Injustice anywhere still drives King admirers


With Martin Luther King Jr.’s maxim—“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”—in mind, four Chicago professors addressed King’s unfinished dream. “We don’t want to think about justice just in one week,” said Susan Gzesh, AB'72, director of the University’s human-rights program, at Tuesday night's Graduate School of Business talk—one event in the weeklong campus commemmoration of King. Rather, Gzesh and the other panelists—law professor Craig Futterman, historian Richard Hellie, and political scientist Cathy Cohen—crossed disciplines to explore the work that remains to achieve King’s dream.

Futterman discussed his recent research on police brutality in Chicago, noting that “injustice isn’t just anywhere." He has found that Chicago police are more likely to violate the rights of those living in underprivileged communities than elsewhere. Futterman concluded by using King's words to call on the “good people” to end their "appalling silence" and stand up to “apartheid justice in the 21st century.”

Gzesh spoke of the problems facing America’s Mexican immigrants. In the United States, she said, Mexican immigrants suffer increasing hate crimes and racism. Though Mexicans are 25 percent of Chicago’s population, many are only allowed to vote in school-board elections. Nationwide, meanwhile, "Deporting 13 million immigrants," Gzesh argued, "is not an option.” She urged that they be given access to full legal citizenship.

This week's other Martin Luther King events include a Wednesday showing of the film Something the Lord Made at the Biological Sciences Learning Center, an address by civil-rights advocate Angela Davis Thursday at Rockefeller Chapel, and the Roots and Rhymes music and dance festival Friday at Hutchinson Commons.

Ethan Frenchman, '08

Photo: Gzesh discusses America's Mexican immigrants while professors (left to right) Hellie, Cohen, Futterman, and moderator Charles Wheelan, PhD'98, listen.

January 23, 2008