Should We Abolish The Police? (ep. 112)

July 22, 2020
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Since the protests decrying the murder of George Floyd began in May, the institution of American policing has taken center stage. Activists are calling for change, and the phrase "defund the police" can be heard in cities across the country. As the concept of slashing police budgets and reinvesting those resources into Black and Brown communities goes increasingly mainstream, a more radical call is also gaining attention: Abolish the Police. Joining us to talk abolition, divestment, and what a world without police might look like are attorney, author, researcher, and organizer Andrea Ritchie, and senior staff attorney for the ACLU’s Trone Center for Justice, Carl Takei.

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INTRO
[00:00:49] From the ACLU, this is At Liberty, a podcast about the civil rights and civil liberties questions of our time. I’m Molly Kaplan, your host for this episode.

Since the protests decrying the murder of George Floyd began in May, the institution of American policing has taken center stage. Activists are calling for change and their demands are being heard in cities around the country. You've likely heard the phrase defund the police, a slogan that describes both slashing police budgets and reinvesting that money into Black and brown communities through affordable housing, health care, job training programs and more. But as the weeks have passed, chants to defund the police have been joined by a more radical call. Abolish the police. What would it look like not just to lessen the footprint of police in our communities, but to eliminate that presence altogether? Joining me to break down abolition and how we are thinking about it at the ACLU are attorney, author, researcher and organizer Andrea Ritchie and senior staff attorney for the ACLU’s Trone Center for Justice, Carl Takei. Andrea, Carl, welcome to the podcast.

ANDREA RITCHIE
Thanks for having us.

CARL TAKEI
Thank, good to have you.

MOLLY
Good to have you. The first sort of groundwork we want to lay is definitions. Can you, Andrea, to start, explain to us what is the difference between defund the police and abolition?

ANDREA RITCHIE
[00:02:10] Well, one is a step or potentially a step on the way to the other. So defunding the police certainly means reducing police budgets, but it also means reducing the scope of police work, reducing police contact, reducing police equipment, reducing police power. And the goal is to invest in the things that will actually keep us safe rather than continuing to invest in policing, which not only has proven to be a source of tremendous violence, not only deadly violence, but physical, sexual violence, but also a source of vast criminalization and foreclosed opportunity as a result. And instead to invest in the things that communities need to be safe and to be safe in a way that doesn't involve or produce more violence or consign a significant number of lives, up to two million at this point, over two million at this point, Black and brown lives, predominantly to cages or to surveillance, control, containment and criminalization.

I think people might think that the footprint of the police generally needs to be shrunk significantly. That we shouldn't use police to respond to people in mental health crisis. We shouldn't use people to our police to respond to people who are homeless or even people who use drugs or for minor offenses that are public order related or like unreasonable noise or drinking outside, etc. Then some people that might stop there and get off the road there. But I think many of us in this moment are coming to a realization that even in other areas, there are more effective ways to increase public safety that are less likely to produce violence. And that's where the shift goes from defund to abolition.

MOLLY
[00:04:10] And Carl, the ACLU uses the word divest a lot. Can you describe where divest is similar and where it diverts?

CARL TAKEI
[00:04:22] Well, so divesting from police and reinvesting in communities talking about the same processes. It's the same road that Andrea, has discussed. And I think there frankly is not a substantive difference in the types of measures that a city should take if it is substantially cutting the police budgets, narrowing the scope of police responsibilities and investing in more positive programs and services, but stopping short of abolition and the steps that it would take if it's taking those same measures but not going all the way to the end of the road. Just to give a sense of this, every year 10.3 million people are arrested across the United States. Of those arrests, only five percent are for the most serious offenses like murder, rape, and aggravated assault. And so really what we're talking about is that other 95 percent, what are we going to do about it? Is this something where as a society, we think it is appropriate to have an armed response from an organization that has the racist history and origins of policing? And is it something where we are, think that the best way to handle it, instead of having community led programs, instead of having, you know, some sort of non armed response, some sort of, you know, especially for mental health crises, having a specialized response from people who actually have mental health expertise the you know, that's what these kind of questions a divest reinvest strategy is grappling with. And I think it doesn't predetermine that ultimate answer about, OK, you know, after we adopt more positive responses, more humane responses for that 95 percent, what are we gonna do about the remaining five percent?

ANDREA
So I think the other reason that using the term divest is a helpful one or helpful framework to use is that we're not just engaging in defunding as a budgetary exercise, as I said earlier. We're actually divesting from policing, surveillance, prisons, incarceration, punishment, exile as a practice, and we're divesting from it financially, but we're also divesting from it ideologically and emotionally. We're divesting from the idea that my value as a human being is measured by how long another human being will do in a cage for harming me in some way. And we're investing in the notion that violence isn't prevented by caging and policing and surveilling people. In fact, it's perpetrated by it. That policing is inherently violent and not only in the ways that we think of or know in terms of physical violence or fatal violence. But also sexual violence is an inherent part of policing in the same way that it is inherent part of slavery.Therefore it's not a solution to gender-based violence. It's a perpetrator of gender based violence. It's about recognizing the instinct in all of us to punish people who hurt us or to seek retribution instead of repair and to acknowledge that actually in order to create a society that is free from violence, we have to move away from mobilizing the state and giving the state a monopoly on violence to respond to violence. And instead, we need to dig to the root causes of violence and transform those conditions and causes such that we can all have an opportunity to live in a world free of violence, not just people who are in positions of privilege in the current political, social, economic structure.

MOLLY
[00:06:39] And Andrea, going back to abolition, this is a new notion for a lot of people, but for the people who have been at the forefront of the movement, there's a history here. Can you tell us where abolition sort of started, the history of the movement?

ANDREA
[00:06:53] Some people trace the current abolition movement to the movement to abolish slavery and looking at it as essentially part of an unfinished part of that struggle. And the fact is that as soon as slavery was abolished in legal terms, one many of us know, the exception for people who are convicted of crimes that's enshrined in the 13th Amendment, but also the criminal punishment system was immediately mobilized to re enslave people in many ways order or to force them back into indentured servitude.

[00:08:31] So for black women, for instance, who left white people's homes in droves to take care of their own families, which they had been deprived of doing were immediately sort of targeted by police who would pick them up for anything from an assumption that they were involved in prostitution simply by virtue of being out late at night or if their children were too loud, they were unruly, they weren't managing their children, or if they were working at someone's house and ate some leftovers or even sat at the table in the kitchen, they would be arrested for theft in those instances and the whole goal was to force them back into domestic servitude, through convict leasing. So in many respects, it's clear that the criminal punishment system was and in many cases people to either be incarcerated on what we're formerly plantations or they would be leased out to people who formerly enslaved them, even if it's not the exact same individuals, the same class of people, the same interests.

And so for many of us, it's simply it's completing the unfinished project of abolition to abolish the prison industrial complex that grew out of and was created to reestablish the relations of power that were enshrined in chattel slavery. I think that a current movement for abolition, can be traced back to the founding of a national organization called Critical Resistance, which first held a conference in New York City and then a series of conferences around the country, and began to advance a politic of abolition as something that we want to practice and build towards and our movement and articulating not only abolition of prisons, but also of police and of policing.

MOLLY
[00:12:22] And one point that you've made is that abolition is a stop on the road, that it's not the end game, that if you start from a place of trying to rethink how we use punishment and how we deal with violence, that maybe that would extend into other realms like into domestic areas. Can you speak to that a little bit?

ANDREA
[00:12:42] We all police people based on notions of who's worthy and who's not and whose behavior is acceptable and who's not. it's an important thing to recognize both when we're thinking about alternatives to current systems of policing, that we don't just shift resources and investment from law enforcement as we know it, into, for instance, social service structures or foster systems or mental health or medical structures that actually engage in very similar practices of policing, incarceration, punishment and social control. And also, it's important for us to think about that when we're thinking about what a community based response to violence is. Right. Not all community based responses to violence are transformative. so many things happen in communities that are replicating what the police are reinforcing and are, in fact, driving what the police are enforcing. Right. We're talking a lot about white people calling the cops on people. White people also just police black people without the assistance of the cops often. Right. And so, what abolition truly is at its root is not only abolishing systems and institutions of policing, surveillance, control, punishment and exile, but actually uprooting the values within each of us and within our society that produce those things. And only when we get to a place where those kinds of things are possible in our imaginations or in our hearts, will we truly have reached kind of the end road. But definitely defund is a step on the way, and we need to lift it up and recognize it for that and recognize the divestment part of that is not just financial.

MOLLY
[00:14:59] I’m curious, were either of you surprised by how the notion of abolition caught on in the mainstream? And do you think that means that this moment is different from other moments where we've had this sort of reckoning process? Carl, starting with you?

CARL
[00:15:19] Well, you know, I think the first thing to recognize about this moment is that it was a long time in the making. There would not have been this support for abolition had it not been for the many years of work that predominantly black, predominantly women theorists and activists and organizers put into thinking about the theory and practice of abolition, as well as the theory and practice of divestment from police and the criminal legal system. What changed in the past several weeks is that suddenly across the country, people who had not been exposed to these ideas, who had not been in these circles were exposed for the first time to this idea of like, oh, actually, you know what? We don't have to have the police responding to the extraordinarily broad range of circumstances that in too many cities around the country, the police are literally the only option for somebody who is experiencing mental health crisis for, you know, when there is a traffic accident? You know, obviously there needs to be some sort of response. And yet the only response that is available in the society that we presently live in is the police. And I think it's actually heartening that for so many people, it's like the light bulb went off and it allowed so many more people around the country to start imagining a better world.

MOLLY
Andrea, what about you?

ANDREA
[00:17:31] We're in an unprecedented moment on so many levels, right? We're in the middle of a global pandemic. We are in the middle of an unprecedented economic crisis where cities are slashing their budgets and states and federal governments are slashing their budgets. And we're just at the beginning of this. We're at 40 million people unemployed now and we're two weeks away from a massive wave of evictions as rent and other protections and eviction moratoriums start to lift.

And so I think those conditions in addition to this continuing pandemic of anti-black police violence, which George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and Tony McDade and their killings in rapid succession in some respects, but also in a short timeframe. But I think that for most people watching a white police officer with complete impunity impassively staring straight into the eyes of a young black woman, filming with people, screaming at him to stop, would just kneel on the neck of a black man who is begging for his life for nine minutes. We're like, OK. And you're in one of the more progressive cities, a city that has adopted all the 21st century policing recommendations. And we're done. That’s it, we're done. A young black woman is sleeping in her bed, in her home, minding her business and in the place where we should be safest and dies in a hail of bullets. And then the incident report about her death says no one was injured. I mean, people are just done. You know, here's a black man, experienced tremendous transphobia, violence one day and the next day he's the one who's dead at the hands of police. We're done. We've been here too many times.So I think that convergence of things has really produced a world where people are ready for something very different. In New York, for instance, the first thing that the governor did in the budget for this year in the middle of a pandemic was cut Medicaid. I think people see that and they're just like, wait a minute. I'm sorry. You're cutting Medicaid, the NYPD six billion dollar budget is not changing. And my grandmother and aunt and uncle and sister and cousin just died, in something completely preventable. And so we're like, no, we're just at this point where we're ready for bold solutions because the moment demands it.

MOLLY
[00:23:11] Do you think that they're, speaking to some of the reforms, an example would be body cameras or bias training. Do you think that there's any room for both at the same time? Can police reform and abolition coexist?

ANDREA
[00:23:23] No. So you've got a really long answer to the previous question. You've got a really short answer to that one. They can't, because things like body cameras, one, involve pouring money into policing. Body cameras are very expensive. And, you know, the company that makes body cameras also makes tasers. So it makes the instrument of police violence and then it makes the instruments to record it on. And then it trains police departments on how to hide the body camera footage from people who are asking for it. So that's just that corporation making money off of an illusion of accountability, and in fact, less accountability and less information and just more money going to policing. The same with policy changes on paper that produce nothing in practice. Right. We can say it till the cows come home, don't choke people to death. Police departments and police officers continue to do it with impunity. There was a no chokehold rule in New York City at the time Eric Garner was choked to death. There's so many ways to describe suffocating someone to death. We're like well, what what they used to kill George Floyd, It wasn't a chokehold. It was a neck pin. And so chokehold would ban. But now we have to ban neck pins. It's like, no, this --

MOLLY
Same with no knock --

ANDREA
Exactly.

MOLLY
With Breonna Taylor, now they want short knock warrants? Right.

ANDREA
[00:24:47] So 15 seconds in the middle of the night is not going to change the outcome. It's -- 15 seconds in the middle of the day is not gonna change the outcome to that. So we're talking about a militarized home invasion is going to produce death more often than it's going to save lives. And the same goes, to be honest, for civilian oversight or, you know, proposals for decertification, et cetera, it's all about creating these infrastructures around law enforcement that take money and legitimize without providing any real accountability, any systemic change. So to me, it's taking us on a detour to even assume that we, that we should be putting any resources into those things. At this point, the accountability measure is defunding the police, the accountability measures saying we have given you too much money to kill us, to not produce safety, to produce harm. But also, I just want to keep us focused on fact, it's not just people who were killed. It's like lives that are stolen through the fact that one encounter with a police officer can change the entire course of your life. You can be on your way to college, one arrest, caught with weed. Suddenly your grants, your financial aid is gone and your school has dismissed you. And now that's it. Your life is on a different course.

MOLLY
[00:26:21] And Carl, turning to you, can you describe the evolution of the ACLU’s position, which has been focused on divest and invest? How did we get there? Can you clarify what it is?

CARL
[00:26:32] Yeah, well, you know, first I want to inject, one one cautionary note, which is that, you know, the road that we're talking about is potentially a very long road. And, you know, even for folks who have made an explicit commitment to long term abolition, police are going to be operating at the society for a long time, and there are certain measures that are absolutely necessary as long as police exist. For example, having policies that restrict police from killing people. If you don't have those policies in place, there is literally no way to fire the officers who do that.

And, at the same time, we have to be sanguine about all of the barriers that have been put in place. That, in fact, it is very difficult to ever fire an officer because of the way that police unions, with the cooperation of police chiefs and city attorneys, have set up barrier after barrier after barrier for firing or even imposing internal discipline on an officer, even when it's clear that they have violated written policy.

The test for these types of reforms ought to be, is it compatible with the long term road that we are going on of continuing to reduce the societal investment in police and build the societal investment in alternatives that are more positive, that can bring about this better world over the long term? And really, that is a conversation about money. Is it the kind of reform that can be accomplished without reversing the progress that's already been made and pouring even more money into police departments? Or is it a reform that can be done you know, as we continue to draw down that police budget and invest in those alternatives.

MOLLY
[00:28:56] And maybe one important point is that, Andrea, as you noted, we're in a financial crisis. Budgets across the board are getting cut. The reinvest point seems like it needs to be stressed right now. That you can't just cut everybody its budget and hope that magically everything is going to work out. Can you speak to that a little bit, Carl? Particularly since the ACLU position, we couple the two. We never say divest without the reinvest point.

CARL
[00:29:22] Right. Divestment and reinvestment have to be coupled together, because the problem is not that the police are responding to nonexistent issues. It is that we have the wrong institutions responding to those issues. You know, homelessness is a real issue. Substance use is a real issue. Violence of all kinds are real issues. And the question is how we respond as a society, how we prevent violence from taking place in the first instance. And when people do perpetrate violence on others, how do we respond to that and ensure that the people who are impacted by that violence are able to heal? How do we ensure that the person who perpetrated that violence doesn't do it again? All of this requires societal investment. And if you just go into an austerity mode and say, well, we're not funding anything, that's not a solution.

ANDREA
[00:31:04] I want to take issue a little bit with Carl's assertion about police killings. We already have lots of rules saying police can't kill people, including the criminal code, and they do it anyway. And that's because they, they're structurally set up to to do that. And so to me, having more rules about that is it's definitely not the issue. The issue is the other point that you've got at which is because it's actually very easy to fire an officer for killing someone. It happened in Atlanta immediately after Rayshard Brooks was killed. It can be done when there's political will to do it. The question is whether the people who employ them are invested in doing that. And we know for a fact that they're not in the vast majority of cases.

MOLLY
[00:30:39] Right. Right. Andrea, I'm curious, you know, abolitionists often face two big questions from those who aren't fully on board or who are just not aware of the movement. The first one is who will keep us safe, if not the police? And the second is, what do we do with the really bad people?

ANDREA
[00:33:00] Well, one thing that that question does is it excises police from the definition of violence. So police are responsible for 10 percent of gun violence in this country. Police officers on average over the past decade have been caught in an act of sexual misconduct every five days on average. Police are part of the violence in our society. So when we talk about what do we do about murder, what are we gonna do about rape? Well, police are perpetrating those things. And so defunding them and reducing their power, scope, contact and resources to do that will reduce killings and rapes by police. So that's the first piece. The second piece is that they're not actually preventing any of that. At best they're responding after the fact. So 43 percent of people who experienced domestic violence never call the police, and they don't do that because they might be undocumented. But they also might be a criminalized population. There might be drugs on the premises. They might have called before and been criminalized or they might have called before and not gotten a response, or they might have called before and gotten a response they didn't want. Most people want de-escalation in a moment. They want separation and safety in a moment. They don't necessarily want the person who might be bringing income into the home or someone that they love to be put in a cage for the rest of their lives. And they certainly don't want them to be put in a cage and then come back the same person and now just more angry. Two thirds of people who experience sexual assault never report it to anyone, including police. And that number is much higher when the people who are perpetrating the sexual assaults are the people you’re supposed to be reporting it to.

[00:33:00] So our current solutions are leaving behind the vast majority of survivors of rape and domestic violence. So many of us who are leading the move for abolition are not only black women and women of color, and I would also add queer and trans people of color. Because people who have really never been able to count on the state for any kind of protection are the people we're saying we want and deserve better for ourselves and for other survivors and for our communities who are experiencing both state and interpersonal violence.

The other thing is that most domestic violence survivors will tell you that the thing that would help them avoid or extricate themselves from domestic violence is housing. Most people who experience violence in the sex trade. We'll tell you that what they need is housing and a job. They don't need police to show up. They just need a safe place to go, and a means to get there, and support to get there. And then they also want their families to be transformed. They want their communities to be transformed. They don't want to not be in a relationship with people. They want to be in a nonviolent relationship with people. And so that requires a different kind of investment than what policing offers.

MOLLY
[00:36:54] And is that what people mean by transformative justice, which is a term thats been around for a while now.

ANDREA
[00:36:54] Absolutely. And what that means is that we're not just looking to interrupt violence in a moment or respond after the fact with punishment or retribution. We're looking to transform the conditions that produce the violence in the first place and to address our collective responsibility in creating those conditions and changing them.

MOLLY
[00:36:54] Andrea, one of your areas of focus is not just what to do, but who is the most impacted by police violence and a lot of your work centers around the LGBT community and women. And, you know, women are, as we know, the fastest growing segment of our jail and prison populations. And your own research shows that black women experience police violence and harassment at similar rates to black men and yet are not always the people named. And I'm wondering, why is it important to make sure movements for change focus on women and the LGBT community just as much as men?

ANDREA
[00:38:35] One thing I often say is that if we look at policing through the lens of Black women, queer and trans people's experiences, we actually get to abolition faster because that's where we start to see that the things that we think police are supposed to be doing, like protecting vulnerable people from gender-based violence is not happening for black, queer and trans people and for black women. Right. So there's another Brianna. Brianna “BB” Hill who was a black trans woman in Kentucky who was brutally beaten by police at a nail salon. And then a few weeks later, she wound up dead. Well, I lay that her death at the feet of those police officers, because they signaled to the community, not only will we not protect this person, but this is an appropriate way to treat this person. And so you can treat them any way you want with impunity. There will be no consequences. That was the message that they sent and that was a message that was received. again, as we're talking earlier about how police sexual violence plays out in, what's alarming about that is two of the populations that police are known and documented by other police officers to prey on are survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence. So literally the people who the police are supposed to be protecting are their targets for violence or people in the sex trade or trans women report some of the highest levels of police sexual violence. So these are communities who are experiencing the highest levels of poverty most likely to be criminalized for trying to survive that poverty. Also experiencing high levels of violence most likely to be criminalized for trying to survive that violence in the face of lack of protection by police. Once we see that, we're like, oh, this system is not doing anything, it's pretending to do. And we start to see this system as a primary perpetrator of violence. And then that gets us more quickly to, yeah, we need an entirely different approach to public safety.

We need to radically reimagine the means we devote to achieving it.

MOLLY
[00:41:49] It really seems like unique parts of what we're experiencing now is that George Floyds name isn't the only name we're hearing. Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Nina Pop. Is this, does the conversation about intersectionality feel different and unique at this time? And also how do we make sure that it's not just lip service? How do we make sure that this transforms into real change?

ANDREA
[00:42:18] Yeah. I mean, I've been doing this work for twenty five years and we're definitely at a moment of unprecedented attention to the experiences of black women, queer and trans people who experience police violence. I sometimes describe it as, you know, I spent a lot of my life feeling like I was talking under water that I would be at every meeting, including, to be honest, sometimes with ACLU affiliates and staff people who would be talking about this stop and frisk issue is an issue affecting black and brown men, and I’d be like and women and women and women constantly. And then I put it in the notes for the meeting and the next meeting we'd be still talking really back to the original frame. And and then I think post Ferguson that because the leadership of black and brown and queer feminists at the front lines of Ferguson and across the country. Now that conversation is above water and there's many more people having it. It's not enough to just say another set of names or to tag Sandra Bland on the end of your long list of cis het black men who you're talking about. Right. You have to not only include more than Sandra Bland’s story, more than Breonna Taylor’s story, more than Breona Hill story. But you also have to have those stories inform your understanding of policing and inform the solutions that we put through.

MOLLY
[00:44:04] And Carl, what about you? What is your perspective on how to go beyond lip service?

CARL
[00:44:12] Well, I think a big part of it is listening, and I think this goes back to the process that the ACLU went through in adopting the positions that we now hold on divesting from police and reinvesting in communities. This is something that started two years ago when Paige Fernandez and I were hired to develop the overall strategy for, you know, what is the ACLU going to do about police and police violence? And we started in a very traditional ACLU way, which is to form a bunch of working groups with a lot of lawyers and a lot of policy advocates drafting very, very detailed documents. But then we did something different, which was to go out and visit 19 different cities around the country where we met with a whole range of folks, many of them involved in grassroots organizations, particularly Black-led grassroots organizations working on policing and ask them, what do you think about this? And some of the feedback was positive. Some of the feedback was negative. And it was in many ways a humbling experience, because some of the things that, you know, we put a lot of thought into about, you know, very, very detailed policy prescriptions about changing disciplinary mechanisms for, you know, within police departments or not what people were most interested in or excited about.

[00:46:00] what people were the most interested in and excited about in in all of these discussions were the notion of reducing the role, scope, presence and responsibility of police in people's everyday lives in exactly the ways that we've been talking about today,

[00:49:55] As we went through all these conversations, what we recognized is that there have been community led initiatives. There have, in fact, even been city funded initiatives that have been able to supplant the roles of police in many different settings. So what we're committed to is continuing to take each step along the road as we are able to identify the policy prescriptions and the ways in which we can build that society that becomes less and less dependent on police intervention.

MOLLY
[00:51:33] And I'm curious, as we wrap up, this work, it's tough. Andrea, it seems like something that you've addressed in the past. How do you do self care? How do you approach this work so that you can stay engaged for the long haul?

ANDREA
[00:52:27] I think one recognize that, yes, this will be a long haul, so we need to take care of ourselves for the long haul. It's a marathon, not a sprint. In fact, I think it's a triple iron man or something. You know, it's just it's not it's not gonna be this year. So I have to remind myself that sometimes when I'm burning the candle at both ends, we like, you know, it's we're not doing us all this month. This is a system that's taken centuries to build. It's going to take, you know, some time to unbuild. I think I want to remind policymakers of that, too. I think many policymakers who are thinking about defunding divestment now are like, okay, but show me the fully formed, completely actualized and evidence based system that we're gonna replace this with, that you have developed in your volunteer hours, in your spare time without one hundred billion dollars a year. And I need to see it by 6 p.m. because that's when my budget is due. And, you know, that's just it's a setup for failure. and it's for some people, it's an intentional setup for failure. For their folks, it's just an unconscious setup for failure. So I think that's important to recognize. The other thing I think its important for us to recognize is how much we already have. Like I said, most of us have figured out ways to deal with violence that didn't involve the police.As my colleague Mariame Kaba often reminds us, the tools of abolition are already in our hands. And so we just need to figure out what they are and then start to resource and build them and feed them and then fertilize them and water them and nurture them.

And then I think the last thing that keeps me going is that abolition is a joyful process. It's a it's a process of building. It's not just tearing down. It's a process of imagination, of creativity, of building. And as I said, finding solutions that actually will provide justice for survivors, that will actually create opportunities for all of us to live up to our full human potential and not wither away in cages. We have artists. We have people who could have contributed the next amazing symphony or rap album or anything. But they're in a cage right now, withering away. And and we're losing all that human potential. And so for me, the idea of of being able to create conditions where we could all benefit from that is is exciting. So that's where I set my time on self care. I do read a tremendous amount. I spend time by the ocean. And and definitely spend time in community. And remember that we have so much gold in terms of black joy, in terms of black resilience. That I just want to tell younger activists who are out there who like you to keep the pressure on you to stay in the streets. There's no question about it.

MOLLY
[00:57:04] And last question on that note. I want to learn more. I'm a regular person. I'm interested in this for both of you. One resource and one leader to be inspired by. Carl, you first.

CARL
[00:57:19] You know, I think I would turn to the resource that Mariame Kaba and Andrea Ritchie authored recently. And Andrea, you can talk about that.

ANDREA
[00:57:31] It's at interruptingcriminalization.com. It's a tool kit on defunded police and it explains what we mean by it and how it takes us on the road to abolition. I would just add to that. So many inspirations, I feel. But Mariame Kaba and Woods Ervin, who I get to work with interrupting criminalization every single day, both of whom are also part of critical resistance, have been tremendous teachers to me and amazing comrades and allies. And of course, Angela Davis has always been a tremendous inspiration to me. Her work started me on the path of the work that I do in some ways. And so much of her writing and speaking now is is incredibly important to this moment.

MOLLY
Andrea, Carl, thank you so much for joining us. This was a really great conversation. Thank you.

CARL
[00:59:09] Thanks so much for having us.

ANDREA
Thank you. So great to get to talk to you like this car, because we just we just research memos that actually are going to make defunding happening together, but we don't ever get to talk about the way in which we're seeing the work. I'm so grateful to you and your work and to Paige also for the vision that you all have created through the Trone center and the ways in which you are supporting movements on the ground in real and concrete ways that really evidence this tremendous dedication to the vision that you've laid out and that you've heard from communities. So I just want to appreciate the two of you and the work that you do and the work we get to do together.

[00:59:44] Thank you. I really appreciate that.
Thank you both.

OUTRO
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