A weekend of events to strengthen the movement against the prison industrial complex. Nov. 8-12, 2017.




In this period of astonishing energy and public discussion about abolition, Critical Resistance (CR) is excited to have built with organizations and communities in Chicago that are fighting to address and eliminate the harms of the interlocking systems of policing, imprisonment, and surveillance—what we call the prison industrial complex (PIC).  20 years since the first Critical Resistance conference and our early campaigns, CR remains committed to building a stronger abolitionist movement nationally. We are humbled and glad to have work with communities in Chicago as part of this effort. Through a weekend of events, workshops and political dialogue in 2017, through “Chicago for Abolition,” we worked to build stronger organizational relationships and a stronger shared understanding of PIC abolition and how we practice and advance this cause, locally and nationally.



Chicago partner organizations:
Assata’s Daughters, Black on Both Sides, BYP100, Chicago Community Bond Fund, Chicago Freedom School, Education for Liberation, FIST – Formerly Incarcerated Students Together, Free Write Arts and Literacy, Love & Protect, Mijente, Nehemiah Trinity Rising, OCAD (Occupied Communities Against Deportation), People’s Education Movement, Teachers for Social Justice, and Trinity United Church of Christ.


Thank you to the Chicago for Abolition sponsoring organizations!
Broadway Youth Center, Chicago National Lawyers Guild (NLG), Chicago Torture Justice Memorials, Decarcerate Marion County/No New Jail Coalition, Familia Trans Queer Liberation, For the People Artists Collective, Illinois Deaths in Custody Project, Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, Jewish Voice for Peace, John Marshall Law School- National Lawyers Guild, Lifted Voices, Moms United Against Violence and Incarceration (MUAVI), National Black Food & Justice Alliance, PASO- West Suburban Action Project, People’s Response Team, Project NIA, The Next Movement, Transformative Justice Law Project of Illinois,  and Village Leadership Academy.

  To foster an inclusive environment, this summit was completely free to attendees.



Wednesday, November 8 – No Easy Victories: Fighting for Abolition

A Conversation with Angela Y. Davis and Ruthie Wilson Gilmore, moderated by Beth Richie


Pre-Event Youth Workshop 6-6:50pm: Join Assata’s Daughters for a workshop before the “No Easy Victories: Fighting for Abolition” Angela Davis, Ruthie Gilmore and Beth Richie event. This workshop will be a great way to introduce young people to the evening’s themes and speakers.


Thursday, November 9 – Abolition and Rethinking Education

Description:  Organizing to get police out of your school? Working on responses to harm in the classroom and staffroom that do not involve criminalization? Want a curriculum that creates possibilities to imagine and build a world without prisons and borders? Building to protect students and families from immigration enforcement (ICE)? Come to this panel discussion with K-12 educators, youth advocates and abolitionist organizers that will deepen learning between and across these constituencies and identify needed tools and resources.

Location: First Defense Legal Aid, 601 S. California Ave, Chicago, IL 61612
Date: Thursday Nov. 9
Time: 6:30-8:30 PM


  • Ayanna Banks Harris – Chicago Math Teacher and Dean of Instruction, Love & Protect
  • Beatriz Beckford – MomsRising
  • Cyriac Mathew – Uplift Community High School
  • Muhammad Sankari – Arab American Action Network
  • Moderator: Charity Tolliver, Black on Both Sides/BYP 100

Event partnering organizations: Black on Both Sides/BYP 100, Chicago Freedom School, Critical Resistance, Education for Liberation, FIST – Formerly Incarcerated Students Together, First Defense Legal Aid, Love & Protect, People’s Education Movement, Teachers for Social Justice



Friday, November 10 – Beyond One Chicago: Resisting the Divisions of the Prison Industrial Complex  

Description: An event on resisting criminalization, gang databases and policing. More info to come soon….

Location: UIC – Student Services Building (1200 W Harrison St., Chicago, IL 60607) Conference Rooms B & C
Date: Friday Nov. 10
Time: Doors open at 6pm, Start at 6:30

Event partnering organizations: BYP 100, Critical Resistance, Occupied Communities Against Deportation (OCAD)


Saturday, November 11 – Fight to Win: Shrinking Prisons & Jails / Strengthening Communities

Description: Fight to Win: Shrinking Prisons and Jails / Strengthening Our Communities will be a workshop-style event build sharpen our knowledge of organizing against imprisonment and strengthen strategies to fight for a world without cages. We will explore and discuss successful campaigns around stopping jail construction, ending money bail, advocating for prison closure, and for supporting prisoner-led struggles.

Location: Trinity United Church of Christ (400 95th St, Chicago, IL 60628)
Date: Saturday Nov. 11
Time: 12pm-2pm
Facebook event here. Please share widely!

Event partnering organizations: Chicago Community Bond Fund, Critical Resistance, Free Write Arts and Literacy, Nehemiah Trinity Rising, and Trinity United Church of Christ




“No Easy Victories: Fighting for Abolition” Nov. 8

About the Speakers:

Angela Y. Davis is Distinguished Professor Emerita of History of Consciousness and Feminist Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Davis came to national attention after being removed from her teaching position at UCLA because of her activism and membership in the Communist Party, USA. In 1970 she was placed on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List on false charges. During her sixteen-month incarceration, a massive international “Free Angela Davis” campaign was organized, leading to her acquittal in 1972. Today Prof. Davis remains an advocate of prison abolition and has developed a powerful critique of racism in the criminal justice system. She is the author of many books, including her most recent collection, Freedom Is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement (City Lights Open Media).

Ruthie Wilson Gilmore is Director of the Center for Place, Culture, and Politics, and Professor of Geography, at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Author of Golden Gulag: Prisons, Surplus, Crisis, and Opposition in Globalizing California, she is a founding-collective member of California Prison Moratorium Project, Critical Resistance, Californians United for a Responsible Budget, and many other social justice organizations.

Beth E. Richie is Professor and Head, Department of Criminology, Law, and Justice at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and author of Arrested Justice: Black Women, Violence and America’s Prison Nation. A founding member of INCITE!: Women of Color Against Violence, Beth is a beloved scholar, advocate and activist who has inspired new generations of anti-violence organizers, Black feminists and abolitionists.

Photos above from: Assata’s Daughters, BYP100, and Chicago Community Bond Fund.