By: Jessica Quinn, Online Communications Specialist, Washington DC Office, UCC National
“As freedom is a constant struggle, abolition feminism has always been a politics
– the refusal to consign humans and other beings to disposability – inseparable from practice…
[It] is an intentional investment of our resources to support the flourishing of our collective best selves,
a fuller vision of freedom that allows us to reclaim “accountability” and “justice” from the carceral regime.
– Angela Y. Davis, Gina Dent, Erica R. Meiners and Beth E. Richie, Abolition. Feminism. Now.
Historically, some of the major movements against gender-based violence have failed to acknowledge the need to simultaneously address state violence and the need to advance racial justice. Entire organizations and movements have outright ignored the voices of Black, Indigenous and other women and non-binary people of color, who have long advocated the message that the criminal legal system, with its deep structural racism, is often a source of further harm and trauma. These dreams of justice only envisioned a partial restoration, still sowing tears and weeping because of their own biases and limited experiences.
In their book, Abolition. Feminism. Now., the authors call us to practice abolition feminism which they define as an insistence that, “abolitionist theories and practices are most compelling when they are also feminist, and conversely, a feminism that is also abolitionist is the most inclusive and persuasive version of feminism.” Our movement ancestors have taught us that embodying this kind of intersectional liberatory practice is how we all get free. Only by holding the most impacted at the center can we achieve the kind of fullness of life and restoration of flourishing that that Psalmist imagines, filling our mouths with laughter and our hearts with joy.
Abolition feminism calls on us to ask questions like, does our approach include organizing against the prison industrial complex? Are we centering Black and Indigenous voices of those who have long been engaged in the work? How are we honoring the dignity of trans and non-binary lives? In a moment where women’s bodies are being increasingly policed and controlled by the state, both within the U.S. and globally, now is the time to be especially mindful of the approaches we take in response. May the fullness of our vision of restoration empower us to be like those who dream, imagining a system and a world where healing and true safety are centered.
Inhale: Even while I wait,
Exhale: I will be like those who dream.
Artwork: “Conjure” by Yohana Junker (discover more at: https://www.yohanajunker.com/)
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