At dusk, I’m thinking

Feminist Thought, Politics, News & Notable
It's Wednesday and the sun is setting. I'm enduring a rare headache. It has not drowned in water nor drifted away in sleep, despite my best efforts. I guess it's here to stay a bit. I'm due to stay up this evening and watch American Horror Story. I'm not normally a night owl, but I'm doing it this one time in solidarity with Sojo and Ms. Smart so we can do one of these. Just this one time though...I'm thinking about compassionate capitalism. I imagine such a thing exists. I want you to imagine it, too. I aim to find it, and write about it, as to expand our understanding about what's possible in a loving society. I'm thinking about practitioners of restorative justice, especially those in Georgia or in the south.…
Read More

What are you up to this week?

Personal Narrative
I'm excited to be in North Carolina this morning. I'm attending the 10th Annual Qualitative Research Summer Intensive. I'm here for a two-day workshop on grounded theory with Kathy Charmaz. Very awesome. I brought my survivor story as my sample data, so this should be interesting. In other news, I've launched a book project (unrelated) and once that's more fully established, I'll share a bit in this space. It's a good entry point into thinking and learning more about mass incarceration and the prison-industrial complex. There are a couple of other projects I'm mulling that are just about ready to shift into the doing stage. That's something I'm working on this year - taking action on ideas instead of letting them live (and sometimes eventually, die) in my head. Speaking…
Read More

Ask questions

Abolition & Justice, Education, Text Talk
As a graduate student, one of my favorite topics of discussion and research was inquiry. Asking questions, conducting investigations, and building knowledge through exploration are powerful tools for thinking and learning. As I continued in my studies, I learned of critical inquiry, which expands the idea of questioning to include a political or sociocultural lens. Developing conscientização, or critical awareness/awakening, is akin to taking the red pill. You start to ask sociopolitical questions and suddenly  you are hard-pressed to see anything as flat, uncomplicated or devoid of nuance. This isn't a negative thing, but it makes for interesting conversations. I mention all of this to introduce a quote by Angela Davis. I'm currently reading The Meaning of Freedom and Other Difficult Dialogues,  a compilation of speeches she delivered between 1994…
Read More

Dereliction and Fire

Text Talk
I debated the merits of crafting a preamble to this excerpt, and as I begin typing, I honestly haven't decided what to say about it. So we'll see... I read Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave. Early on in my reading, I became angry. I graduated from a high school named after this man. We did not read his words. At various points, teachers or administrators recited quotes of his, or summarized the "highlights" of his life. Our mascot, school paper and yearbook were all symbolic of him. But we did not read his words. We did not spend time in an English class, nor a history class, nor an extracurricular making sense of his life. Glaring omission seems too quiet, too meek, too gray to…
Read More

Justice, conflicted. | #vaw #abolition

30 Day Blog Challenge, Abolition & Justice, Feminist Thought, Sexual Violence
The defendants in the Steubenville rape trial were found guilty yesterday. My initial reaction was elation. Jane Doe was sexually assaulted, then publicly humiliated, and despite the attempt to cast her as consenting to the abuse, her violators did not get away it. Only that's not exactly true. The chain of complicity in this case is long and tightly woven with bystanders who refused to intervene, friends and acquaintances who felt the ongoing assault of another human was worthy of laughter and sport, and still others who felt the need to rally against Jane, for the sake of young men who ostensibly had the rest of their lives ahead of them. These complicated factors aside, two people were found guilty, and for that I was glad. But I was also conflicted. They…
Read More

More on Restorative Justice

Abolition & Justice
Today a girlfriend said, people are never going to operate from a place of love 100% of the time. I agree. But societally and individually, we could strive for it more often, yes? We can choose compassion over fear and closure. We can choose restoration and transformation over revenge. If there's a reaction to every action, what happens when every choice is a punitive, vengeful one? How can we break the chain of spite? I think about this quite a bit, but it's pretty theoretical. What does it look like to make such choices? This is where the idea of restorative justice comes into play. "Restorative justice recognizes that crime hurts everyone - victims, offenders and community. It creates an obligation to make things right." For many, the righting of things…
Read More

Restorative Justice and the Caring Community | #30in30 #WriteLikeCrazy.

30 Day Blog Challenge, Abolition & Justice
I'm at a conference, so I'm on and off the grid this weekend. While traveling, I had a short, but productive bout of writing-as-thinking. I decided not to push myself to finish either of the two pieces I started, but they are definitely seeds, firmly planted. One of the pieces was a follow-up to my post on a caring community. Even now, I'm still thinking about it. It all goes back to love, methinks. I sometimes wonder why love is such a revolutionary act. But why wouldn't it be? We are submerged in a world of violence. We see violent images on our televisions. We use violent language with people we love. Sing songs with violent lyrics. Think violent thoughts. Send violent energy with looks and gestures. And then we…
Read More

The Caring Community | #30in30 #WriteLikeCrazy.

30 Day Blog Challenge, Abolition & Justice
As a new abolitionist, I often imagine the reasons people might oppose abolition. I hear all the why nots they silently levy. I compose responses to these imaginary rebukes, and in so doing, I look to established abolitionists for guidance. In Instead of Prisons, the authors note several questions abolitionists confront. Two stand out: What do we do about those who pose "a danger" to society? Don't we have to solve that problem before we can advocate the abolition of prisons? How can we work for needed prison reforms which require structural change within the society, before a new social order comes about? Two assumptions seem to underlie these questions. Firstly, we can only work on one thing at a time, and after the attainment of a perfect solution, can we attempt something else. Secondly,…
Read More

Decarceration and Excarceration. | #30in30 #WriteLikeCrazy.

30 Day Blog Challenge, Abolition & Justice
Well, I would like to see, as Fay Honey Knopp, who was an abolitionist during the '70s and the ’80s and one of the co-authors of a wonderful book called Instead of Prisons: An Abolitionist Handbook, you know, I would like to see an emphasis on decarceration, an emphasis on excarceration.              Angela Davis on Democracy Now, October, 2010 I’m back in school. Quite honestly, as a lifelong learner, I’ve never left. As soon as I graduated, I created a syllabus of resources on black feminist thought, narrative inquiry and transformative learning and began reading. Studying these topics was nurturing and in many ways, freeing. Love and curiosity have led me to study mass incarceration and abolition. My new syllabus is growing. A recurring name…
Read More

On Behalf of Justice. | #30in30 #WriteLikeCrazy.

30 Day Blog Challenge, Abolition & Justice
Reading in preparation for a lecture on Buddhist writings, I came across this quote: What is the noblest way of life? My unhesitating answer to that question is: a life dedicated to truth and justice. Only in a world where truth and justice flourish can people freely bring forth their innate goodness. If, in contrast, philosophies or belief systems that deny the possibility of infinite human improvement prevail, misery and suffering will abound. ~Daisaku Ikeda, Lecture on Nichiren’s Letter from Teradomari This resonated today. As some of you know, I’m becoming an activist and advocate for modern abolition – the end of mass incarceration. These days I’m mulling a series of essays. I want to help us imagine a world in which imprisonment is no longer the strategy of first…
Read More