The StoryTelling & Organizing Project (STOP) is a community project started by Creative Interventions. Through STOP, Creative Interventions supported numerous organizations internationally to collect and share stories about everyday people taking action to end interpersonal violence. Critical Resistance was a proud partner organization supporting STOP for years.
Critical Resistance helped STOP gather stories about community-based interventions to interpersonal violence. Stories focused on lessons around:
- Actions taken to stop, address or prevent interpersonal violence
- Community-based or collective action — involving family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, community members
- Actions that do not rely on social services, police or child protective services
What we found is that people have many stories about things they do to stop violence without relying on the state, or specifically the tools of the prison industrial complex (PIC) like policing, imprisonment, surveillance, punishment or child protective services. Some actions of accountability are small things, some spontaneous, and some are big or involve lots of planning and lots of people.
In addition to helping collect and transcribe stories, including interviewing story-tellers, Critical Resistance helped with the distribution and outreach of the project and its resources, hosting numerous Story Telling & Listening sessions to spark conversations of abolition in different communities, as well as sharing the transcripts of stories with prisoners through Critical Resistance’s prisoner mail programs and our inside-outside newspaper The Abolitionist.
Critical Resistance also has used STOP in the organization’s political education materials. CR Oakland started a study group on Community Accountability so we can continue to deepen our understanding of what approaches people are taking to collectively intervene in harm without using imprisonment or policing. As a part of this project, we decided to listen to a story from the Story Telling and Organizing Project each time we meet, to look at the dynamic, creative, and organic ways that communities come together to address various types of violence. The STOP project has been a really important component of our study, because the stories show how both formally organized communities such as political organizations, recreational groups, or spiritual community, and informal communities like neighbors can come together in transformative struggle to address harm.
As we work to dismantle the PIC, concrete, everyday examples of the world we want to build serve as important inspiration, and a reminder of the practicality of abolition as a strategy. In studying these stories and other community accountability work, the members of the study group hope to increase our capacity to intervene in harm within our own communities, and within the community we share as an organization.
Listen and learn from these stories on the Creative Interventions website: creative-interventions.org/