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Chicago Women in Black Demand Government "Name the Names"

Friday 2/22: Chicago Women in Black Protest Attacks on Civil Liberties. They demand the government "Name the Names" and "No More Disappeared in the U.S. A letter is delivered to U.S. Attorney, Patrick Fitzgerald condemning the treatment of Rabih Haddad as well as the hundred of other unknown detainees.
On Friday, February 22, Chicago Women in Black demanded "Name the Names" and "No more disappeared in the U.S. in front of the Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS) offices in Chicago. Chicago Women in Black called this their initial action to point out that the U.S. government has "disappeared" hundreds of People - mostly from Arab and Muslim countries - since September 11. These "disappeared have been held without charges, without allowing them access to their attorneys and without even releasing their names. Chicago Women in Black chose the INS at noon in Chicago's busy downtown to get their message out about the detainees to as many people as possible. Hundreds of flyers were distributed and signatures were collected on a letter to U.S. Attorney, Patrick Fitzgerald condemning the treatment of Rabih Haddad. The protest was very visual with banners and placards, including life-size color photos of Haddad and his wife Salma Al-Rashaid.

Rabih Haddad is the name of one of the detainees that is known. Haddad has been imprisoned without criminal charges, in solitary confinement, since December 14. Haddad was moved from Ann Arbor, Michigan to the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago on January 17. His wife Salma Al-Rashaid and three of their four young children are facing deportation because she has had the audacity to speak out against the government's refusal to grant Haddad even the most basic human rights. Salma and all four of her children participated in Friday's protest. The youngest child broke into a huge smile when he saw the placard with his father's photo. Haddad's children have not seen him since he was moved to the MCC.

Speakers at the protest included women from Not in My Name, Latinos United, Centro Sin Fronteras and Evanston Neighbors for Peace. Kate Peterson from Refuse and Resist read a list of 47 names that have been collected of known detainees. The group then marched around the corner to the Federal Court Building, which houses the U.S. Attorney's office. After a send off by the Radical Cheerleaders a groups of three women (Sister Dorothy Pagosa of the 8th Day Center for Justice, Margaret Nagle from Evanston Neighbors for Peace and Beth Massey from the International Action Center) delivered the letter protesting the treatment of Haddad as well as the hundreds of other unknown detainees.

Women from the Chicago Coalition Against War and Racism formed Chicago Women in Black in order to encourage other women in Chicago to protest the government's attack on Civil Liberties. Aware that women are often on the receiving end of violence in both peace and war it was hoped that the issue resonate with women in Chicago. The spirit of two forceful and fearless women's groups - the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo and Women in Black inspired this newly formed group. The first Women in Black group was created in 1988 to oppose Israel's brutal occupation of Palestinian lands and spread around the world. The Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo - the mothers of the disappeared- have fought for more than a quarter of a century to hold the Argentinean dictatorship responsible for the disappearance, torture and murder of tens of thousands of their children.

Chicago Women in Black plans to hold ongoing protest around the issue of detainees. Their next action will be to participate in the upcoming March 8, International Women's Day march in Chicago as a contingent.



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