Each quarter CR hosts a donor call during which we discuss some current issues related to the prison industrial complex and strategies for resistance.  The resources our donors contribute to Critical Resistance are essential to our fight against the prison industrial complex, so it is important for us to create spaces where we share back the strong work that their generosity makes possible.


Donor Webinar December 2018: CR Conference History

On Friday December 14, 2018 we hosted a special donor webinar on Critical Resistance (CR) conferences since 1998. Planners and organizing committee members reflected on the 20 year history of CR and the strategy behind hosting conferences to advance abolition. Speakers referenced a number of materials (publications, books, posters); we encourage you to seek them out.

  • Speakers include:
    Ruthie Wilson Gilmore, moderator
  • Dylan Rodriguez, “Critical Resistance: Beyond the Prison Industrial Complex” (1998, Berkeley, CA)
  • Craig Gilmore, “Joining Forces” (2001, Fresno, CA)
  • Rachel Herzing, “CR East: Eastern Regional Conference” (2001, New York, NY)
  • Melissa Burch, “CR South: Southern Regional Conference” (2003, New Orleans, LA)
  • Rachel Herzing, “CR10” (2008, Oakland, CA)


Donor Webinar April 2018: Stop Urban Shield Campaign Victory

When our movements make gains and win campaigns, it’s important to uplift these victories, assess how we accomplished them, and strategize on future wins. In this webinar, members of the Stop Urban Shield Coalition discuss the victory against Urban Shield. Featuring:

Be sure to be on the look out for the coalition’s reflections, assessment, and next steps. Watch the short Stop Urban Shield victory video here, and check out the Oakland Power Projects People’s Report on Policing and Emergencies.


Play Video


Donor Webinar July 2017: BAIL, BOND AND ABOLITION

Thanks to years of visionary and bold organizing, the demands to abolish money bail and systems of bond are hitting mainstream conversations and making their way to legislation. We spent an hour with some amazing organizers and organizations discussing bail reform as it relates to abolition as a vision and a practice. Speakers highlighted campaigns and efforts to reform the bail system as a step towards getting people free and abolishing imprisonment. CR started the conversation with a summary of how we have advocated and demanded bail reform in our No New Jails campaigns, and then offered some guiding principles from our new “Key Points on Bail Reform” flyer.


Webinar video:

Featured Speakers

Chicago Community Bond Fund: The Chicago Community Bond Fund (CCBF) is a revolving fund that will pay bond for people charged with crimes in Cook County, engage in education about the role of bond in the criminal legal system, and advocate for the abolition of money bond.

Mary Hooks, Southerners On New Ground (SONG): Mary is currently co-director of SONG and was one of the visionaries and lead organizers behind the Black Mama’s Bail Out Actions, which freed 64 Black women and caregivers in the South on Mother’s Day 2017. This effort sparked a national Mama’s Bail Out Day which freed 100 people across the country and is gaining momentum for Father’s Day with the next National Bail Out Day effort.

Lily Fashi- Haskell, Critical Resistance: As CR’s Campaign Director, Lily has supported the No New San Francisco Jail and the Los Angeles No More Jails Coalitions lead campaigns to stop jail expansion with core demands to reduce the number of people imprisoned, reform bail and end pretrial detention.

Here are some resource for further learning and action on Bail and Bond Reform and Abolition that our speakers offered:

Learn more about SONG and CCBF!


Our first Donor Call of the year, “The Black Panther Party Ten Point Program: Highlights Today” featured contributors to the latest issue of The Abolitionist newspaper of the same theme.  The Pather’s Ten Point Program remains an inspiring and revolutionary document as we organize today. We brought together folks active in fighting for Black and international liberation across multiple contexts: in our communities, inside prisons, and across the walls, barriers and distances that the prison industrial complex imposes. From their multiple vantage points, speakers brought to life the Panther’s method of analysis: making “connections so they are not a diversion, but a deepening of work going on today,” as featured speaker Robyn C. Spencer put it. Here’s the English portion of The Abolitionist Issue 27 so you can read these great articles!

Asar Imhotep Amen is author of “Thoughts on Our Current Political Moment: Resisting Trump” in this current issue of The Abolitionist. He is a subscriber of the paper, a writer who has had pieces published in POOR Magazine, The Real Cost of Prisons, and the SF Bay View, and is currently imprisoned at California State Prison – LA County.

Mohamed Shehk is part of the editorial collective for The Abolitionist newspaper. He supports Critical Resistance’s campaigns, coalitions, and projects through his role as the Media and Communications Director at CR.

Robyn C. Spencer is a historian who teaches at Lehman College, CUNY and the author ofThe Revolution has come: Black Power, Gender and the Black Panther Party in Oakland. She is a long time supporter of the movement to free political prisoners, a member of theCampaign to Bring Mumia Home and part of several grassroots initiatives to disseminate the history of the Black Radical Tradition. Robyn contributed the article “The Black Panther Party’s Anti-Imperialist Vision” for Point 8: We Want An Immediate End to All Wars of Aggression in this issue of the paper.

Linda Evans has been fighting for social justice her whole life, to eliminate racism in our society, to win women’s and gay liberation, and to change U.S. foreign and domestic policies. She was active in Students for a Democratic Society and SDS-Weatherman, and a founder of the John Brown Anti-Klan Committee in Texas. In 1985, she was sentenced to 40 years in federal prison for militant actions to protest and change U.S. government policies. While in prison, she was a founding member of Pleasanton AIDS Counseling and Education (an AIDS peer counseling organization) and of the Council Against Racism, a prisoner organization that worked against institutional racism and to lessen racial tensions inside the prison. As an Organizer with All of Us or None, she has worked to build a movement that can win full restoration of all civil and human rights for formerly-incarcerated people. All of Us or None contributed an article on Ban the Box Movement for Point 2: We Want Full Employment For Our People.

Some resource for further learning and action:

Read the report:

Linda Evans, presenting on the Ban the Box campaign with All of Us or None, shared the incredible history and milestone victories of Ban the Box nationally in over 25 states and 150 cities and counties! You can read the Ban The Box in Employment Report here. Linda also offered this yet-unpublished report, Volume 2 of the series: BAN THE BOX in HOUSING, EDUCATION, AND VOTING. A Grassroots History. As Linda said, “Economic justice is a key component of any movement toward and for freedom for Black people.” Because formerly imprisoned people are structurally excluded from employment and basic civic rights, these organizing lessons and victories are so significant to our movement. We hope you take the opportunity learn more about these fights for restoration of rights for people coming home from prisons and jails!

TAKE ACTION TO SUPPORT THIS MOVEMENT: You can support the advancement of Ban the Box legislation happening in California right now, AB 1008. There is a May 3 action in Sacramento to support SB1008. Learn about the bill and the mobilization here on the public Facebook event. You can listen to the recent radio piece on AB 1008 here on the Legal Services for Prisoner with Children website.

Robyn C. Spencer highlighted the curriculum created by the Dream Defenders “Blacked Out History: Rebellion Curriculum Toolkit,” which can be found here.




As we reflect on, organize and prepare to fight against heightened repression of our communities during a Trump administration, we look to the current global context to inform how we must act, as well as to find, bolster and create solidarity across borders.The United States government and leaders continue to position themselves in connection to paramilitary forces in the Philippines, the rise of populism and fascism in Europe, increased repression of Muslim and Arab people worldwide, the complexities of endless war in Syria and Iraq, and ongoing colonialism and genocide within the US. In order to combat these struggles, war, and political oppression, we must analyze and organize with an internationalist framework.

Photo from Stop Urban Shield mobilization, September 9, 2016
Photo from Stop Urban Shield mobilization, September 9, 2016

In this donor call, we explore what work is happening locally and nationally to challenge US imperialism and how the current political context has the potential to impact or shift these struggles.

We enthusiastically brought together these powerful, veteran anti-imperialist organizers to infuse our conversation with internationalist energy:
Charlene A. Carruthers
Charlene A. Carruthers is a Black, queer feminist community organizer and writer with over 10 years of experience in racial justice, feminist and youth leadership development movement work. She currently serves as the national director of the Black Youth Project 100 (BYP100), an activist member-led organization of Black 18-35 year olds dedicated to creating justice and freedom for all Black people. First politicized as an 18 year old while studying abroad in South Africa, her passion for developing young leaders to build capacity within marginalized communities has led her to work on immigrant rights, economic justice and civil rights campaigns nationwide.
Fahd Ahmed
Fahd came to the United States as an undocumented immigrant from Pakistan in 1991. He has been a grassroots organizer on the issues of racial profiling, immigrant justice, police accountability, and national security over the last 13 years. He is currently the Executive Director of DRUM – South Asian Organizing Center in New York City. DRUM works to mobilize and built the leadership of thousands of low-income, South Asian immigrants to lead social and policy change that impacts their own lives- from immigrant rights to education reform, civil rights, and worker’s justice. Fahd is also a Critical Resistance Community Advisor.
Katie Joaquin*
Katie is an organizer with ICHRP (International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines). Philippine-born and Philadelphia-raised, Katie became a Bay Area transplant in 2005 and has been organizing migrant women workers for over a decade. She has been a lead organizer with Filipino Advocates for Justice (FAJ) and campaign director of the California Domestic Workers Coalition Muejeres Unidas Y Activas (MUA). She worked with thousands of household workers and supporters to win the Domestic Worker Bill of Rights and is coordinating 2016 efforts to ensure that the rights won become permanent. Katie is currently fighting the violence of policing, militarization and imperialism alongside Critical Resistance in the Stop Urban Shield Coalition.

*Berna Ellorin, chairperson of BAYAN-USA, presented in Katie’s place due to illness.

Nadine Naber

Nadine is an Associate professor in Gender and Women’s Studies and Global Asian Studies and Director of the Arab American Cultural Center at University of Illinois, Chicago. Nadine’s research interests lie at the intersections of transnational feminisms; women of color and queer of color theory; de-colonizing feminisms; empire studies; critical race studies; and Middle East Studies; and Arab American Studies. Nadine is author of Arab America: Gender, Cultural Politics, and Activism (NYU Press, 2012). Based in Chicago, Nadine is active with the Arab American Action Network and Rasmea Odeh defense campaign.




The conversation, commemorating the 45th anniversary of the Attica Rebellion, highlights the legacy of prisoner-led organizing for freedom as well as the political and social context in New York state that make closing Attica a keystone in the fight to shut down more prisons and bring people home to healthy, strong communities.

Critical Resistance NYC is a strong organizational participant in the Beyond Attica Coalition and campaign. Beyond Attica is a statewide coalition of organizationsBeyond Attica Flyer Version 2 and community members joining together to close Attica and increase political will to decarcerate NY. In recent years, the New York (NY) state prison population has dropped 28% from 1999-2014,* but these closures have been limited to minimum and medium-security prisons. And rural jail populations continue to climb, while the New York City Police Department has extended its grip over communities of color in NYC proper.  The Beyond Attica platform calls for decarceration to be part of an abolitionist transformation, not just a fight to close one prison: “We believe a safer and stronger New York is possible where resources wasted on caging people are freed to build the things that help communities thrive: education, housing, healthcare and human services.”

Join us to hear more about the fight to close Attica, shut down prisons, bring more people home, and build for an abolitionist New York, free from the reaches of the prison industrial complex.

The call is part of a week of powerful organizing efforts to increase momentum for prison closure in NY: it follows the Beyond Attica coalition rally demanding the closure of Attica at Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office on 9/8 and primes us for a Profiles in Abolition event in NYC on 9/16.

Please join us to learn more about how CR is putting your donations to work!
Jack Norton is member of Critical Resistance- New York City and participant in the Beyond Attica Coalition. He is currently a fellow at the Center for Place, Culture, and Politics at the City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate Center. In addition to organizing for prison closure in New York state, he is currently writing a dissertation on the geography and political economy of mass incarceration in New York.
Five Mualimm-ak is a Human Rights Advocate & the co-founder of the Incarcerated Nation Corp., a collective of post incarceration professionals that run projects that serve those incarcerated , previously incarcerated & their family. Since returning from incarceration Five now works with the ACLU & NRCAT as a human rights defender, teaches the conditions of incarceration with the United Nations & continues to work with the Student Alliance for Prison Reform the nation’s largest student collective against mass incarceration. Five works to create statewide collectives that address statewide issues of incarceration.  Five is a human rights advocate with T’ruah the rabbinical call for human rights. With INC five produces media content for major media networks around incarceration. See/read more:; Going Home (short doc); and read:
Laura Whitehorn is a founding member of the Release Aging People in Prison (RAPP) campaign in New York and a former political prisoner.


Click here to listen to the Critical Thinking on Abolitionist Strategy Donor Call.*
*Dolores intervened in a situation on BART during the call and had to get off abruptly. We want to let you know that she is OK, and so is everyone else. We’re proud of her abolition in action as she responded to a situation without engaging the cops.

Description: The core of CR’s work is to push—through grassroots mobilizations, popular education, campaigns and coalition efforts—a reinvigorated common sense in which the key to health and safety is not aggression, policing, & imprisonment, but healing, stability & liberation. Our speakers, who have worked with or alongside CR in different ways, shared lessons and strategies from campaigns and projects that abolish the prison industrial complex CRadvanced this common sense.

Our featured participants:

Craig Gilmore was active in the campaign to stop the Delano II prison with Critical Resistance, CURB (Californians United for a Responsible Budget, formed during this fight), California Prison Moratorium coalition, and many others. Craig has worked to shrink California’s prison system since the late ’90s and is a member of CR’s Community Advisory Board.

Dolores Canales has emerged as a powerful public voice in the anti-solitary confinement movement in California. She is the co-founder of California Families to Abolish Solitary Confinement (CFASC), serves on the Advisory Board of Californians United for a Responsible Budget (CURB), and was on the Mediation Team during the massive California prisoner hunger strikes of 2011 and 2013.

Lorraine Halinka Malcoe is a coordinating member of Transforming Justice (TJ), a collaborative effort of university faculty, filmmakers, youth and other community members to document and invigorate grassroots resistance to mass criminalization and imprisonment in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. During the past year, Lorraine organized with other educators, community members and youth to successfully halt the implementation of STOP (Students Talking it Over with Police), a pro-police curriculum for youth in Milwaukee public schools. Lorraine is also a faculty member and social epidemiologist at the Zilber School of Public Health, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Melissa Burch is near completing her PhD in the department of Anthropology at the University of Texas at Austin. Her current research tackles the question of how the struggle to increase employment opportunities for job seekers with criminal records might be expanded and refocused toward the broader goal of PIC abolition. Before she went back to school, Melissa worked with A New Way of Life Reentry Project in Los Angeles and before that in the greatest job of her life–as an organizer with CR in New Orleans and Louisiana.


Donor Call May 2016: ART AND ABOLITION

Click here to listen to the Art and Abolition Donor Call. 

Design by Melanie Cervantes

Since the founding of Critical Resistance, we have modeled that cultural practice and art are critical components of the fight for prison industrial complex (PIC) abolition. The power of reclaiming culture taken from communities through centuries of colonization, genocide, and social and economic repression and the practices of creating are acts of resistance. The conversation explored the ways that Art and Abolition intertwine, and how cultural workers are helping us envision the world we want to live in and what we need to build to get there.

P.S. Melanie Cervantes recently designed the beautiful poster (featured, above) for CR. Provide us your mailing address, and we’ll send it to you for free with our June newsletter! Click HERE to get your copy.

Our featured participants:

A member of the Oakland-based arts collaboration, Dignidad Rebelde, Melanie Cervantes is a Xicana activist-artist whose work includes black and white illustrations, paintings, installations and paper stencils. She is best known, however, for her prolific political screen prints and posters which have been used by movements across the globe.  Employing vibrant colors and hand-drawn illustrations, her work moves those viewed as marginal to the center — featuring powerful youth, elders, women, and queer and indigenous peoples.
kai lumumba barrow, a co-founder and former staff member of Critical Resistance, is now artistic director of Gallery of the Streets in New Orleans, LA. She writes, “opportunities to strategically and intentionally focus radical imagination—for example through the process of art-making—are critical to developing movement-building strategy and concretizing our dreams and hopes.// I am invested in the principles, values, and aspirations of the Black radical tradition…what role has art and culture played in producing trends and opportunities for social, political, and economic change?”
Ashley Hunt’s current project, Degrees of Visibility, is a large body of landscape photographs from throughout the fifty U.S. states and territories, documenting spaces in which prisons sit from publicly available points of view — looking at how prisons are presented and camouflaged within our everyday perception, forming a part of an aesthetics of mass incarceration. Rather than seeing art and activism as two exclusive spheres of practice, he approaches them as mutual and complimentary. Hunt is a longtime fellow traveler of CR, contributing videos to CR East and CR South conferences (2001 and 2003, respectively) and working on the Materials/propaganda and Documentation committees for our 10-year anniversary conference, CR10 (2008). Hunt currently co-directs the Program in Photography and Media at California Institute of the Arts and is on the faculty of the Visual Arts MFA program at Vermont College of Fine Arts.


Donor Call September 2015: MILITARIZATION OF POLICE

Click here to listen to the September 2015 donor call.

While the roots of policing in the United States are closely linked the capture of escaped slaves, and the enforcement of Black Codes, the militarization of policing is a phenomenon has accelerated in the last 50 years.  The militarization of US police has its origins in the 1960s when urban police forces were first able to buy new equipment and technology thanks for funding from the 1968Safe Streets Act. 

Rebellions and community programs led by black people and organizations such as the Black Panther
,  Brown Berets and Young Lords and others standing up for self-defense and self-determination provided license for the police to turn these weapons on communities of color and poor communities in the urban US

Today, SWAT teams are deployed for an increased number of activities and through federal programs, local police forces can amass the tools of war, weapons, tanks, training and other gear.

The connections of the military industrial complex, the prison industrial complex and continued US colonialism both at home and abroad are unmistakable as the US trains side by side with Israeli soldiers and police and the same tear gas being used against Palestinians is the tear gas being used against protestors in Ferguson.

Ali Issa is the field organizer at War Resister’s League in New York City. He is originally from Iowa – among other places – and is co-oordinator of WRL’s campaign to end police militarization, Demilitarize Health and Security. He holds a Master’s in Arabic Studies from the University of Texas at Austin and is the author of Against All Odds: Voices of Popular Struggle in Iraq (2015). Ali is also a member of the community funding committee of the North Star Fund, a foundation that provides grants to grassroots community groups. He likes playing the trumpet and lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Hamid Khan is an organizer with Stop LAPD Spying, a broad coalition raising public awareness, participation, mobilization, action, and building a movement to resist police spying and surveillance.  Hamid will discuss predictive policing and community strategies for resisting spying by law enforcement.

Mohamed Shehk is the Media and Communications Director at Critical Resistance.

Donor Call May 2015: Access to Healthcare and PIC Abolition

Listen to the May 2015 donor call here.

In a time when communities of color are increasingly occupied by police, when Black people are imprisoned at 6 times the rate of white people, it is necessary to address not just the hard-hitting health impacts of the PIC, but the ways that it obstructs healthcare accessLoyd Health Rights are Civil Rights

Using Jenna Loyd’s new book Health Rights are Civil Rights: Peace and Justice Activism in Los Angeles, 1963-1978 as a jumping off point, we will dive into a discussion that approaches prisons and policing as health issues. Jenna Loyd is a CR member based in Milwaukee and facilitated the call.

Misty Rojo is the Communications and Campaign Director for Justice Now, an organization that works with women and transgender people in prison and local communities to build a safe, compassionate world without prisons.  Misty will bring strong knowledge on reproductive health, justice and the struggles against coerced sterilizations in prisons.

Woods DeWitt is a member of Critical Resistance Oakland and will be repping our newly launched Oakland Power Projects (OPP). OPP supports Oakland residents in divesting from policing by investing in practices, relationships, and resources that build community power and wellbeing.  By identifying current harms, amplifying existing resources, and developing new practices that do not rely on policing solutions, OPP reminds us that we can make our families and neighborhoods safe and healthy without relying on the cops.


Our March 2014 donor call featured presentations by four amazing organizers on the manifestations, impacts, and logic of surveillance, as well as how people are organizing and fighting back! Surveillance donor call

Click here to listen to the March Donor Call

Jayden Donahue is a member of Critical Resistance and CR’s representative to the Bay Area Committee to Stop Political Repression (BACSPR).  Jay will discuss the work BACSPR is doing to support activists targeted by the state and the tools the coalition is developing to support activist communities to resist surveillance, infiltration, and similar forms of state repression.

Eric A. Stanley is a scholar, author, film maker, and the co-editor of Captive Genders: Trans Embodiment and the Prison Industrial Complex.  Eric will be talking about the impacts of surveillance on transgender and gender non-conforming communities and strategies for fighting back.

Liz Samuels is an Emergency Medicine Resident at Brown University and also holds a Masters in Public Health.  Liz will be describing some of the ways public health surveillance is used as a tool in service of the prison industrial complex and will raise issues about how the fight for public health can be compromised when that role is not taken seriously.

Hamid Khan is an organizer with Stop LAPD Spying, a broad coalition raising public awareness, participation, mobilization, action, and building a movement to resist police spying and surveillance.  Hamid will discuss predictive policing and community strategies for resisting spying by law enforcement.


Donor Call October 2013: Legal and Grassroots Approaches to Fighting the PIC

On October 4, CR hosted our third Quarterly Donor Call of 2013.  The call explored the opportunities and challenges involved in combining legal and grassroots approaches in our fight against the prison industrial complex.  You can listen to audio from the call here.

joshtempWe were joined by two CR allies:

Soffiyah Elijah of the Correctional Association of New York who reflected on the ways in which legal and grassroots approaches were combined to compel charges against the San Francisco 8 to be dismissed.

Emily Harris of Californians United for a Responsible Budget (CURB) discussed opportunities and challenges involved in the Supreme Court ruling regarding prison crowding in California and its relationship to decades of grassroots struggle to prevent prison expansion in the state.

Donor Call June 2013: Prisoner Hunger Strikes


On June 21, CR hosted the second Quarterly Donor Call of 2013 which focused on prisoner hunger strikes.  During the call donors learned about why CR has committed itself to supporting prisoner hunger strikes, heard about some of the ways that solidarity efforts from outside prisons have helped strikers make gains, and received updates on the pending hunger strikes in California.  You can listen to the audio here.

We were joined by two CR allies:

Sylvia Ryerson of the Central Appalachia Prisoner Support Network ( who discussed the May 2012 hunger strike at Red Onion supermax prison and the ongoing local organizing that emerged from that strike.

Lara Kiswani of the Arab Resource and Organizing Center ( who drew connections between solidarity with Palestinian hunger strikers and California hunger strikers.


Donor Call February 2013: Militarism and the PIC

militarized_police_1On February 15, CR hosted our first Quarterly Donor Call of 2013.  During the call we explored the issue of militarism and the prison industrial complex and featured representatives from some of the organizations with which CR collaborates on the issue. You can listen to the audio here.

The call featured:

Graham Clumpner of Iraq Veterans against the War–a service-member and veteran movement to end militarism and to transform military culture in US society.

Zoe Hammer with Arizona/Sonora Border Coalition, which challenges border militarization and amplifies border voices in US immigration rights and reform efforts.

Sarah Lazare of the Civilian-Soldier Alliance, an organization of civilians working with veterans and active-duty service-members to build a GI resistance movement towards a just foreign policy.

The call was moderated by CR member Jenna Loyd, who is also the co-editor of Beyond Walls and Cages: Prisons, Borders, and Global Crisis.