“Abolition is about presence, not absence. It’s about building life-affirming institutions.” – Ruth Wilson Gilmore

Over the past two years, there has been much talk of defunding the police in Montclair and reallocating police funds toward resources that promote actual public safety. Over that same time period, there has been some talk, but less, about abolition – what it is, what it isn’t and why it’s so important right now in our historical moment.

In “Becoming Abolitionists,” lawyer and organizer Derecka Purnell writes:

“Abolition, I have learned, is a bigger idea than firing cops and closing prisons; it includes eliminating the reasons people think they need cops and prisons in the first place.”

It is with this spirit that we are organizing an Abolition Reading Group every Monday evening in August from 7 to 8 p.m. We will be using Purnell’s aforementioned book, “Becoming Abolitionists,” as a framework for our discussion.

In “Becoming Abolitionists,” Purnell asks difficult and necessary questions about all types of justice – economic, reproductive, disability, environmental, restorative, transformative and more – and she is refreshingly honest about her thinking, especially in regard to its evolution as well as its limits.

All are welcome – especially those who are curious and excited to both learn more and build together as we help create the world we need and the world we deserve.

You don’t need to be an abolitionist to join, you don’t need to live in Montclair, and you don’t need to feel pressure to attend all of the sessions – whatever works best for you works best for us.

To sign up (or if you have any questions), please reach out to us at montclairbeyondpolicing@gmail.com.

And please feel free to invite other people to attend.

Mark Joseph
Montclair Beyond Policing

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