Resources on Justice – Amber Ginsburg

Open Engagement has invited a group of contributors to make this year’s blog into a timely resource for organizing, moving forward and thinking creatively during particularly unjust times.

In light of our current reality and to align with this year’s conference theme of JUSTICE these blog posts will feature strategies, testimonies, literature, art and instructions as tools for working and living in the world as we know it.

The 2017 blog project, Resources on Justice, will grow over time, be published incrementally and will feature responses from a wide range of participants including activists, writers, thinkers, artists, teachers, arts professionals, community leaders, cultural workers, and more. It is an inclusive and accessible platform to think through the conference theme, introduce dialogues specific to the conference’s host city, as well as instigate ideas that can be applied beyond the context of this conference.

About the contributor: Together with collaborators, Amber Ginsburg creates site-generated projects and social sculpture that insert historical scenarios into present day situations. Her background in craft orients her projects towards the continuities and ruptures in material, social, and utopic histories. She teaches in the Department of Visual Arts at the University of Chicago. Amber shares with us her Top 5 Resources on Justice for the 2017 blog project.


 

  1. Chicago Torture Justice Memorials and the Jon Burge Reparations

The Chicago Torture Justice Memorials project, which helped facilitate and lead to the Burge Reparations for survivors of police torture is one of the most remarkable models of artists, activists, survivors and lawyers coming together and effectively advocating for accountability. Said best their own words ––

“Chicago Torture Justice Memorials (CTJM) aims to honor and to seek justice for the survivors of Chicago police torture, their family members and the African American communities affected by the torture. In 2010 CTJM, a group of attorneys, artists, educators, and social justice activists, put out a call for speculative memorials to recall and honor the 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. This effort culminated in a major exhibition of 75 proposals and a year-long series of associated teach-ins, roundtables, and other public events in 2011-2013.CTJM now turns its attention to a campaign for reparations for those affected by Chicago Police torture, and to working in solidarity with other groups and individuals for racial justice and to end police violence and mass incarceration.”

The Burge Reparations offers redress to individual survivors, their families, their communities, provides education on police torture in public schools and allows descendants of survivors education and training opportunities, as well as a public memorial. This multifaceted approach to reparations, in very real terms, recognizes the depth of loss perpetrated by torture and injustice.

Recommendation: Read the Burge Reparations

  1. Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN)

IMAN, a south-west Chicago organization offers health care services, dentistry, youth poetry slams (they are great!), art classes, green construction training for formerly incarcerated men, counseling and much much more. This small organization, deeply immersed in the community directly combats negative ideas spread through Islamophobia by their powerful social justice programming.

imancentral.org

  1. Chicago Community Bond Fund

“The Chicago Community Bond Fund (CCBF) pays bond for people charged with crimes in Cook County, Illinois. Through a revolving fund, CCBF supports individuals whose communities cannot afford to pay the bonds themselves and who have been impacted by structural violence. Inability to pay bond results in higher rates of conviction, longer sentences, loss of housing and jobs, separation of families, and lost custody of children. By paying bond, CCBF restores the presumption of innocence before trial and enables recipients to remain free while fighting their cases. CCBF also engages in public education about the role of bond in the criminal legal system and advocates for the abolition of money bond. CCBF is committed to long term relationship building and organizing with people most directly impacted by criminalization and policing.”

chicagobond.org

  1. Prison + Neighborhood Arts Project (PNAP)

“Prison + Neighborhood Arts Project is a visual arts and humanities project that connects teaching artists and scholars to men at Stateville Maximum Security Prison through classes, workshops and guest lectures. Classes offered include subjects ranging from poetry, visual arts, and film study to political theory, social studies, and history. Classes are held once a week, on a 14 week semester schedule. Each course results in finished projects—visual art, creative writing and critical essays—with specific audiences and neighborhoods in mind. These works are then exhibited and read in neighborhood galleries and cultural centers. Over the course of an academic semester, artists and scholars on the inside and outside address key questions:

What can we learn from each other?

Who are our audiences?

What materials and methods best relate our concerns?

What can we say from inside a maximum security prison?”

p-nap.org

  1. Jane Addams Hull House Museum

In terms of the theme of Justice, I would be remiss to not include Jane Addams, such an important thinker and model for lived/action-based ideas of change.

hullhousemuseum.org


Resources on Justice – Marisa Jahn

Open Engagement has invited a group of contributors to make this year’s blog into a timely resource for organizing, moving forward and thinking creatively during particularly unjust times.

In light of our current reality and to align with this year’s conference theme of JUSTICE these blog posts will feature strategies, testimonies, literature, art and instructions as tools for working and living in the world as we know it.

The 2017 blog project, Resources on Justice, will grow over time, be published incrementally and will feature responses from a wide range of participants including activists, writers, thinkers, artists, teachers, arts professionals, community leaders, cultural workers, and more. It is an inclusive and accessible platform to think through the conference theme, introduce dialogues specific to the conference’s host city, as well as instigate ideas that can be applied beyond the context of this conference.

About the contributor: Marisa Morán Jahn is an artist, activist, and founder of Studio REV-, a non-profit organization that produces public art + creative media with low-wage workers, immigrants, and youth. She teaches at MIT and The New School. Her current projects include CareForce (mobile studios: the CareForce One and NannyVan), Video Slink Uganda, Bibliobandido. Marisa shares with us her Top 5 Resources on Justice on the blog.


1. Cassils, Transliberation

Cassils is a transgender artist whose powerful works are particularly resonant right now. Here is a video Cassils created in response to the Pulse night club shooting. I recall watching this for the first time and crying from its power; the retrenchments of LGBTQA rights under the new administration invoke that same horror and shock. Here is a link to more of Cassils’ work. When showing their work to students I first show them the wikipedia definition of transhysteria which we discuss and address.

2. Immigration Resources

Women Step Forward is an easy-to-use website that offers step by step instructions to guide individuals with different immigration status towards trusted, verified resources. You can also find trusted, vetted lawyers (since a lot of immigrants face fraud in legal processes), advocacy pipelines, and options. The site and its resources were created after the election by We Belong Together, an initiative of the National Domestic Workers Alliance (an organization with whom I work closely) and the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (who support immigrant, women leaders).

3. Digital Inclusion

Stemming from a long-standing curiosity about the technologies of intimacy (extimacy) such as letter-writing, the Roman postal network, Ugandan bootleg industries, Afghan fighters composing love poems to their enemies via bluetooth, etc., I’ve been recently fascinated by the rhetoric of so-called “networked economy” whose de-territorialized metaphors (“the cloud”) belie an ecology of server farms relaying messages to select countries via underwater sea cables lain by 19th century colonial allies. How do these infrastructures reify hegemony or alternately, support digital inclusion? For example, in 2016, Facebook and the entrepreneur Elon Musk sent a satellite into space (which exploded), intending to “bring Facebook to Africa” — an undertaking that provokes a question about how corporate-owned proprietary networks produce a new form of reliance and dependency.

For more information about the politics of a digital economy on which most of us depend, I recommend Nicole Starosielski’s amazing book, The Undersea Network.

4. Grow the movement! Provide childcare at political gatherings!

Providing childcare at political gatherings (and ideally cultural gatherings as well) helps grow the movement. Let me unpack this a bit. Having a kid is expensive. National estimates say that the average cost of having a cost is about $13,000 and it gets even more expensive in urban areas. So paying for a babysitter isn’t always an option for people — especially artists, activists, lower-income folks, and those from frontline groups. Without organized childcare at events, we thus exclude many from participating and end up with insular conversations. When we do include childcare, those kids develop life-long friendships with their peers within the movement and the arts community. Plus, older, more experienced activists who have kids are able to participate and share knowledge; they are also reinvigorated by younger artists — so this is a two-way street.

Organizing cooperative childcare can be low-cost or free. I remember going to punk disco dance parties in Canada where they provided childcare. And many immigrant groups and most domestic worker groups offer childcare at meetings. They simply asked those from their community to volunteer. If you do want to turn to domestic worker and childcare coops for support, here are two:

  • Beyond Care (Brooklyn) is a child care services cooperative created and run by professional nannies.
  • ChiChiCo (Chicago) is a group of volunteers who support the participation of parents, especially mothers, in racial and economic justice work. The collective matches volunteers with community organizations across the city to have fun with kids while their parents participate in and lead organizing efforts to defend their rights and build a better Chicago.

5. Screenprints from the series Solutions for the CareForce

Title: Mamas Wanna Dance (from the series, Solutions for the CareForce)

Authorship: Marisa Morán Jahn (Studio REV-)

Date: 2017

Medium: Silkscreen (1 of 10)

Dimensions: 19” x 25”

Photo Credit: Taehee Whang, 2017

Special Thanks: Taehee Whang



Title: Grow the Movement (from the series, Solutions for the CareForce)

Authorship: Marisa Morán Jahn (Studio REV-)

Date: 2017

Medium: Silkscreen (1 of 10)

Dimensions: 19” x 25”

Photo Credit: Taehee Whang, 2017

Special Thanks: Taehee Whang



Title: Increase America’s Pre-Tax Care Allowance (from the series, Solutions for the CareForce)

Authorship: Marisa Morán Jahn (Studio REV-)

Date: 2017

Medium: Silkscreen (1 of 7)

Dimensions: 19” x 25”

Photo Credit: Taehee Whang, 2017

Special Thanks: Taehee Whang



Title: Support America’s Elderboom (from the series, Solutions for the CareForce)

Authorship: Marisa Morán Jahn (Studio REV-)

Date: 2017

Medium: Silkscreen (1 of 10)

Dimensions: 19” x 25”

Photo Credit: Taehee Whang, 2017

Special Thanks: Taehee Whang

Title: Caregiver Credits (from the series, Solutions for the CareForce)

Authorship: Marisa Morán Jahn (Studio REV-)

Date: 2017

Medium: Silkscreen (1 of 7)

Dimensions: 19” x 25”

Photo Credit: Taehee Whang, 2017

Special Thanks: Taehee Whang