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The inSecurity Blanket Podcasts

After every performance of thinkTank, we are pleased to present a 30 minute post-show discussion led by various members of the Chicago community. This opportunity to continue the discussion is a vital part of the thinkTank experience.


March 6, 2008: Harvey Grossman

Mr. Grossman has been the Legal Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois since 1980. In that capacity, he served as legal counsel in a broad spectrum of civil liberties and civil rights litigation. In the areas of national security and political surveillance, Mr. Grossman served as ACLU’s lead counsel in enforcing federal court settlements in ACLU v. F.B.I. and ACLU v. City of Chicago. These landmark court decrees provide judicial oversight for the F.B.I. and local law enforcement when investigating First Amendment protected activities of individuals and groups within the City of Chicago. Enforcement proceedings initiated by the ACLU in 1994 forced the F.B.I. to expunge files on leading Arab-Americans in Chicago. In the post 9/11 period, Mr. Grossman has been involved in numerous national security cases including the successful representation of a Muslim woman who was subjected to a strip search at O'Hare Airport because she was wearing a hijab, and a pending case, Khorrami v. F.B.I., challenging the three month summary detention of an alien of Iranian descent taken into federal custody immediately following September 11th. Mr. Grossman serves as lead counsel in Rahman v. Chertoff, representing U.S. citizens wrongly detained upon returning to the U.S.

March 7, 2008: Geoffrey R. Stone

Geoffrey R. Stone is the Edward H. Levi Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago. A member of the law faculty since 1973, Mr. Stone served as dean of the Law School (1987-1994) and Provost of the University of Chicago (1994-2002). Mr. Stone has been an editor of the Supreme Court Review since 1991, and is the author or co-author of many books on constitutional law, including most recently Top Secret: When Our Government Keeps Us in the Dark (2007), War and Liberty: An American Dilemma (2007), and Perilous Times: Free Speech in Wartime (2004), which received the 2005 Robert F. Kennedy Book Award, and the 2004 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for best book in the field of history. Mr. Stone’s next major book, Sexing the Constitution, will explore the history of sex from ancient Greece to contemporary constitutional law. Mr. Stone is a member of the national advisory council of the American Civil Liberties Union, the national board of the American Constitution Society, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a member of the American Law Institute, and chair of the board of the Chicago Children’s Choir.

March 15, 2008: Luis Gutierrez

Mr. Gutierrez funded Latinos Progresando in 1998. Based in Pilsen and Little Village, Latinos Progresando serves immigrants through legal services, community education and engagement, and organizing and advocacy around just immigration policy. An in-demand speaker and strong community voice, Luis chairs the Immigration Committee of Latinos United and is on the Illinois Coordinating Committee for the National Alliance of Latin American and Caribbean Communities, a national Latino- and Caribbean-led umbrella advocacy organization. As a member of the board of directors of Game Time Inc. and the associate board of the Daniel Murphy Scholarship Foundation, Luis is a strong advocate for minority youth. Through work with these organizations and service as a mentor to numerous students, Luis brought a youth voice into conversations about Latinos Progresando's role in the community, which now includes initiatives focused on immigrant educational attainment and college matriculation. Luis is one of the 2007 recipients of the Community Renewal Society's prestigious 35 Under 35 Leadership Awards. In 2005, Luis received a certificate of appreciation from the City of Chicago; he has also been nominated for a Changing Worlds Immigrant & Refugee Contributions Award.

March 20, 2008: Reem Rahman

Ms. Rahman is the Communications Coordinator at CAIR-Chicago. She graduated with honors from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with an interdisciplinary Bachelor's degree in Cognitive Neuroscience. Her scholarship and work is committed to the power of ideas and ideals to transform society. Reem was one of the founding members of CAIR at the University of Illinois, the first university based chapter in the nation. She served as the executive director, coordinating media and civil rights activism, community service, interfaith dialogue, and leadership development. Reem has been selected as a Young People for the American Way Fellow and a Drum Major Institute for Public Policy Scholar.

Additional Speakers

March 8, 2008: Bob Clarke

Bob Clark currently serves as the president of the Chicago Committee to Defend the Bill of Rights and Chairman of the Coalition to Ground Boeing Torture Flights. Mr. Clarke received his Ph.D. in political science from Princeton University and has had a career teaching political science, and later also anthropology, at Kansas State University, Cornell College, Chicago City Colleges, University of Maryland and University of Illinois/Chicago. His publications span a variety of disciplines, including globalization, cultural relativism, evolution, African film, and French politics.  Mr. Clarke will also be speaking on March 14.

March 9, 2008: Adriana Cardona

Adriana Cardona, an immigrant from Colombia, came to the United States when she was 17 years old and lived in Dubuque, Iowa. In Dubuque, she went to Loras College to start her career in International Studies. Later, she moved to Des Moines where she focused on providing direct services to undocumented immigrants, advocating around workers rights issues, and supporting advocacy campaigns centered on immigration reform. In 2005 Adriana moved to Chicago and joined the Illinois Hunger Coalition in their efforts to reach out to the Latino Immigrant communities of Lake County, West Chicago, Kankakee and Back of the Yards. During her time with the Coalition, Adriana helped to empower immigrants through voter education, advocacy, and developing strategies to gain the support of politicians on immigrant’s issues.  Currently Adriana is the internship coordinator at Big Picture High School a mainly Latino immigrant school located in Back of the Yards (south side). She also volunteers for Latinos Progresando, a non-profit organization dedicated to serving immigrants through high quality, low-cost legal immigration services, community education and engagement, and advocacy/organizing around policy that affects immigrants. Adriana is also part of Teatro Americano, Latinos Progresando’s theater group, helping develop works around issues affecting immigrants.

March 13, 2008: Sumbal Mahmud

Sumbal Mahmud is the Executive Director of the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago.  Ms. Mahmud has experience at the United Nations, the Public Defenders office, the Minnesota Senate, as judicial extern to Judge Susan Richard Nelson, and as an Associate at a Minneapolis-based law firm. In 2002, Ms. Mahmud studied international law while living in the Netherlands. Ms. Mahmud received her B.A. with honors from Hamline University in 2000 and her J.D. in 2003 from the University of Minnesota Law School. Ms. Mahmud is originally from Lahore, Pakistan.

March 14, 2008: Adam Samaha and Bob Clarke

Mr. Samaha is an associate professor at the University of Chicago Law School. He specializes in constitutional law and theory, including issues related to institutional design and information policy. Links to his scholarship are available here. Before coming to Chicago in 2004, Professor Samaha taught at the University of Minnesota Law School, practiced law with Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi, and clerked for Justice John Paul Stevens at the U.S. Supreme Court.  Bob Clarke currently serves as the president of the Chicago Committee to Defend the Bill of Rights and Chairman of the Coalition to Ground Boeing Torture Flights. Mr. Clarke received his Ph.D. in political science from Princeton University and has had a career teaching political science, and later also anthropology, at Kansas State University, Cornell College, Chicago City Colleges, University of Maryland and University of Illinois/Chicago. His publications span a variety of disciplines, including globalization, cultural relativism, evolution, African film, and French politics.

March 16, 2008: Jay Luthra

Mr. Luthra currently serves as the Executive Director of the Indo-American Center, a not-for-profit community service organization serving the South Asian immigrant population. Previously, he has worked with several Chicago area non-profits through the Executive Service Corps, tackling such important issues as Strategic Planning, Fund Development, and Board Development. In this capacity, he has helped Community Health Centers, an organization providing After School programs, an organization dedicated to Women's Self-Employment, a CPS High School, and others.

March 21: Aparna Sharma and Rabya Khan

Ms. Sharma received her Ph.D in Applied Social Psychology at Loyola University Chicago. Aparna currently works at the Center for Urban Research and Learning (CURL) at Loyola University Chicago. At CURL, Aparna works with community-based organizations in the Chicago area on how to build their capacity to conduct their own research and evaluation and document program impact. In addition to working at CURL, Aparna is on the board of Women and Girl's Collective Action Network (WGCAN) and a core member of South Asian Progressive Action Collective (SAPAC), which works with young South Asians in Chicago on issues impacting South Asian diasporic communities. The South Asian Progressive Action Collective (SAPAC) is a group that increases a South Asian voice for justice and equality. For more information on SAPAC, please visit Ms. Khan graduated from DePaul Law School in 2005. Prior to law school, Rabya worked as a Legal Advocate at Apna Ghar, a domestic violence agency. After law school, Rabya has worked on projects relating to criminal defense and immigrant rights.

March 22, 2008: Brent Mesick

Mr. Mesick is a leading member of the Chicagoland Coalition for Civil Liberties and Rights (CCCLR), an organization that successfully campaigned the Chicago City Council to pass a resolution opposing the USA PATRIOT Act and related Executive Orders. Brent has been active in civil liberty issues ranging from support for fair courts to opposition against legislation such as the PATRIOT Act and the 2006 Military Commissions Act. He is a frequent panelist and speaker and has appeared on a variety of radio programs.

March 23, 2008: Maricela Garcia

Ms. Garcia is internationally recognized as an expert on immigration policy. She holds an MSW from the University of Illinois and studied at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Currently the executive director of Latinos United and the former executive director of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, Maricela has served on various boards and councils including: National Immigration Forum, National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, National Coalition of Guatemalan organizations, Northwestern University Human Rights Center, City Council on Immigrants and Refugees, and the City of Chicago Citizenship Council. Maricela came to the U.S. in the early 1980’s as a result of the war in Guatemala and co-founded Casa Guatemala, to assist the Guatemalan refugee community, and later, Women for Guatemala. Ms. Garcia has received several awards and fellowships for her long-standing commitment to social justice, including: National Hispana Leadership Institute, fellowship; Leadership Greater Chicago, fellowship; Latinos of the South West, Outstanding Leadership Award; Casa Guatemala, Human Rights Award; and the Bannerman Fellowship. In 2001, she was nominated by Chicago Women Magazine as one of the 100 most prominent leaders making a difference in the life of Chicagoans. She has published several articles on Globalization and Migration and writes a weekly column on Immigration Policy for Hoy.

March 27, 2008: Oscar A. Chacon

Mr. Chacon serves currently as Executive Director of the National Alliance of Latin American & Caribbean Communities (NALACC).  Until December 2006, he served as director of Enlaces América, a project of the Chicago-based Heartland Alliance for Human Needs and Human Rights. He has previously served as executive director of Centro Presente, Inc, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and as president of the Salvadoran American National Network (SANN). Mr. Chacon is a frequent lecturer in national and international conferences, as well as a media spokesperson on Latino immigrant issues in the U.S.

March 28: Andrew Koppelman

Mr. Koppelman is John Paul Stevens Professor of Law and Professor of Political Science at Northwestern University. He is the author of Same Sex, Different States: When Same-Sex Marriages Cross State Lines (Yale University Press, 2006), The Gay Rights Question in Contemporary American Law (University of Chicago Press, 2002), Antidiscrimination Law and Social Equality (Yale University Press, 1996), and more than fifty articles on topics including religious liberty, obscenity law, abortion, federalism, the theory of democracy, and the meaning of neutrality as a political ideal.

March 30, 2008: Marc Falkoff

Mr. Falkoff is a law professor at Northern Illinois University, where he teaches courses in criminal law and procedure. Since 2004, he has represented 17 Yemeni prisoners at Guantánamo Bay. Professor Falkoff was formerly an associate at Covington & Burling, where he received the firm's 2005 Charles F.C. Ruff Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year Award for his Guantánamo work. He is also the co-recipient, with other habeas counsel, of the 2007 Frederick Douglass Human Rights Award from the Southern Center for Human Rights. He writes and speaks frequently about Guantánamo, and has been featured in a variety of media outlets, including the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune, New York Magazine, CNN, the BBC, and NPR. He is the editor of Poems from Guantánamo: The Detainees Speak, a bestselling anthology of prisoner poetry published by the University of Iowa Press.