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Aisha's May 2023 Remarks

May 15, 2023

Cabrini Green Legal Aid (CGLA) is continuing our year-long 50th Anniversary Celebration. We are unveiling our 50th Anniversary Logos, collaboratively created with the input of our staff, board members, and our 50th Anniversary Ad Hoc Planning Committee. The longer version of our 50th Anniversary Logo features the image of a bird that is a hybrid between the Akan Sankofa bird and the Phoenix.

The Sankofa bird symbolizes the Akan people’s quest for knowledge, implying that the quest is based on critical examination and intelligent and patient investigation. The Sankofa Bird is based on a mythical bird with its feet firmly planted forward with its head turned backward. To the Akan, this wisdom in learning from the past ensures a strong future. The Akans believe there must be movement and new learning as time passes. As this forward march proceeds, the knowledge of the past must never be forgotten.

A Phoenix is a mythical bird that likely originated in ancient Egypt or the Middle East. The Phoenix would be consumed by flames and reborn from the ashes cyclically. The Phoenix symbolizes evolution, re-birth, and re-branding. Though our roots are the same, our direction is more intentional, evidencing our resilience and steadfast determination. And so, we acknowledge that CGLA’s Mission, Vision, and Purpose have evolved along with our understanding of the importance of solidarity with the communities we serve.

Celebrating our Present. Resolving for a Brighter Future. Combining these two powerful symbols helps visualize the goals of CGLA’s 50th anniversary, a Jubilee in Three Parts: Reflecting on our Past.

We will have multiple activities this year. Our Toast for Justice, sponsored by our Associate’s board, will be held on June 1, 2023, at Bridge410 and will represent the kick-off of our external 50th activities.

In partnership with our founder, Chuck Hogren, and with the guidance of artist and curator Alexandria Eregbu, we are hosting an Art and Archive Exhibition at CGLA’s offices this summer. The exhibition will feature artists impacted by the criminal legal system and pieces that speak to the nature of their experiences. Through a thought-provoking and immersive experience, we hope to highlight the history of the criminal legal system that created the need for our organization in 1973 and how that still exists today. Since its founding, we will also lift the organization’s accomplishments in serving communities. We are excited to work with Alexandria Eregbu on this project, as she understands the power of using art and humanities to tell the story of the impact of criminalization on communities living in poverty and, predominately, communities of color.

To further honor and celebrate our history, we also plan to identify and acknowledge 50 Champions of CGLA: clients who courageously navigated the criminal legal system; staff and organizational leaders who helped drive the organization forward; community partners or supporters who helped us expand our work and reach; and volunteers, board members, and others, whose generosity and support was transformational for the organization. We will honor those champions at our annual fall gala, held on October 20, 2023, at the Radisson Blu. Please save the date and plan to join us.


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