Last night we went out to Lacuna Lofts for the Write 4 Rights event. The event was put together by Donda’s House, Amnesty International, & Hadiya’s Promise. It was a great, positive event.
There were a lot of great things going on at the event. The night was organized by Amnesty International, led by Marvin Bing and Steven Hawkins, Hadiya’s Promise, led by Angela Rudolph and, of course, Donda’s House led by Che “Rhymefest” and Donny Smith. The primary focus of the night was the Write For Rights write-a-thon through Amnesty International. People all over the world write letters to help combat different injustices. At the event people wrote letters to President Obama and Mayor Rahm Emanuel asking that they help in the work to curb gun violence and gain justice for people who have been wrongfully imprisoned and tortured.
The night began with a live Google Hangout with all of those in attendance at the event and people all the way in the Netherlands who were participating in a 24 hour Write 4 Rights marathon. They spoke about the issues they faced, many of which are very similar to ours. They even wrote letters for Americans like Chelsea Manning, who is in jail for espionage for releasing information through Wikileaks. It was incredible to see so many people on the other side of the world getting together to make a difference just like we were.
Darrell Cannon spoke after this and told his story. Darrell Cannon spent 24 years in prison for a murder he did not commit. During that time he was tortured in such ways as being hung from his hand cuffs, having 2 of his teeth knocked out, being burned with a cattle prod and other such horrors. He was eventually released, but continues to fight for justice. He is just one of the victims of former commander Jon Burge, who tortured over 100 people from 1972-1991. Amnesty International has gotten behind Darrell Cannon who refuses to be quiet and bought off. The second subject of the letters was Hadiya Pendleton, who Hadiya’s Promise was founded for, & the call for the passage of the Youth P.R.O.M.I.S.E. Act which would implement background checks and funding to research gun violence prevention & firearm safety.
Amnesty International’s Steven Hawkins also spoke and encouraged everyone to bring civil rights home. After this speech, free dinner was served. The food was provided by Judy’s Grill, a great restaurant located on Chicago’s South side inside of the Walmart at 8331 South Stewart Ave.
Following dinner people went around to the different stations to write letters, create art, and write poetry. There was even a studio available to record music. There were also performances by a few poets such as Lemon Andersen and J. Ivy, as well as rappers from Donda’s House’s program. At the end of the evening there was a cypher of a talented group of MCs and Che “Rhymefest”, which ended with a dance performance by D Low. There was also a performance of the song Powered by Love.
It was a great event with a lot of great people. Shout out to everyone who came out and wrote letters. If you were not able to come out, you can still write letters. Go to amnestyusa.org/writeforrights for more information. Amnesty International will also be marching from the Chicago Police Headquarters to City Hall on Tuesday at noon. The march will be a memorial for victims and survivors of Chicago police torture, abuse, violence and murder. They will be delivering letters to Mayor Rahm Emanuel asking him to support reparations for police torture survivors. Go out to City Hall at 2pm and support! For upcoming events through Donda’s House follow them on instagram @dondashouse. Get up to date with Hadiya’s Promise at hadiyaspromise.org.
Thank you Amnesty International, Donda’s House, all of the staff, Lacuna Lofts, and especially Donny Smith and Rhymefest for all you have done and continue to do. We will continue to support what you great people are doing.
Below are a few images from last night: