Press Release


Join The Public Square and WBEZ 91.5FM to discuss the
issues raised by the Burge torture scandal

CHICAGO –Join The Public Square, a program of the Illinois Humanities Council, WBEZ 91.5FM and investigative reporter John Conroy for a special Café Society discussion examining the Burge trial and police torture. Conroy wrote exclusively on the Burge trial for the WBEZ blog and has been following these events since breaking the “House of Screams” story on police torture two decades ago. This event will take place on Tuesday, August 24 from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. at WBEZ’s Community Room on Navy Pier (848 E. Grand Ave., Chicago).

This event is free and open to the public. Reservations are required and can be made at,, or 312.422.5580. Space is limited.  It is presented by The Public Square and WBEZ 91.5FM.

More about John Conroy

John Conroy is the author of two books, Unspeakable Acts, Ordinary People: The Dynamics of Torture and Belfast Diary: War as a Way of Life. His writing has been published in many newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times, the Boston Globe, Mother Jones, Granta, the Village Voice, and the Chicago Reader. He has also reported on criminal justice and other topics for WBEZ.

Unspeakable Acts, Ordinary People attempts to explain how an ordinary person becomes a torturer, what happens to torture victims, and how societies justify torture when it appears. The book was one of five finalists for the prestigious Helen Bernstein Award, given by the New York Public Library for excellence in journalism. The New York Times praised the book’s “inspired reporting;” the Chicago Tribune found the book “gripping…audacious…troubling,” and Newsday’s critic wrote that it was “passionate…intelligent …insightful.”

Conroy is also a recipient of the Studs Terkel Award for his “longstanding excellence in reporting about Chicago’s diverse communities,”  the Chicago Association of Black Journalists Award, the John Bartlow Martin Award for Public Interest Magazine Journalism, and the Peter Lisagor Award for Exemplary Journalism.

About Café Society

This event is part of The Public Square’s Café Society program, which fosters a more robust civil society, more cohesive and interactive communities, greater media literacy, and a more informed and engaged citizenry through weekly conversations about contemporary social issues.

Café Society locations:


1st Thursdays

7-8 p.m., Valois, 1518 E. 53rd St., Chicago

7:30-8:30 p.m., Panera Bread, 1126 E. Walnut St., Carbondale

2nd Fridays

5-6 p.m., Ron’s Barber Shop, 6058 W. North Ave., Chicago


3rd Wednesdays

1:00-2:00 p.m., Chicago Cultural Center’s Randolph Street Café, 77 E. Randolph St., Chicago


4th Mondays

Roving Café Society – Date, Time, and Location to be announced


For those who cannot make these weekly discussions, they can create their own Café Societies using the DIY Café Society Toolkit. For more information on Café Society or to download the DIY toolkit, visit

About The Public Square

The Public Square, a program of the Illinois Humanities Council, fosters debate, dialogue, and exchange of ideas about cultural, social, and political issues with an emphasis on social justice. Programs promote participatory democracy by creating space for public conversations. More information about The Public Square is available at

 The Illinois Humanities Council (IHC) is a nonprofit educational organization [501 (c) 3] dedicated to fostering a culture in which the humanities are a vital part of the lives of individuals and communities.  Organized in 1973 as the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the IHC creates programs and funds organizations that promote greater understanding of, appreciation for, and involvement in the humanities by all Illinoisans, regardless of their economic resources, cultural background, or geographic location. The IHC is supported by state, federal, and private funds.


D A R E  T O  K N O W

# # #