Abolition is for Everybody

Discussion Guide, Season 1, Episode 0 – Pilot – Meet Your Co-Hosts

“…any part of the journey that you’re on is okay and asking questions is okay. Feeling the need to have more information is okay, that’s completely normal and that’s how we all should be making our decisions — based on the facts. But I would encourage folks to come into these conversations, which can be difficult, with an open mind, with an open heart. And, maybe coming in with a bit of self awareness and recognizing that we’ve been socialized to believe that police and prisons are the only form of accountability, or that punishment overall as a concept is the best form of accountability.” – Taina

In the pilot episode of Abolition is for Everybody, Co-hosts Ra, Lee, and Taina discuss how their journeys as abolitionist began, what they have struggled with and continue to struggle with, and what they are most excited to unpack and discuss in Season One of Abolition is for Everybody.

We encourage you to reflect on these things as well. To build the world we all deserve to live in, it’s important we reflect on how things currently are, the type of world we want to live in, and the interim steps of how to get there. Let’s think of reflection as a practice toward liberating our radical imaginations. The questions below can help guide a personal or group reflection.  

Reflect

  • Do you call yourself an abolitionist? Why or why not?
  • What do you think of when you hear the word ‘abolition’? Is it different now than when you first heard the term? 
  • What aspects of abolition do you struggle with?
  • Where and when do you feel safe?
  • What’s the hardest conversation to have about abolition?

Discuss:

The word abolition being vilified was discussed in the pilot episode. If you didn’t get a  chance to listen, here is one excerpt:

“When I first came into abolition, or I started to hear about the term or the word, it was villainized. And so I, too, automatically put my defenses up, I put my guards up to it because I didn’t want to be the rebel– rebelling against society.” – Lee

From the pilot episode, we’ve chosen one of the questions to respond to as an example of one of the many ways this guide can be used.

What do you think of when you hear the word ‘abolition’? Is it different now than when you first heard the term? 

This reflection question might cause many other questions to pop into your head — how have I had a similar experience with the word abolition? How has it differed? What first comes to mind when I think of the word abolition? What would an abolitionist world look like? Is what I imagine now different than when I first heard the term?

The vilanization of the word abolition gives the impression that abolition is an absence of things, but it’s really a presence. A presence of resources that cultivates safety for everybody. We know that to achieve true safety, we cannot have police and prisons. We know current systems in place to address harm do not prevent or minimize harm, and actually exacerbate not only future causes of harm but also the current harm. Getting rid of cops and prisons is not the end goal, but rather a necessary step toward creating a society of abundance and true safety. Abolition is  about getting to the root of issues. This not only minimizes and prevents  harm with resources and community,  but there are also community systems, tools, and practices resources to turn to when harm does occur. These tools address and prevent the harm from happening again and make appropriate amends. These tools center the  harmed person without disposing of the person who caused harm. So why is it the word abolition often initially comes with a villainous context, when it is based in safety and love for eachother and the world we live in?  

Remember

We encourage you to respond to what feels right, to exercise your radical imagination and critical thinking as if it were a muscle. No matter how you answer and reflect on these questions, the important part is that you’re doing the work, you are on your journey. 

“…when you work towards liberation, no matter which pathway you go, we all eventually end up at the same place. Where we take care of each other; we do right by ourselves. That’s abolition.” – Ra

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