Social Justice, the Arts and Investigative Journalism
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.
Richard Logan, President of the Board
* The frequency that this number needs updating is truly appalling!