The University of Chicago Law School is hosting a groundbreaking two-day conference exploring themes of race, class, gender, police accountability and other issues emerging from the eight square blocks that once encompassed the Stateway Gardens public housing development on Chicago’s South Side.
The View From the Ground: Issues and Inquiries Arising from Eight Square Blocks of Chicago’s South Side is being held April 20-21, 2007 at the Law School, 1111 E. 60th St., Chicago. The idea for the conference stems from work done over the last six years at the Stateway Gardens public housing development in collaboration with the Law School’s Edwin F. Mandel Legal Aid Clinic and its Civil Rights and Police Accountability Project. This event is free and open to the public.
“We are engaging in a conversation about our nation’s most fundamental issues, but grounding the conversation in the reality of eight square blocks that used to be Stateway Gardens,” said Clinical Law Professor and Director of the Civil Rights and Police Accountability Project Craig Futterman. “The fundamental issues of race, class, gender, impunity and institutional denial are issues that scholars have taken on and dealt with previously on highly theoretical and abstract levels; this is grounded in reality.”
Futterman worked in conjunction with Chicago journalist Jamie Kalven to document resident reports of police abuse in the former high-rise public housing development, and has helped bring forth several federal civil lawsuits stemming from allegations of police abuse.
“We have emerged from this effort with questions about the interactions between law enforcement and development, between the ‘War on Drugs’ and the restructuring of the central city, between police practices and urban renaissance,” Kalven said.
Participants include award-winning authors Studs Terkel and Alex Kotlowitz; local radio personalities Cliff Kelley, Richard Steele and Steve Edwards; law professors Bernard Harcourt, Tracey Meares and Randolph Stone; and sociologists and political scientists like Sudhir Venkatesh, Danielle Allen and Carl Bell, among others.
This multimedia event will feature moderated panels framed by true-life video stories of residents from the former Stateway Gardens, which was a 33-acre development built in 1958 that originally consisted of eight high-rise buildings. The buildings were torn down as part of the Chicago Housing Authority’s “Plan for Transformation.”
Panels include “Police abuse as gender violence” and “A few bad apples?” dealing with the Chicago Police Department and its interactions with former residents.
For more information or to register please visit www.eightblocks.org.