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Young Chicago Authors and Free Write

The Reva and David Logan Foundation has been a major funder of two groups that work with vulnerable young people: Young Chicago Authors (YCA) and Free Write Arts and Literacy. Specifically, we funded YCA’s Louder Than a Bomb, a spectacular and much emulated spoken word competition, and Free Write’s seminal and important work in the Juvenile Detention Center, where they were both the first and only game in town. 

Over the last few weeks, a sordid and protracted account of abuse and neglect of the welfare of both their staff and young charges has unfolded in the press and on social media. The scandal has seen several founder executives leaving or being terminated. The two organizations have belatedly begun to redress the damage caused.

Sadly, the appalling absence of courage nor the will to take decisive action by the executive staffs and their boards has caused untold damage to the lives of many innocent teenagers. This failure cannot be forgiven, nor can it be forgotten. There has been much talk of restorative justice yet there was none offered to the victims until long after the fact. The healing process must also be in the hands of independent people who don’t carry historical baggage, and not those who participate to salve their own guilt. That would be privilege.

To begin with, all those who were in positions of trust and power and who were knowledgeable about the facts, who were complicit, need to absent themselves from any restorative or rectification process and they need to leave the field. Abject apologies do not excuse their inaction, and claims that there was no police involvement so that nothing could be done is both victim shaming and reprehensible. These were your, OUR, children and colleagues and you put them in harm’s way and kept them there.

Our Board’s and staff’s disappointment is nothing compared to our immense sadness for those who have suffered, and will continue to suffer. 

Our foundation will not continue to fund either organization. There has to be a real reckoning; one that finally clears the air of the past and puts into position a whole new regime for these non-profits that ensures the protection of the vulnerable. Until that happens and all those responsible for this poisoned culture have gone, these two groups are not fit to be funded. 

What is certain is that when one young person is hurt, all young people are hurt, and that turning a blind eye, blinds us all. 

 

~ The Board and Staff of The Reva & David Logan FoundationThe Reva and David Logan Foundation has an absolute commitment to the youth of Chicago and their families. We will work with our partners and seek the advice of the community to find ways to offset the harm caused, support the healing process and contribute to the provision of essential programming.

It is no surprise that we are faced with our current crises. The one that has killed 600K-plus* Americans in just a few months is largely the result of misdirection, bad management and wrongheaded leadership by our elected officials. The one that has killed countless black and brown people worldwide is the product of greed, self-regard, unilateralism, and pure long-cultured and sustained racism.

We believe that it will take courage, determination and great will to overcome our truly existential challenges. The destruction of our planet, redressing the imbalances between rich and poor, demonstrating respect for everyone regardless of race, creed, religion, nation, sexual orientation, or differing abilities are all issues we must urgently address in our heads, in our hearts and in our every action. There are no halfway solutions, no excuses. We need to remake ourselves and our society.

The Logan Foundation (family, board and staff) stand shoulder to shoulder with all those who are committed to change. Let this fraught time be a catalyst and an opportunity to share the best of our common humanity.

 

* The frequency that this number needs updating is truly appalling!

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June 19th, Chicago.

I met with John and Gabriel Shipton the other day in Chicago. The two, Julian Assange’s father and brother, are on the Midwestern leg of their “Homerun4Julian” Tour to raise awareness of and collect funds for Julian’s ongoing defence. The man himself is still tucked safely away in HMP Bellmarsh (high-security) Prison even though the UK legal system recently thwarted the US’s attempt at extradition. Of course we all realize releasing him on bail into the arms of his wife and young family would be a dangerous precedent. And despite the court’s concern about his mental and physical health, it would not be fair to loose him while the US Justice Department pursues a lengthy appeals process. The Brits clearly are determined to maintain their reputation for even-handedness - no wonder justice is portrayed as blind; she could hardly bear watching this spectacle of torture.

Still, we need to take a view… Given the constant complaints by American politicians about the press crackdowns around the world, it is hard to fathom how successive US governments have had the temerity to pursue an Australian journalist/publisher/whistleblower in a foreign country using the Espionage Act circa 1917. Chelsea Manning, the former US soldier who released the swarm of data-bees to WikiLeaks, is thankfully free for the time being. Isn’t it time for the US government to give up their pursuit of Julian Assange…for the sake of truth, justice and the American Way. I think our freedom depends on it.

The tour schedule is here :https://assangedefense.org/tour/. GET OUT AND SUPPORT THEM.

Richard Logan, President of the Board

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