discuss two award-winning films that portray both the human cost and the far-reaching impact of drones on communities around the globe.
Photo: World Can’t Wait protest at the 2012 DNC convention
What: Tea Project: Tea Performance
When: Various events through April 16
Where: Links Hall, 3111 N. Western Ave., Chicago
Tickets and more information about the exhibit and events are here.
“Tea Project is an ongoing dialogue that traverses a variety of landscapes from the tea served in the Iraqi countryside, to a cage in Guantanamo Bay, to a family gathering. Tea is both a favored drink and a shared moment that transcends cutural divides. Aaron Hughes and Amber Ginsburg collaborate with community groups to curate a series of events that use tea as a launching point to engage with issues of war, detention, and torture. Setting the stage for these events will be 779 cast porcelain styrofoam tea cups inspired by a curious story of a Guantanamo Bay guard who fell in love with drawings carved on styrofoam cups by detainees.”
Monday March 14th is the Chicago Chapter of World Can’t Wait Monthly Chapter Meeting. We have much to plan and you are invited to join us to brainstorm. The meeting is 7PM at St.Gertrude’s Church 6214 N. Glenwood, Chicago. Enter through the “Ministry Center” and ring the bell if the door is closed. That’s a few blocks west of the Granville stop on the Red line/easy parking.
There are two upcoming events that our chapter is helping to build for and everyone is welcome to help us build for them and be part of them
Sunday March 20th End Endless Wars 5 PM – 8 PM Ur-Eichen Gallery 2101 S. Halsted Chicago, IL
In the months leading up to the March 19, 2003 Shock and Awe bombing of Iraq, the world came closer than ever before to stopping a war before it started.
The New York Times referred to the massive anti-war movements that protested attacking Iraq as “the world’s only other superpower.”
In the intervening 13 years, the devastation begun under Bush has grown and spread under the Obama administration. The US has not been able to impose its will as it planned, and the US war OF terror continues. Facing what now appears to be endless war as the U.S. continues to invade and bomb other countries, activists opposed to U.S. military and economic warfare will gather to view film clips culled from “The Winter Soldier” project and the Iraq Veterans Against War NATO summit protest. How can we help mobilize grassroots resistance to U.S. militarism in the face of endless war?
Please help us spread the word about this gathering by inviting your friends and colleagues to join with us.
Free and open to all!
Co-sponsored by Chicago World Can’t Wait and Voices for Creative Nonviolence, Chicago Chapter of Veterans for Peace.
Let us know if your group would like to endorse!
Join this event on facebook https://www.facebook.com/events/800275076743030/
Justice for Justus 7 PM – 9 PM Evanston Public Library 1703 Orrington Ave, Evanston, Illinois 60201
One Year Later and Still Seeking Justice for Justus Howell
“An injustice anywhere is an injustice everywhere!”
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Assassinated on April 4, 1968
17 year old Justus Howell was assassinated by Zion, IL police on April 4, 2015, shot in the back as he ran away. In a few short weeks, his murder was ruled “justifiable homicide.” His mother and grandmother, LaToya and Alice Howell, play important roles in the Rise Up October movement and continue the fight for Justice for Justus and ALL victims of police murder with impunity. Join us to learn about the march and rally planned on April 4. All are welcome, donations for the April 4 activities will be appreciated.
With the recent events in Paris and San Bernadino we are posting the latest newsletter from Debra Sweet, national director of World Can’t Wait below. We are also inviting you to join us here in Chicago tomorrow evening December 14th at 7 PM St. Gertrude’s Church 6214 N. Glenwood, Chicago. Enter through the “Ministry Center” and ring the bell if the door is closed. That’s a few blocks west of the Granville stop on the Red line/easy parking. We will be digging into some of these big questions facing humanity right now.
“Human rights day gets smugly celebrated by those who run this country as a day to call on the failures of societies with which the U.S. is not allied. China, Venezuela, Iran — bad. No mention of Saudi Arabia, Israel, or, for that matter, the United States where 42% of people on death row are African American, while the population is only 12% African American.
This year, this contradiction is terrifically heightened. ISIS, by all estimates, has killed hundreds in the “west,” but its main threat is to thousands in the Middle East. Almost every one of the principal candidates for US president identifies ISIS as the main danger to the world. And yet, Democracy Now reported this year
The Nobel Prize-winning International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War and other groups examined the toll from the so-called war on terror in three countries — Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The investigators found “the war has, directly or indirectly, killed around one million people in Iraq, 220,000 in Afghanistan and 80,000 in Pakistan. Not included in this figure are further war zones such as Yemen. The figure is approximately 10 times greater than that of which the public, experts and decision makers are aware. … And this is only a conservative estimate.”
ISIS and other Islamic fundamentalists are a dangerous threat to people, but we need to be strongly grounded in the reality of what the U.S. empire has already done. That way we can respond to the dangerous rhetoric — coupled with a very real plan for power — from Trump and his base, with full understanding that there’s a reason Trumps’ ranting is covered by ruling class media as acceptable within the mainstream.
“The endless TV airtime and newspaper/website exposure Trump has had—and the sprint by many others among this system’s political leaders to match his anti-Muslim, anti-Arab venom—serve to legitimize and present as the “will of the people” a program of violent and even murderous xenophobia (irrational fear and hatred of “outsiders” and people from other countries) said revcom.us, who referred to Trump as a “fascist trailblazer.”
Stopping the crimes of our own government means we stop thinking like “Americans” and start thinking about humanity.”
The Chicago chapter of World Can’t Wait teamed up with Stop Mass Incarceration Network last Saturday to take a challenge to Fighting Bob Fest: “Which Side Are You On, Madison?”
Fighting Bob Fest is an annual gathering in Madison of progressive people from around Wisconsin, people who we expected to be aware of the wanton murder of Black and Brown people by police and the movement to stop it. We were not wrong. But knowing that begs the question, the one we put to everyone we met: Which side are you on?
We used strong visual messaging to project that challenge (see photos).
In all we raised $500 while continuing to put out the larger goal and the need to send 100 families to New York, including to send buses from Madison. We found a lot of potential to follow up on, including all the people who gave us their contact information, the organizers from other groups that we got to know, and the stacks of palm cards and posters people took to get out in their circles.
The population of Madison itself is only 8% Black, and yet 75% of the youth held in juvenile detention are Black, making it another gateway to mass incarceration. This spring the city was rocked when young, unarmed Tony Robinson was murdered by Madison police and students from two high schools walked out and occupied the State Capital. Still, his murder was ruled “justified.” So the reality of lives stolen with impunity was right there in their own backyard. And Tony’s family has been outspoken in their support for Oct. 24:
We posed sharp questions throughout the day: the window of awareness and clarity about police murder of mainly Black and brown unarmed people is being closed. One after the other these murders are being settled as “justified,” with no prosecutions of police, while protesters across the country are facing charges, some very serious (friends in Chicago face felonies for basically not getting out of the street fast enough for police).
Media at a national level and some police officials label the Black Lives Matter movement a hate group and “terrorist.” Coming from the lips of police officials that is not just a (ridiculous) slur but a threat of even more serious charges.
In the face of all this, we need a national response that shows the world the magnitude of the problem, bringing together all these stories. The reality is that, after centuries of oppression, now this system doesn’t have jobs for Black people (in large terms, as a group), and is incarcerating and criminalizing Black people at unprecedented rates. A fascist social base is being whipped up to support murdering unarmed people in the streets, so which side are you on? This historical moment won’t last, you have to throw in with this effort now. The point is not to dismiss anyone’s existing agenda, but insisting that we ALL need to speak together about this right now.
An older white man came up while we were still setting up, hanging up the Stolen Lives banner, and told us that he had been badly beaten up by police twice after coming back from Vietnam. “You want to know why I’m still alive? Because I’m white. Ask me for $100 (to donate to the campaign).” Another older white man said he had been a cop for 2 years some time ago, “I had to quit. They were all just such assholes.”
A Vietnam era vet (who was white) asked, “What if the protest is mainly white people?” A World Can’t Wait member responded, “A, it won’t be, because there’s a whole lot of people in NYC who aren’t white who are really against police murder, but B, wouldn’t that be a powerful thing to see a large protest of mainly white people saying Black lives matter, stop the police terror?” He said he agreed completely.
On the way home, we continued our brainstorming about how to sharpen our message, reach out to old friends and new, and raise the urgently needed funds to mobilize a huge outpouring on October 24 in New York City.
World Can’t Wait welcomed people coming to the annual Chicago Air & Water Show on August 15 with a banner that set the record straight. This was a war show, glorifying high tech machinery that delivers death and destruction to innocent people in a growing list of countries. We were joined by friends from Voices for Creative Non-Violence and the Illinois Coalition Against Torture. A supporter donated a thousand copies of our updated flyers (available for downloading here) and most of them were distributed, while dozens of people took photos of our banners and thanked us for being there. Every year we’ve seen less and less overt support for the US’s endless war, and this was true again this year.
Only a few people argued that “something has to be done” about ISIS, whose crimes were on the front page that morning. Our flyer addresses it well: “Islamic State = BAD, US War for Empire = Even WORSE” and many people took it and put it in their pockets to read later. However, many more people seemed to be oblivious to the reality of what this country is doing around the world. We also confronted the dangerous illusion – once again – that we will be able to vote our way out of this slaughter by “supporting Bernie.” We pointed to our War Crimes Must Be Stopped banner with mugshots of Bush and Obama and asked “like voting for Obama?!” Next month, we will be at Fighting Bob Fest in Madison, WI, and we hope that friends will join us as we mark our tenth anniversary and bring to life our updated mission statement, putting humanity and the planet first.
Our next meeting will be Monday, September 14 – You’re Invited!
7 PM to 8:30 PM, at St. Gertrude’s, 6214 N. Glenwood, Chicago. Enter through the “Ministry Center” and ring the bell if the door is closed. That’s a few blocks west of the Granville stop on the Red line/easy parking. Everyone is welcome!
Join us for a discussion of “Guantanamo Diary”
Thursday, June 25
Noon to 1:30 PM
8th Day Center for Justice, 205 W. Monroe, Suite 500, Chicago
With the publication of this book, we are able to read for the first time a diary written by a man who is still held in Guantanamo. It has been called an “unprecedented international publishing event,” only possible after years of legal battles to gain its release from U.S. government censors. Beyond the record of unspeakable abuse and torment, it is also a very personal story of the author’s humanity, grace and even humor.
H. Candace Gorman will bring her experiences fighting for Guantanamo detainees into our discussion. She is the principal in the law office of H. Candace Gorman. The firm concentrates in civil rights and human rights. Since 2005, Candace has represented three Guantanamo detainees, one still remains at the Guantanamo prison. She also maintains a blog about Guantanamo litigation at gtmoblog.blogspot.com.
This event is part of the Lunch & Learn monthly series hosted by 8th Day Center for Justice and it is being held as part of honoring survivors of torture. June 26 is the International Day in Support of Survivors of Torture, established by the United Nations in 1998. June 26 is the date the U.N. Charter was signed in 1945. See below for details about the upcoming action in Chicago to mark this date.
Join us, whether you’ve had a chance to read the book in its entirety or not. If you have read the book, please consider sharing a passage with us that is particularly meaningful to you. We will also have a few copies available for purchase.
Sponsored by the Chicago Coalition to Shut Down Guantanamo, of which World Can’t Wait – Chicago is a founding member.
“Anyone who reads Guantanamo Diary – and every American with a shred of conscience should do so, now – will be ashamed and appalled. Mohamedou Ould Slahi’s demand for simple justice should be our call to action.”
Glenn Greenwald, Author of No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, The NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State
International Day of Support for Survivors of Torture
Friday, June 26 12pm to 2pm
Federal Plaza, Dearborn & Adams, Chicago
This year Amnesty International, World Can’t Wait Chicago, Illinois Coalition Against Torture, Chicago Coalition to Shut Down Guantanamo, and other organizations are coming together to celebrate victories in winning reparations for those who survived torture by Chicago PD under Jon Burge. But torture has not ended, in Chicago, around the country or around the world. Through the voices of survivors, we will draw the parallels and connections between torture that is practiced in U.S. prisons and exported to places like Guantanamo, Baghram Detention Center, and CIA black sites. We will demand accountability for local and federal officials directly involved in torture or authorizing it and we will demand an end to torture here and everywhere! Please join us for this powerful and urgent event.
We received this letter from a supporter of World Can’t Wait who lives in a well-to-do North Shore suburb near Zion, IL, where a young Black man, Justus Howell, was murdered by police earlier this year. On May 14, the local state’s attorney announced that, once again, no charges would be filed against his murderers. The writer joined the protest following the announcement and shared these thoughts with us (published with permission).
On Friday May 15 ,2015, in Waukegan, Illinois, I joined a group of people gathered for a rally/march protest for Justus Howell. Another young black man killed by a police officer. In Zion, Illinois on April 4, 2015. Recently, the Lake County States Attorney Mike Nerheim announced this as “justified”. Once again, controversy prevails. “Justice for Justus Howell” is the cry in the streets of the protest. “Due Process” is no longer a guarantee. Did that guarantee ever exist?
Since the events in Ferguson I have attended social action events focused on this question of Due Process voiced through “Black lives matter”, “I Can’t Breathe”, “No Justice, No Peace”. Since January 15, 2015 there have been over 27 murders by police. I attended a rally/march in Glencoe, Illinois in December, 2014, a rally/Strike call in Chicago on April 14, 2015 and a rally at the Homan Avenue “Black Site” in Chicago March 5, 2015.
But this event, for Justus Howell, is in my home area. A different level of emotional immediacy emerges. There is no distancing of this happening “somewhere else”, this isn’t about a social-civil-politically compromised area “somewhere else”. Failure is right here. Failure of society is here and now.
This insight collapses my emotional distancing. There is no “somewhere else” opposed to “here”. There is no Selma Past, Ferguson Now… It is All Now. There is no Palestine over there, Ukraine over there, Drones over there. it is all Here and Now. I need to “Be” in All This Here and Now.
May 19, 2015