Past Event

How Free? Freedom vs. Security

***This event is by invitation only. Please RSVP by September 16, 2011.***

Most discussions about the tension between security and freedom center on a few basic themes. One is a classic dilemma: Is it necessary to accept limits on our personal freedoms in exchange for a greater sense of security?

There are also questions of utility: When the public calls for greater security, does the government offer effective solutions? Are the techniques put into place to protect our security doing the job? Finally, there are questions of legality: Do certain security measures violate our civil liberties?

These may seem to be common sense and responsible questions to explore, but there are also a number of deeper issues that rarely emerge in our public debate:

  • What is this abstraction that we call “freedom?”
  • What exactly do we mean by “security?”
  • On what fundamental premises do our notions of freedom and security rely?

“How Free? Freedom vs. Security” is the final event in the Illinois Humanities Council’s The (Un)Common Good series on civil discourse. It will feature a facilitated roundtable discussion among a select group of high-level experts, scholars, practitioners, media professionals and activists who are engaged in work related to safety, security and civil liberties issues, at the local, national, and international levels.

The program will be a unique and exciting opportunity for Chicago-areas leaders, thinkers and influencers to reflect on the underlying issues that are at the foundation of the work they do every day. The program will be moderated by Alison Cuddy, Host of the “Eight Forty-Eight” show on WBEZ 91.5FM.

The goal of this event is to examine both the key questions, as well as the deeper premises, behind the “security vs. freedom” debate from various fields and viewpoints.

Round Table Discussion Participants

  • Moderator: Alison Cuddy, Host of “848” on Chicago’s WBEZ 
  • Kelli Covi, Co-Director, Project on Civic Reflection
  • Stephen Engelmann, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Ricardo “Ric” Estrada, President and CEO, Metropolitan Family Services
  • Ralph Cintron, Associate Professor of Latin American and Latino Studies and English, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Mary Davis Fournier, Deputy Director, Public Programs Office, American Library Association
  • Mary Dean, Co-Coordinator, Voices for Creative Nonviolence
  • H. Candace Gorman, Civil and Human Rights Attorney, firm of H. Candace Gorman
  • Tio Hardiman, Director, Ceasefire Illinois
  • Patricia Hill, Executive Director, African American Police League
  • Cheryle Jackson, Vice President, Government Affairs and Corporate Development, AAR Corp
  • Alice Kim, Director, The Public Square
  • G. Sequane Lawrence, Adjunct Professor of Nonprofit Management, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago Community Trust Fellow 2011
  • Colleen Lawson, Member, Illinois State Rifle Association
  • Lori Meriweather, Second Amendment Sisters
  • Rami Nashashibi, Executive Director, Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN)
  • Veronda J. Pitchford, VP, Membership & Communications, Urban Libraries Council
  • Carrie Spitler, Executive Director, Neighborhood Writing Alliance
  • Kristina Valaitis, Executive Director, Illinois Humanities Council
  • Gerald Vernon, Chicago Representative of
  • Jeff Weissglass, Political Bridge-Building Consultant
  • Heather Wilhelm, Senior Fellow, Communications, Illinois Policy Institute 

This event is by invitation only. Please RSVP by September 16, 2011.
For more information or to request an invite, please contact Laura S. Washington at