Dear friends and fellow travelers,
The challenges, loss and hardship of 2020 motivated us to organize with urgency, responsiveness and solidarity. As health, economic, and political crises escalated, abolition spread across the popular imagination with increased fervor. We witnessed and participated in vibrant mass and virtual mobilizations with a broad range of poignant demands: an end to the violence of policing, the redistribution of police budgets, release for people in cages vulnerable to Covid-19, and a reinvigorated insistence on state responsibility for housing, healthcare and economic protections.
In 2020 Critical Resistance (CR) and our coalition partners won two significant campaigns against policing and imprisonment at the local level: the dismantling of the Portland, OR Police Bureau’s anti-gang taskforce; and the closure of the toxic jail at 850 Bryant in San Francisco, CA (see page 5: Campaigns and Projects 2020 Highlights). Both of these campaigns were years in the making with movement partners, and the climate of 2020 proved favorable to push forward bold demands and win concrete gains.
The organization and our membership was busy at work across chapters on a number of other campaigns and projects, as well as political education and membership development; though Covid-19 had us physically separated, we were politically moving together.
As we enter into 2021, we want to share with you a roundup of political education resources, materials and more from 2020. We know that time moves fast these days, and a combination of neoliberal conditions, Covid-19 and virtual explosion of online calls to action, social media, and video events can make updates and materials from six months ago seem like the distant past. However, we know there is value in reflecting on and marking our efforts collectively, so we offer this 2020 Annual Report as a compelling recap and strategic trove. We hope you will use these tools, refer to the lessons, and share them with your networks.
Thank you for supporting Critical Resistance and helping us make abolition irresistible. Despite the odds, we joined forces with old and new partners and movements in 2020; together we shifted power away from the prison industrial complex and towards our communities.
We see many opportunities on the horizon for 2021. We must build on the movements that exist, develop new and creative alliances, and mobilize the new and unprecedented energy for liberation. Together, we are organizing to ensure that we make our aspirations —and our campaign demands— a reality.
Please continue to support CR so we can keep advancing abolition as a practical and irresistible strategy.
Jess Heaney, Mohamed Shehk and Woods Ervin, CR National Co-Directors
Shirley Leslie, Development Coordinator, and CR National Fundraisers