Prison industrial complex abolition as a political ideology and practice has opened up more space for our movements to make powerful gains against policing, imprisonment, and state violence, especially as “abolition” and demands to defund policing and other carceral institutions enter more into mainstream conversations. Grassroots campaign organizing is one of the strongest ways we can work to dismantle these systems.
But how do we build robust, sustained campaigns and coalitions that can build power? What do abolitionist strategies look like? How do we win our campaign demands?
Join us for a virtual event on Thursday, June 29 that will feature seasoned organizers who have waged successful abolitionist campaigns against policing, imprisonment, and sentencing.
Speakers include Rachel Herzing, representing Critical Resistance organizing with Stop the Injunctions Coalition’s campaign in Oakland, CA; Judah Schept, representing the fight to stop a new federal prison in Letcher County, KY; and Sharlyn Grace, representing the effort to pass strong bail reform in Illinois.
Thursday, June 29, 2023
from 6pm-8pm ET / 3pm-5pm PT
On Zoom: RSVP here for the link (bit.ly/AbolitionistCampaigns)
*ASL Interpretation will be provided*
About the Speakers:
- Rachel Herzing is an organizer, activist, and advocate fighting the violence of surveillance, policing and imprisonment. Rachel was executive director of Center for Political Education, a resource for political organizations on the left and progressive social movements; co-director of Critical Resistance, a national organization dedicated to abolishing the prison industrial complex; and director of research and training at Creative Interventions a community resource that developed interventions to interpersonal harm that do not rely on policing, imprisonment, or traditional social services.
- Judah Schept is a Professor in the School of Justice Studies at Eastern Kentucky University. Grounded in the interdisciplinary field of Critical Prison Studies, his work examines the history, political economy, and cultural logics of the carceral state. He is the author of Coal, Cages, Crisis: The Rise of the Prison Economy in Central Appalachia (New York University Press, 2022) and Progressive Punishment: Job Loss, Jail Growth, and the Neoliberal Logic of Carceral Expansion (New York University Press, 2015). He is co-editor of The Jail is Everywhere: Fighting the New Geography of Mass Incarceration (Verso Books, 2024). His writing can also be found in journals such as Radical Criminology, Theoretical Criminology, Punishment and Society, Social Justice, Crime, Media, Culture, The Boston Review, Inquest, and The New York Times. Judah serves as the book review editor for Social Justice: A Journal of Crime, Conflict, and World Order. He has been active with numerous organizations and campaigns centered on decarceration, decriminalization, and abolition. He holds a PhD from Indiana University and a BA from Vassar College.
- Sharlyn Grace (she/her) is the Senior Policy Advisor at the Law Office of the Cook County Public Defender, where she helps develop and implement the Public Defender’s strategic goals. Prior her current role, Sharlyn was a founding member of Chicago Community Bond Fund and served as CCBF’s first Executive Director until early 2021. Before joining CCBF full-time, she was the Senior Criminal Justice Policy Analyst at Chicago Appleseed. In those roles, Sharlyn was part of launching and helping lead the Coalition to End Money Bond in 2016 and the Illinois Network for Pretrial Justice in 2019. In 2021, their joint statewide legislative campaign culminated in the passage of the Pretrial Fairness Act, which will make Illinois the first state to completely eliminate money bail.