WHAT: Survivors turned activists, La Tanya Jenifor-Sublett, Mohamedou Ould Slahi, and Mansoor Adayfi, will explore the connection between the state-supported violence Chicago police mete out, mostly to people of color, and the torture endured by those extralegally imprisoned at the US military base in Guantanamo, Cuba in the podcast launch of Remaking the Exceptional, a six-part series, supported by Illinois Humanities as part of its Envisioning Justice program. The online conversation honors International Torture Survivors Day with the release of the new six-episode podcast series, Remaking the Exceptional. Produced by Amber Ginsburg, Nate Sandberg and Aaron Hughes, the series explores the strong connection between policing and incarceration in Chicago and the human rights violations of the Global War on Terror, while also highlighting the struggle for justice and reparations.
WHO: Event speakers:
- La Tanya Jenifor-Sublett, is a mental health worker, social justice advocate, public speaker, community organizer and now Chicago Torture Justice Center’s peer reentry program director. She experienced abuse and torture at the hands of Chicago Police at the age of 19, and was sentenced to 42 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections for a crime she did not commit.
- Mohamedou Ould Slahi is a Mauritanian citizen who was imprisoned at the US military base at Guantánamo Bay without charge from 2002 until his release on October 17, 2016. Slahi wrote a memoir in 2005 while imprisoned which was published in 2017 as Guantanamo Diary (Little Brown). His story was the inspiration for the 2021 film The Mauritanian.
- Mansoor Adayfi was 19 when he was taken to Guantánamo Bay, where he spent more than 14 years detained without being charged with a crime. He now lives in Belgrade, Serbia, where he writes, creates artwork and advocates for prisoner and detainee rights. His memoir of his time at Guantánamo, Don’t Forget Us Here, was published in 2021 by Hachette Books.
WHEN/WHERE: Sunday, June 26 | 1:00 – 2:30 p.m. CDT
Remaking the Exceptional podcast launch
Free and open to the public. To register and to receive a link to the online event:
Remaking the Exceptional Online Event
WHY: Illinois Humanities’ Envisioning Justice program leverages the arts and humanities to explore the question, “What happens when you center the voices of those most directly affected by mass incarceration?” and to convene communities to ask, “How do you envision justice?”
Remaking the Exceptional, one of the works commissioned by Illinois Humanities, highlights the many direct connections between the Chicago Police Department and the brutal acts of torture committed at Guantánamo Bay. For example: Lt Richard Zuley (Chicago PD 1977-2007) and fellow CPD officers, under the oversight of Jon Burge, tortured at least 120 victims between the years of 1972-1991 to extract confessions from mostly Black, male suspects. As a US Navy Reserve Officer, he brought the same torture tactics to Guantanamo Bay, as documented in the Guardian.
Remaking the Exceptional first premiered as a commissioned work featured in Illinois Humanities’ Envisioning Justice RE:ACTION Exhibition in March 2022. Episodes 1 and 2 are available to listen to now. The full six-episode series will be available to the public at the June 26 release event. The series is affiliated with the Remaking the Exceptional exhibition at DePaul Art Museum and is part of the ongoing Tea Project, one of 14 online, humanities-based projects in the Envisioning Justice RE:ACTION online exhibition. This exhibition, which features artists and humanists from across the state who grapple with mass incarceration issues such as recidivism, extralegal torture, wrongful convictions, and reentry, addresses these topics using various media.
This program is presented by Illinois Humanities, in partnership with:
- The DePaul Art Museum
- The Invisible Institute
- Prison + Neighborhood Arts/Education Project
- The Medill School of Journalism
- Witness Against Torture
Illinois Humanities, the Illinois affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, is a statewide nonprofit organization that activates the humanities through free public programs, grants, and educational opportunities that foster reflection, spark conversation, build community, and strengthen civic engagement. We provide free, high-quality humanities experiences throughout Illinois, particularly for communities of color, individuals living on low incomes, counties and towns in rural areas, small arts and cultural organizations, and communities highly impacted by mass incarceration. Founded in 1974, Illinois Humanities is supported by state, federal, and private funds.
Envisioning Justice is an Illinois Humanities program that leverages the arts and humanities to envision alternatives to the enduring injustice of mass incarceration. This Illinois Humanities initiative works with communities and people impacted by mass incarceration to spark conversation and illuminate community-based strategies that address our racist and unjust criminal legal system.
Envisioning Justice RE:ACTION is funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Art for Justice Fund, a sponsored project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. Additional support comes from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Safety and Justice Challenge and the Polk Bros. Foundation. Learn more at envisioningjustice.org.