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Transcript: Season 1, Episode 1, Abolition 101 with Patrisse Cullors

Lee 0:17 Abolition is for everybody is a podcast that tackles the sometimes difficult conversations around prison abolition.

Ra  0:24   I’m Ra.

Lee 0:25  

And I’m Lee. 

Ra 0:26  

We’re excited to talk about the possibilities and realities of abolition in today’s world with you. Join us for a friendly talk sometimes with guest experts. 

Content Warning: Just a reminder friends, in this episode, and every episode, we talk about very sensitive and often personal issues. Take care of you.

Ra 0:45

Hi Patrisse, thank you for joining us today. For those who aren’t familiar with your body of work, do you mind introducing yourself to us?

Patrisse  0:53 

Sure, and thank you all so much for having me. When Taina asked if I’d be willing to talk about abolition, for Initiate Justice, I was duh, this is one of my favorite topics. And also y’all are one of my favorite organizations doing such amazing work in the state of California and really modeling what it looks like to work with folks who are incarcerated and formerly incarcerated, and their family members and the community. So, I just want to start with commending the powerful organizing work that you all do, will continue to do and have done. You know, for me, I think I can start my my story off with really growing up in Van Nuys, where we’re recording right now and witnessing the onset of the the police in prison state on Black and Brown communities and working class communities in particular. And living in the valley, it’s a very interesting experience and for folks who are not from Los Angeles, or even California, the Valley is a suburb outside of the inner city of Los Angeles. It is still Los Angeles even though even though people in LA and the Valley don’t realize that we are still LA City, we actually we make up almost half of LA City. So, the the landmass is huge. And it’s a very multiracial area. And is obviously, you know, huge pockets of working class communities, mostly black and Latinx, and heavily policed communities as well. And I kind of, you know, as someone who’s grown up and who grew up in the Valley, and also has been all around Los Angeles, and some ways the policing in the communities in the Valley are much more direct, because many of the our communities are adjacent to white communities. And so some of the first gang injunctions happened in the San Fernando Valley, because white neighbors, rich white neighbors, were pissed and wanted to control their neighboring communities. So I spent a lot of time under the eye of the police. I spent a lot of time, you know, knowing the neighborhood cop, he, you know, often came into our apartment buildings and our homes and was consistently, you know, stopping and frisking folks in the neighborhood in the community. And upon further reflection, I really recognize that so much of this happened to me as a child and so much of this happened to the children in the neighborhood, because we’re taught that Black and Brown people are adults from childhood. We are often, we often have a view of of black and brown people as an adultified view of them and I think it’s what allows for and has allowed for so much tragedy and heinousness to happen to our communities because we’re not remembering that these are children. You know, the first time my home was rated in Van Nuys I was four or five years old, and I remember that experience like it happened yesterday, but the terror of policing and and the terror of imprisoning people would be something that I experienced all of my childhood into my adulthood, and would ultimately lead me to becoming a community organizer. Both in my community in Van Nuys, I spent a lot of time in the valley organizing, but then here also in, in South Central and in the inner city of Los Angeles


Aside: The term organizing can be understood as people strategizing, building relationships, and working together to activate others and take action toward a shared goal.

Patrisse 5:18

The the experience of, you know, policing dismantling my community also led me to being an abolitionist and becoming an abolitionist and, you know, understanding that there’s no reforming the police and the prison system, it’s not possible. Reform is only going to lead us to further policing further imprisonment and in fact, abolition is the only way.

Lee  5:47

Can I jump in really quickly, Ra?  Thank you so much for opening up and sharing about your upbringing out here in Van Nuys, and just giving us the space to be able to share and not only your vulnerability, but your courage, and what was happening to you as as a young child and with your, with your advocacy. Now, you talked about reform. So this is the thing that I often come up against with folks when they start talking about reform is like it’s leading to abolition and those are like the questions that people often have. They’re like, well, reform is just like the first steps into abolition, like abolition is too strong for us. Right? So can you, if you would please, can you break that down just a little bit more of how they’re connected, but how they’re not connected? In the sense that one is not the other.

Patrisse  6:36 

To simply put it in the early days of police reform and I put the reform in quotes, much of the conversation was about how do we just make sure that the police do a better job? How do we make them, you know, not beat up people, not kill people? How do we make them be the social service experts in quotes that they were meant to be? So a lot of the ideas were, they just need more body cameras, if we just put some cameras on their body, they’ll feel like they can’t beat people up. And they feel like they can’t kill people. Or if we just train them better, like let’s train them in deescalating. And what you start to realize is, number one, police are still killing with body cameras, they’re still beating people up with body cameras. They’re also turning off their body cameras. So remember, in Los Angeles, when we found out that LAPD was turning off their body cameras, when they’re going into different neighborhoods in South Central. And then number two, we start to recognize that there’s no such thing as training the police to not be racist, because in fact, the very fabric of policing is racist classes, sexist and they’re really the frontline soldiers for the system, they’re frontline soldiers for capitalism, and we, I ground that assessment, and not just my own experience, but now what we’ve seen in the last eight years of so many people dying at the hands of the police and learning, you know, how many of these police officers are trained from the very beginning to be racist, trained to be sexist, to be classist? And in that origin story of policing, really being the first slave patrols the first Border Patrol agents, and that’s an important history for us to understand. Inside of that, abolition becomes an important marker and how we move forward towards imagining a new world and that world is about a couple things. One, how do we turn away from this idea of punishment as a way towards accountability? And number two, how do we actually build an economy of care? Abolition is truly and very simply the getting rid of police, prisons, courts and surveillance. We’re getting rid of the, we’re getting rid of all those entities, and the things that support that. How we move towards that is reform. And I know I just said earlier that fuck reform, but there is a term that I like to use that I got from critical resistance, which is called non-reformist reforms. Because what’s true is we’re not going to free the 2 million tomorrow. That’s not possible. We’re not going to get rid of law enforcement tomorrow, but we can move towards a path way of non reformist reforms that get us closer to abolition. Number one, defund the police. Huge moment last summer where we all were calling for the funding of the police and that conversation rattled everybody, because it was the first time where a conversation about getting rid of the police became a popular conversation. That’s a non reformist reform, defunding is on the road towards abolition, moving us away from using police at sites of mental health crisis, getting cops out of hospitals, why are the police in hospitals? Those kinds of reforms, non reformist reforms, move us towards this vision of abolition.

Ra  10:38  

Thank you so much. That was very clear and clarifying. And I think it’s going to be useful for folks that are still on the fence and that are still kind of trying to digest this, this movement that is kind of happening. Yeah, I absolutely agree. And I love how you built out like this map of abolition in regards to your own life, you know, the the future vision of it, and this foundation of your childhood and where you started. What happened in between? How did you go from the kid in Van Nuys overpoliced to the author, educator, speaker, abolition expert that you are. What happened in between?

Patrisse  11:16  

A lot of things, a lot of things happened in between including a lot of practice, you know, a significant amount of organizing. I started organizing at about 16, 17 years old, and the very beginning of my organizing was just reading a bunch of shit. Reading about everything, reading about the police in prison state. Reading about race and racism, reading about sexism, reading about homophobia, transphobia and when I was 21 years old, and I was organizing at the bus riders union, I went and took a course, a workshop with critical resistance. And I remember it was a small group of us, maybe like seven or eight people in the workshop, and I have my notebook. And I was very eager to learn about this concept of modern abolitionism. And I remember sitting there, you know, and critical resistance used to have kind of run the workshop in this way where they would have the white paper and then they would, you know, have us brainstorm how are all the ways that the current prison and police system, uplifted by corporations, you know, who gets to benefit from caging human beings. And it took that one workshop for me to know, I was an abolitionist, it didn’t need more convincing. I’d seen what the terror of policing and imprisonment did to me and my family. I didn’t need to be convinced that our world would be better off if we didn’t live in a police prison in a military state. And it was that moment that I dedicated myself to abolition at 21 years old, I’m 30, gotta be 38 now, I’m going to be 38 in June and my commitment to abolition is completely unwavering. I feel, in every moment, whether there’s an officer involved shooting, homelessness, issues around health care, the onset of this pandemic. If we lived in an abolitionist culture, if we had abolitionist institutions, the experiences that many of us have had and continue to have, would be wholly different. We would have lived in a different moment. If it was an abolitionist system during this pandemic, because we would have had universal health care, we would have believed science differently than how the last government believed. There would be a clear understanding of what is necessary for human life. Abolition is not just about getting rid of the police state, the prison state, surveillance state, and court systems. Abolition is about building out a different way of being. A way of being that is very much dedicated to the caring of human beings, to the dignity of human beings. And so, I think that that becomes, you know, really important in my own evolution. As an organizer, I think at the beginning, I was like, we got to get rid of all these things. We got to get rid of the police state. And then just like magically abolition would happen. No, abolition is a practice. That’s what we do with our lives every single day. It’s the choices we make. And we’ve been trained to punish ourselves and punish each othern because of what we we’ve been told what accountability is, and what care what care is, and in fact, abolition pulls us towards a different vision of what that looks like for us and you know, my work as a community organizer has been to continue to train myself and learn from others, you know? Like Mariame Kaba, like Ruthie Gilmore, like Angela Davis, and so many other abolitionists, and then also teach and organize others into this world of abolition. We’re not going to be able to practice abolition alone. Abolition is a community effort. 

Lee  15:30  

Yeah, that brings up a really good point. I was on the drive over here, one of the Inside Organizers called me from inside, he’s in Lancaster state prison, and they’re introducing body cameras into that institution, they’ve introduced them into a few other institutions. And I’m always one that is kind of stays curious. And I’m like, well, how do you feel about that, like, what is the sentiment of the folks inside, and how they are kind of in embracing or rebelling against it. And he says, it’s really a mixed bag inside there, he says, because, one, we see how everything is how they take advantage of their power, their use of intimidation, and fear imposed on the folks inside to be able to control them. And now some of the people are saying like, well, the cameras are gonna, like reverse those roles, even though they see exactly like you said, they can unplug the cameras, they can cover them up, the footage gets lost, who has access to the footage, all of these things. And even with the blatant use, or the obvious evidence within cameras, we see what happens in our judicial system. We see what happens when it gets into the position of power, that may be his hands, and how they actually kind of twist it, use it, justify it, and then still say that it was fair and equitable, that it was used. And so how my conversation with him started on with that, with that about, like, how did you feel about it. And when we build out from community care, I always tell folks inside and I tell people like to start with love, like build your foundation from love. And then as you start to build up from love, just as these policies are put into place, are they put in place with love at its foundation? And if it’s not, it’s something that continuously needs to be revised, revisited, reformed into a position where it is wholly, coming from a place of love, what would you I know, I’m going off the questions a little bit, but what would you give? If some of the folks inside pose that question to you about like, the value or the not value of cameras being inside?

Patrisse  17:52  

Yeah, I mean, listen. The other part of this idea of cameras being a reform that was going to get us closer to abolition is just untrue. I mean, cameras, put more money into the police state. That’s something I didn’t say earlier. Our job as abolitionists is to get money out of the police state. It’s to put less and less money in the police state, not because the money won’t go anywhere, it’s because we want to put that money into social services, we want to put it, put it into a caring system. And so all the, you know, cameras do is give the state more money. It feeds the state. When I was at the forefront of fighting the sheriff’s department here in Los Angeles, and specifically when Lee Baca was still the sheriff, they had told the county jails, you know, Ba ca had said to the county that he was going to put in cameras. And he did, he did put in those cameras, but he never plugged the cameras in. So for years, cameras were installed in the county jails, but they were not plugged in. And when he was asked, you know, you were supposed to do all these reforms, what happened to them? He boldly was like, well, yeah, we do have the cameras. They’re just, we just forgot to plug them in. And so, the utter negligence of our system. There’s no, those body cameras, I promise you, are not going to change the conditions for the people inside. Those body cameras are not going to free more people from prison. Those body cameras aren’t going to create conditions where people feel cared for. And so, I think it’s our job as abolitionists and as organizers to you know, have the important conversations that you had with members inside, so that we also were not the only ones holding this contradiction of body cameras. But, but people inside, people have been impacted and are directly impacted by the state can say no, this is not a reform. I’m interested in, it took a long time for people to untangle themselves around the body camera reform outside in the streets. You know, lots of folks, lots of large civil rights organizations were like, this is the way it’s the body cameras, this is what we need. And obviously, you know, there may be some of those people still that think that way, but it’s an unpopular opinion. And that’s good. We want to make abolition popular. We want to make abolition viable, as well. And that becomes complicated, because we don’t have abolitionist institutions. We haven’t scaled abolition to the place we need it to be. So, in the in between time, when we live in the police and prison state, and we’re fighting for abolition is this whole gap that exists and it’s a hard gap to hold because that means there’s so much that people need that we don’t have yet, but that’s what we’re fighting for. 

Ra  21:09  

To Lee’s question about the cameras inside, I think, you know, Lee and I have spoken before I’m formerly incarcerated, and I had an experience with body cameras inside, which in a very brief summary is they do not work. And I totally understand the hope, I think it’s so, I think it’s so beautiful that humans in any situation are clinging to this hope that we can, you know, fix things. I mean, that’s that’s the hard part about reforms is that people are so hopeful, you know, and we just like, abolition is redirecting that hope into, you know, a direction that isn’t, you know, if we can’t trust the police to police, we can’t trust them to police themselves, you know, and, and explaining that, I think is so, so much part of the journey. But I know so many of these questions are conflicting and hard and people get stuck on them. Did you ever feel that way about abolition? Was there like a sticky point for you where you had conflicting feelings about this journey? 

Patrisse  22:08  

Always, always, for for a number of reasons, because we do not have the system of  abolition in place. And so, it is very challenging to try to practice abolition alone, or in a silo. Without that greater container there are so many moments where, you know, I’ve worked with folks who have called me who are like, this is happening. I would call the police, I don’t want to call the police. What do I do? And we really work on like, what are our options here? What are our best options here? And what do we do when and how do we deal with it? And that’s, that’s, you know, abolition is not what there’s no one way, especially when we’re still fighting for the needs of our community, and we’re still fighting to live in an abolitionist system. Abolition becomes a really important opportunity to practice, you know, we say, abolitionist practice, you know, the intersection of the theory, and the actual practice of abolition, and we can have all these amazing, brilliant theories about what abolition is and how we should be practicing it. And then we live in the real world. And then the real world is like, oh, but you know, there’s only police like we’ve we’ve only set up a system, where the police have to be called for everything. Yes, it’s complicated. It’s complicated to figure out, you know, how do we undo untangle untether ourselves from the police state if they’re the only option? And it’s the way we do that is by fighting for abolition by organizing, by doing the work that Misha justice is doing? and so many other organizations across Los Angeles County, California, the country and also around the globe, abolition is becoming a cry across the world as well. 

Lee  24:08  

Yeah, most definitely. I know, that there, when we talk about other uses for police, or, in our instance, other uses for community members to be able to get involved to be able to start having their own, say, within their own communities. People when I talk to them about prison abolition, they’re like, you can’t get rid of incarceration. Like, why what is that? Like? There’s no, you can’t just undo that. What about the bad people? And of course, you know, you start the conversation, and try to meet them where they are. And it’s like, well, you’re already labeling them, they may have done something that is against your social norms, but that’s not a bad person, right? And so what are the alternatives to incarceration and how we kind of deal with things that go against the social norms of our communities? And it’s going to look different from community to community? 

Patrisse  25:04  

Yeah, um, that last part around like, it’s gonna look different from community to community. So, I really think that some of the first places of answering this question is asking the community to answer it. First one, the first set of organizing I was doing around abolition in particular, was ending daytime curfew in Los Angeles City. For a long time, young people in LAUSD schools were receiving truancy tickets for being late to school and cops would oftentimes sit outside school hallways, like as young people were entering the school, and give tickets to young people. And we realize that part of the ticketing was also impacting young people’s ability to get their license, because if you never paid for those tickets, you couldn’t actually get your license, once it was time to get a license. There was also going on their credit. So, young people’s credit was being ruined at a at a young age because they couldn’t pay for the tickets. They weren’t telling their parents they’re getting tickets. I wouldn’t want to tell my mom I got a ticket for being late to school. So you know, this idea of, you know, what do we do? And I remember sitting with young people being like, what would you want to do with all the money that you owed? Where would you want that money to go? What would you want to see? And that led to a conversation around cops being off campus like, okay, they’re giving us tickets? Why are they here in the first place? They’re here to criminalize us, like, how is that a viable solution for educational experience? And so asking, you know, young folks well then what would you want instead of cops, you know? And the call for counselors, not cops became a huge cry. The call for teachers being paid more than, you know, allowing for law enforcement to be in the hallways. And so, I think we we always, as organizers, you know, because this is a team of organizers this way. Another reason why I decided to this podcast because I love the work of organizers. We are, you know, the invisible labor behind so much change that happens in the country in the world. But the work of organizers is to really ask more questions of our members and ask our members, what would they want to see instead? When we were stopping the to jails in Los Angeles? There wasn’t a moment where we didn’t have a member meeting where we were we didn’t ask what would you want to do with $3.5 billion. And every person was like, we don’t want more jails. The question that people are asked often hung up on is like, what do you do with people who are violent? That’s the question people are hung up on. And because we’ve only seen one way to deal with, quote, violence is, you know, by incarceration, then people don’t have the imagination to think otherwise. But if you start a question from a different place, I always let people ask me the question, well, what about the bad people? And the people who do opposite? I’m like, yes, I will answer that question for you, but can we start somewhere else first? What about everybody else? What about everybody else? And what we’re doing with folks who are in jails and prisons, for drug use, for mental health issues? Let’s start there. And why are we using jails and prisons for that use? And then let’s go to folks who have committed murder, who have raped, who have done these things like, what do we do? That’s a question that I shouldn’t just be answering as an abolitionist. That’s a question we should be answering as a community. Has prisons stopped people from raping and murdering? That’s a question we have to ask ourselves. It’s not a rhetorical question. It’s a real question. It’s not a question, that’s not a sarcastic question either. I want to know, has it actually stopped that from happening? No, it has not. And so what will stop it from happening? What will hold people accountable? What will keep our communities truly safe? And that’s a question we must ask as a team, we must ask it as a team, because then we are all accountable for making that change happen. Whenever we point our fingers at elected officials, or we point our fingers at organizers, you know, you aren’t making this change happen? Or why don’t you make this happen? We allow ourselves we rob ourselves, the ability to imagine something different. So for listeners who are out here, out here, if you’re, you know, trying to figure out abolition, then these are the questions you must ask yourself, whether you’re an abolitionist or not, because everybody wants to be safe. Everybody deserves safety. And so we have to think creatively about what safety looks like, because we’ve allowed for the democrats for the republicans, for police unions, we’ve allowed for the city council members for the county government for the for the governor’s, we’ve allowed them to decide what safety looks like. And it has only kept us unsafe. And so we have to show up for the conversation. And we have to show up for the practice. 

Ra 30:15  

That’s beautiful. I have a poet friend, abolitionist organizer named Terisa Siagatonu, and when she gives a presentation, she’ll often ask the audience to scream out the things that make them feel safest. And then she’ll point out at the end that nobody, nobody said cops, you know, every community is different, but no one ever says cops. And, and starting with that, as a premise, I think helps break down some of the, I guess some of the obstacles into the idea of what, what punishment actually does for us how it serves. And I know there are lots of studies and theories and systems out there that you talk a lot about, like restorative justice, transformative justice, healing justice. I don’t want to make you give us nine definitions here, but if there’s some kind of short form version of what those things mean, for the beginner interested in these things.

Patrisse 31:14 

I kind of see abolition as the framework that then gives birth to transformative justice and healing justice and mutual aid and community care. Those are the that’s the framework. So like, the framework for the current system we live in is like police prison state, and our punishment system, and then we get the police, then we get the courts and we get surveillance. Our framework, if we’re really moving towards a place of healing, of care, of true justice, is abolition. And inside of that we’re learning transformative justice, we’re learning how to hold ourselves accountable from a place of love, or a place of forgiveness, act of forgiveness. And then we’re also doing that in our community. And doing that with the people that were often closest to us, the people who are closest to us, that truly hurt us the most. And that’s the time you got to practice abolition the most and as someone who’s, you know, been in community, loved on community, and have experienced my fair share of harm from people, it’s that part of the abolitionist process that can be truly hard and, and painful, but if you know given the right set of conditions, specifically around transformative justice, transforming their relationships, transforming the way that relationships were harmed, there is a real way towards that kind of care, healing justice, really coined by Carter Page. Really looking at the idea that the only way that we receive true justice is from a place of healing ourselves and the collective, the we don’t heal individually or in silos. We really truly heal as a collective. And mutual aid obviously became super popular, and the height of quarantine where people were really taking care of each other and not relying because the government wasn’t giving a shit on the government but relying on each other. And whether that was food drives or checking on your neighbors or, you know, we did a ton of work at the local level, we did a COVID pop up drive in Compton and really creating the systems of care inside of our communities. And obviously, community care, which is very different than self care, really relying on the community as a place of care and really relying on on how we care for each other, versus this idea of, you know, self care as Eat, Pray, Love, and we’re going to go somewhere out to someone else’s community, and we’re going to, you know, stock up other people’s resources for ourselves. No community care really grounds us and how we take care of each other. 

Lee  34:15  

Yeah, with the community care I know, we saw it a lot inside, inside our California prisons during COVID. And it would be with there is well let me back up just a little bit, there’s so much like violence, I was introduced to more violence inside of prison than I’d ever been introduced to and in my life out here and, and out here. Growing up, like I was mentally emotionally abused, traumatized by not only family and family members, but community members. And in many forms, whether it was physical, sexual, mental, emotional abuse, but I had never witnessed as much as I did, once I went inside. And getting to the ability to be able to talk to the folks that were inside that were going through this moment, this last year, during COVID, they were making each other masks, they were making sure that people were being cared for by the officers, whether they had to go through measures of filing lawsuits or filing paperwork, or even just boarding up refusing to count, like, they took every measure that they possibly could. They were just to get the attention that any human being would need within their own community. And we saw some of the similar things out here. And at least in my community, I did where people were doing for the elderly, or for the immune compromised, where they were going to stores and they were shopping for them and they were making sure that they were taken care of and cared for. And it wasn’t the police doing it at all right? It was the community members. And I think when we start to really digest and start to think about what it means to be like, that abolition is rooted in community care, inside community outside community what do you think would be our like biggest hurdles in achieving abolition in attaining that community care that is not only going to have the ripple effect that is sustaining, but also to allow folks the belief or at least the personal self efficacy that this is the right path, and we’re on the right path? Like what are some common examples today, that it’s already in place that people don’t really connect to maybe abolition that we could make that connection for them, and they could make that connection in turn, that we can continue this momentum that I believe that we have, that abolition is taken on?

Patrisse  36:50  

Um, so it’s a great question. I’m going to start with Minneapolis because they’re doing some amazing work. And I was trying to look it up while I was talking to you all, but maybe you can reference it on the podcast. Minneapolis has this uprising last year that led to the global uprising as seeing the largest social movement in the history of this country. And, you know, the big question is around defunding the police and getting rid of their police agency. You know, I don’t know about y’all, I never thought I’d see some shit like that as a true, like, practice, I didn’t think I’d see it in my lifetime. And then we see the city council vote to get rid of the Minneapolis police department. So we’re in this moment, right, where the community in Minneapolis has the opportunity to get rid of their police department. So what do we do with that? Like, what happens? What needs to be put in place so that in them getting rid of the police, they don’t end up getting a new police force because that very well could happen, right? And that work I think is going to be a really important testing ground for us as organizers and we should really be considering what kind of support we can give Minneapolis in this time, as they’re trying to figure out the best ways to truly move this abolitionist demand forward. They’re going to be working on a ballot measure it’s called yes on something and I’m sorry I don’t know it right now, I don’t I do remember it right, now but it’s it’s a ballot measure that will permanently get rid of the police agency and I think it is going to be a ballot measure that sets a huge precedent across the country. And of course, you know, to your question what’s going to, what’s impacting Minneapolis and the organizers the most are two things. One, internal fighting which will be something that we have to really challenge ourselves and it needs to be much more rigor and discipline from us as organizers around how we relate to each other and how we hold each other accountable and how we treat each other so that it doesn’t impact our ability to keep doing the work. And then two, of course, the Police Association. We’ve seen you know DA police associations, all the cop associations, cop unions, challenge reform over and over again. They’re often way more savvy than us. Way more, you know, they’re thinking about their thinking about their longevity 100 years from now. We’re often sort of life, you know, thinking about what’s happening right in front of us and so it’s really important that we are able to also be strategic about the long game. Okay, if if Minneapolis is  going to be successful in getting rid of  the police, what’s that backlash going to look like? Like as organizers how do we, how do we make sure that we are you know planning for that backlash and also how do we make sure that we are creating space so that there is more room for abolitionist demands to grow inside of the community. So the community feels excited and the community feels hopeful around why it’s possible. 

Ra 40:05

Patrisse, we’d love to reserve a few minutes for you to tell us what’s going on? How we can support you? You can plug your book, tell us how to connect to you on Instagram just let us know how we can be there for you?

Patrisse 40:17

Thank you, well this was such a generative and amazing conversation. Keep asking me to talk about abolition. This feels really important to me and really powerful I was really amazing to hear yall’s  thoughts and your questions. I have a book coming out this October, October 5th, and it is on presale now and it’s it’s my first book that’s just that’s specifically focus on abolition and it takes a Harvard Law review article that I wrote and really focuses on the 12 Steps to abolition and I use these 12 steps in my everyday life and so I’m truly just offering my experiences and also a ton of resources on how to be an abolitionist and how to use, you know,  abolitionist infrastructure yes to organize, but honestly the book majority of that book is about how we treat each other and I’m very interested in abolition add a way towards how we can be in better healing, loving, relationships with one another.

Lee 41:32

Mic drop or? Is it good? No, I think it’s I think it’s hugely important and and thank you for just even opening up a little bit with your vulnerability on having the upcoming book and how much it means to you and and you know the importance of it and I think that having a an opinion and somebody that is a polarizing figure such as yourself opens yourself up to critique, but I would just remind you Patrissee that you are also opening yourself up to like love and support, and acceptance of this movement and so as you continue to I think carry the flag and to walk alongside the rest of us folks that are also in this in this movement like, you know, kudos to you and thank you so much for dedicating so much time and so much effort and continuously like not only learning but educating yourself, other people, around this movement because it is highly important that we don’t let our foot off the gas right now because in so many times and past I think this is how classism and all of these other things have kind of taken rude people just get that one step up and they’re like okay I’m good now, I can rest, and there’s no rest. Like, we can’t we can’t rest for the hundreds of years later just like the cops unions are are thinking ahead for them, we have to think ahead for ourselves also and I think that, you know, continuously reminding folks of that is hugely important. And you talked about this new book that you’re putting out and I would like to ask something that it’s been going around the staff. The question around becoming like an abolitionist evangelist, like how how that kind of came about and what that means to you?

Patrisse 43:24

Yeah, I’ll wrap it up with this question and thank you for those kind words. I felt like that we needed to really dig our heels in around this abolitionist conversation, especially in the backlash of defund and having a lot of dems kind of denigrate defund and kind of turn their back against the movement that got them electend and it was very disheartening and I was like that now is not the time for us to turn away from this demand of abolition. Now is the time for us to be evangelists, to preach, and get ourselves out there and and talk the good talk about abolition and it was really a, you know, a play on on words and concepts. I was a Religious Studies major and so I know the power of belief systems. Abolition is a belief system that we must embody This punishment system is a belief system as well and we got to, we got to rid ourselves of this punishment system and we have to, you know, truly become abolitionist evangelists both as a way of our lives, but also as a way to talk to others about what abolition is.

Ra 45:01

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