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A year ago, many of us were in the streets chanting, “Defund the police.” But this was not a novel phrase to be forgotten and replaced by a trendier hashtag: this was a concept that had already existed for years amongst organizers and activists. It was part of the larger vision of prison abolition. 

While we may have protested last summer, many of us struggle to see a world without prisons and police. We think, “But what do we do with the really bad people? Isn’t this antithetical to the #MeToo Movement? Don’t we need the police?” 

Meet Mariame Kaba. In We Do This ‘Til We Free Us, her years of organizing and educating come together in a collection of essays and interviews. This book not only serves as an introduction to prison abolition and transformative justice but a step-by-step guide to turning these words into tangible action. In less than 200 pages of accessible language, Ms. Kaba takes readers through her life’s work and welcomes them to the movement to end the prison industrial complex.

This book club isn’t a safe space–it’s a brave space. Participants should come prepared to discuss and sit with uncomfortable ideas and to challenge their ways of thinking. Although we will only meet three times, we hope this book club will inspire you to become more active in the fight for abolition and transformative justice.

We will meet Monday evenings in July (7/12, 7/19, 7/26) over Zoom. We will split the book into thirds; however, you are encouraged to come even if you haven’t done the reading. The text is important, but we will mainly be discussing ideas presented in the book.

We Do This ‘Til We Free Us is a recent release, with physical copies and ebooks available through Brooklyn Public LIbrary’s catalog. If you have trouble getting a copy, please email [email protected]

Please register and sign up to receive news about other BPL virtual programming. Registration is limited to 15 participants, with a waiting list.

This is the thirteenth installment of Justice Initiatives' book club. We'll invite readers to dive into a new title every month, sparking conversations about social power, dismantling oppressive systems, and fostering collective action.

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