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The Whole World is Still Watching
August 28, 2018 @ 9:00 am - 12:00 pm CDTFree with RSVP
Social Protest 50 Years after the 1968 Democratic National Convention
On the night of August 28, 1968, thousands of young, primarily white, activists headed for the Democratic National Convention in downtown Chicago, intent on protesting the Vietnam War. Mayor Richard J. Daley dispatched an army of police officers and called upon the National Guard and U.S. Secret Service. Activists appealing for peace were greeted by nightsticks and tear gas, as were reporters and Eugene McCarthy convention delegates, as they tried to exercise their First Amendment rights. The debacle was televised and triggered outrage around the nation. The protestors chanted: “The Whole World is Watching.”
Fifty years later, the world is still watching. In the age of Black Lives Matter, Me-Too, Time’s Up and Families Belong Together, that iconic moment offers lessons and raises questions about war and peace; state-sanctioned violence; and police brutality. Who has the right to protest? Who decides? What is the role of social protest in the 21st Century? How have militarization, surveillance and technology changed protest?
On August 28, 2018, exactly 50 years later, UIC’s Great Cities Institute will host a provocative and urgent program exploring why “The Whole World is Still Watching.” Participants include organizers of the 1968 protests who will bring personal accounts, including reflections on the period leading up to that day. These and other panelists will discuss the personal and historical significance of these events. Key to the discussions are questions about the role of social protest in a civil society.
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Don Rose is a political consultant heading Don Rose Communications and The Urban Political Group, and writes a weekly online column for the Chicago Daily Observer (CDOBS.com). The column won the Chicago Journalists Association award for commentary four times in the past six years. Based in Chicago, his consulting firms have operated in 13 states. Clientele has included Supreme Court justices, U.S. senators, governors, mayors and state and municipal legislators. Long active in the peace and civil rights movements he served as Dr. Martin Luther King’s Chicago press secretary during the civil rights leader’s campaign here and in 1968 was an organizer and press spokesman for the National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam, which was the principal organizing group for the convention demonstrations.
Mike Klonsky is a retired educator, author of several books on education reform and the co-founder and former director of the Small Schools Workshop. A national anti-war and civil rights activist in the ‘60s, he was the national secretary of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) in 1968. SDS was the largest militant student group in the country at that time and played an active role in organizing the protests at the Democratic Convention in Chicago. He was targeted for attack by the Justice Department under the government’s Operation COINTELPRO and arrested in a raid on the SDS office in 1969. He has stayed active in labor, civil rights, anti-war organizing since then. He’s now the co-host of Hitting Left radio show on WLPN FM in Chicago and blogs at Schooling in the Ownership and Mike Klonsky’s SmallTalk Blog. Mike received his Ph.D. in education from the University of Illinois at Chicago
Marilyn Katz is a writer, political and public policy strategist and activist who combined those skills in 1983, at the conclusion of Harold Washington’s successful run for mayor to create MK Communications, the firm of which she is president. Moved by actions of the civil rights activists in the south, as an undergraduate at Northwestern, she first joined SDS *Students for a Democratic Society) and very quickly went to uptown Chicago to organize for JOIN Community Union – an off-campus project of SDS. BY 1968 she was deeply embroiled in organizing high school students across the city, to oppose the war and racism and expand student and women’s rights. IT was this activity that led her to be a key organizer for the April 68 Chicago demonstrations against the war and to be a leader and deputy head of security for the demonstrators during the events of August 1968, Ms. Katz has been continuously active politically since that time, organizing the 2002 rally in Chicago at which Obama made his fateful anti-war speech and most recently being a founder of Chicago Women Take Action – a multi-racial, multi-generational organization striving for equity and equality for all women and their families.
José “Cha-Cha” Jiménez was the founder of the Young Lords as a national human rights organization. It was founded in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago on September 23, 1968. Cha-Cha was born in Caguas, Puerto Rico on August 8, 1948. He helped the Young Lords transform from a street gang into the Young Lords Organization and a component of the original Rainbow Coalition. YLO emerged onto the national political scene after they staged a series of grassroots actions on behalf of the poor people of Lincoln Park. They disrupted Lincoln Park Conservation Association meetings in Lincoln Park, confronted the real-estate brokers and landlords, created the Peoples Church and the Peoples Park, and forced the McCormick Theological Seminary to provide resources for the community. The Young Lords held the first large demonstrations in Chicago for Puerto Rican self-determination. Cha-Cha ran for alderman of the 46th Ward and garnered 39% of the vote, becoming the first Hispanic to run and oppose the Cook County Democratic political machine of Richard J. Daley.
Billy “Che” Brooks was Deputy Minister of Education of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense (BPP) and the former director of YouthLAB@1521 through the Better Boys Foundation, retiring in 2015. In 1968, Che worked closely with BPP Chairman Fred Hampton who was the main spokesman of the Black Panther Party in Illinois. As one of the primary leaders of the BPP, Mr. Brooks was under constant, daily harassment by the Chicago Red Squad and Gang Intelligence Unit. He also worked closely with the Young Lords through the Rainbow Coalition. Currently, Brooks is facilitating a living history project at the Oak Park Library and is working with former BPP Party members to commemorate the fifty year inception of the founding of the Illinois Chapter of the Black Panther Party.
Mary Scott-Boria is a lifelong resident of Chicago, arriving to Chicago at 15 where she was immediately immersed in the Chicago Freedom Movement as a young activist. Immediately upon graduating from high school she joined the Black Panther Party where her activities led her to working with the Puerto Rican Socialist Party. Mary has over 50 years of experience and knowledge of Chicago’s communities, having worked as a professional social worker and human services administrator in several not for profit organizations. Her work and interests have been in women and youth issues and in community organizing and politics. She served as the first executive director of the Chicago Sexual Assault Services Network, director of Youth Services Project (YSP), a executive committee member of the Cook County Democratic Women, and most recently as director of the Urban Studies Program of the Associated Colleges of the Midwest. Mary holds a master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her leadership in the Anti-Racism Institute of Clergy and Laity Concerned led her to seminary where she completed her Master of Divinity degree from the McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago. She served on the training team of the Christian Peacemakers Teams and was most recently active with the Mikva Challenge Foundation and CLAIM (Chicago Legal Advocacy for Incarcerated Mothers).
Jesus “Chuy” Garcia is the outgoing District 7 representative on the Cook County Board of Commissioners in Illinois. He has long been involved in the politics of Chicago, serving as Alderman of the 22nd Ward on the Chicago City Council from 1986 to 1992 and District 1 representative in the Illinois State Senate from 1993 to 1999. Commissioner Garcia is a 2018 Democratic candidate seeking election to the U.S. House to represent the 4th Congressional District of Illinois. Garcia earned a B.S. in political science and a Master’s Degree in urban planning and policy from the University of Illinois at Chicago. His experience includes work as the founding executive director of the community development organization Enlace Chicago and service as the founding chair of the board for Latino Policy forum and as a member of the boards of Woods Fund Chicago and The Center on Leadership Innovation.