Cicero / Mt. Greenwood (1996/2016) – A Screening and Conversation by The Chicago South Side Film Festival

Join Filmmaker Ben Creech and Artist/Activist Tonika Lewis Johnson for a provocative free film screening and conversation about race and activism Saturday, November 27, from– 2:00 p.m CST in the IIT Tower Auditorium.

Get your tickets at this link:

Cicero // Mt Greenwood (1996/2016)- a reconstruction of a race riot, or, which side are you on?

On June 7, 2020, Chicago Police barricaded the entire Mount Greenwood neighborhood to prevent the entry of people protesting the death of George Floyd.

In 1968, The Chicago Daily Defender referred time the neighborhood as Chicago’s ‘Little Rock’.

In 1992, Isabel Wilkerson described the community as a place “where white people can live out entire lives without ever getting to know a black person.”

In 2016, Mount Greenwood was the sole precinct in Chicago to vote majority Trump.

On November 20, 2016 a group of protesters gathered at 11th Street and Kedzie Avenue in Mount Greenwood to publicly decry the November 5th shooting of Joshua Beal, a black man shot by an off-duty Chicago police officer. The nearly all-white community on the South Side is home to many police officer and their families who support.


To better understand the relationship between past and present, history and memory, filmmaker Ben Creech has created a short documentary film that reconstructs and compares a 1966 march against racism to a 2016 march against police brutality on the same streets of Mount Greenwood. The side-by-side comparisons of events that happened exactly 50 years apart is complex, startling, and provocative.

After the film (which runs for 10 minutes, 10 seconds), Ben Creech and Artist/Activist Tonika Lewis Johnson will engage in a conversation about Chicago’s social history, South Side racial realities, activism, and what has changed – or hasn’t – in the past 50 years.


This screening is generously underwritten by the Illinois Institute of Technology’s Office of Community Affairs.


Ben Creech makes films at human scale, from intimate home movies and meditative observational films to amateur sampling riffs and montage essay-poems. He started making films to find alternative pathways for teaching and learning, using only found images, but now he incorporates all sorts of material into his sampling lexicon – social media, television, interview clips, original footage, any images he can find. Ben works in pursuit of a visionary cinema that expands perception, making films that can operate like conceptual tools that help us to see and talk about what is already present in media, but which we struggle to understand — “…nothing can be changed until it is faced.”


Tonika Lewis Johnson is a photographer/visual artist and life-long resident of Chicago’s South Side neighborhood of Englewood. In 2010, she helped co-found Resident Association of Greater Englewood (R.A.G.E), whose mission is to “mobilize people and resources to force positive change in Englewood through solution-based approaches.” She is also a lead co-founder of the Englewood Arts Collective; established in 2017 to help artistically “reframe the narrative” of Englewood. Within her artistic practice, Tonika often explores urban segregation and documents the nuance and richness of the black community. As a trained photojournalist and teaching artist, she has been engaged in building an artistic legacy that continues to gain citywide and global recognition.