Each year on the anniversary of the creation of the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center, many advocacy groups have actions to raise awareness and to advocate that Gitmo be closed. The Chicago Coalition to Shut Down Guantanamo, however, has been active every week for the the past several years, advocating the closing of the detention center.
The Chicago Coalition to Shut Down Guantanamo includes World Can’t Wait Chicago, Illinois Coalition Against Torture, Witness Against Torture Chicago, White Rose Catholic Worker, and Chicago Committee to Free the Cuban Five. Every Friday from 4:30 to 5:30 pm, the Chicago Coalition to Shut Down Guantanamo holds a vigil at Dearborn and Jackson to support the Guantanamo Hunger Strikers and to demand that Guantanamo be shut down.
Members of the coalition dress in orange jumpsuits and black hoods, while some talk with people on the street. On its Facebook page, The Coalition states, “As each day passes the more urgent the situation for the men still remaining becomes. The only way to ensure the health and safety of these men and end the Hunger Strike is that the 86 cleared for release be released and the rest be charged and given a fair trial. It is on us to keep the hunger strike and the humanity of these men in the public eye.”
This past month, the Coalition has had several notable events. On January 15, Andy Worthington was interviewed on Jerome McDonnell’s Worldview program about the current situation of detainees still held at Guantanamo and protests around the world on the 13th anniversary of the opening of that torture camp. Later that day, the Coalition held a powerful and creative action in front of the Art Institute that was followed by a march to the Federal Courthouse. After, the group marched to Grace Place to hear Andy Worthington, Candace Gorman and Debra Sweet speak about what it will take for the detainees still at Guantanamo Bay to get justice.
If you are in the Chicago area and want more information about what you can do to help get Guantanamo Bay shut down, contact the Chicago Coalition to Shut Down Guantanamo.