Hacker forces BGA community forum on Cabrini-Green to shut down
An online community forum hosted by the Association for Better Government Saturday was disrupted by a hacker who posted child pornography and hate speech before the event closed.
The topic of the forum was “Cabrini-Green: A History of Broken Promises,” presented as a panel discussion on “one of the biggest land grabs in Chicago history.” Cabrini-Green was a public housing project on Chicago’s North Side from 1942 to 2011.
Although the moderator and panelists did not see the offending images or hear the audio, those watching the broadcast were subjected to three still images of child pornography as well as audio and video hate speech. The interruption lasted four minutes before the transmission was cut.
BGA President and CEO David Greising said the organization reported the incident to the FBI’s Cybercrimes Unit and expects a full investigation to follow.
“The panel [was] designed to give voice to a community centered on Cabrini-Green whose lives were disrupted a quarter of a century ago by the town’s transformation plan, a record breaking promise that was detailed in a BGA investigation d a year,” Greising said. “We will not allow hatred and racism to get in the way of this important work of fairness and accountability in government.”
After the break, the moderator and panelists reunited to record the full program that had been scheduled. Greising said the BGA will post it on the band’s website and YouTube channel this week.
Participants included: Jacoby Cochran, host of City Cast Chicago; Alejandra Cancino, author of Cabrini-Green: a story of broken promises; Davon Clark, member of CatchLight; Shermann “Dilla” Thomas, Chicago historian; Carol Steele, Cabrini-Green Local Advisory Council; Charles Price, public housing activist; and Shakira Johnson, oral historian.
Founded in 1923, the BGA is a non-profit government watchdog and investigative reporting organization.
“We hold community forums to create a safe space for dialogue and today we failed to do that,” Greising wrote in an email to BGA supporters on Saturday. “We extend our sincerest apologies and reiterate our commitment to amplifying community stories and empowering residents across the state to hold the government to account.”
Today’s comment from Friday: Eric Zorn: I never miss Chicago Public Square because Charlie Meyerson never misses the important stories of the day and almost always includes delightful links to gripping unique stories and commentary. Meanwhile, it seems that what we used to call “the dark side” — public relations — has become “the green side,” as it attracts more and more primo journalistic talent.