Racial Justice Feature: Police Reform vs. Abolition

In today’s third installment of our feature series highlighting racial justice, we are centering conversations around police reform and abolition. In recent months the murder of George Floyd and the police brutality displayed at the subsequent protests across the country have laid bare the need for more holistic and radical approaches towards the future of the police. At this moment, activists and scholars have been instrumental in advocating for moving away from reforms such as bias training and body cams, and instead in the direction of structural changes. Defunding the police and reallocating those funds is the only way to address the issues of systemic violence and racism because they run deeper than any surface-level change could ever remedy.

In the article we have linked below, lawyers Derecka Purnell and Marbre Stahly-Butts lay out the case for the ways in which modern policing perpetrates both direct violence through police brutality and the violence of mass incarceration. In their words:

“Since it originated with efforts to prevent labor organizing and to patrol slaves, modern policing has punished the poor. No number of diversity workshops, body cameras, and community policing initiatives will change that.”

To read this article click here: https://www.nytimes.com/…/the-police-cant-solve-the-problem…

If you would like to follow up on these ideas, here is another article from abolitionist organizer and educator Mariame Kaba. Kaba describes the discrepancies between the idea that the police keep people “safe” and the realities of how reducing contact between the police and the public is the best way actually to keep our communities from harm. ”https://www.nytimes.com/…/…/floyd-abolish-defund-police.htmlTwenty-five years after the infamous 1994 crime bill, too many criminal justice groups are simply reimagining mass incarceration.