Key Takeaways

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    Session #4 Key Takeaways:
    1. We must have imagination. Often, society tells us not to question the status quo, sometimes making some believe that radical change is not possible. As the #DefundThePolice article states, “The pitfall is solely on us. We must be crystal clear: What kinds of investments do we want in our communities? How are we identifying the programs we want officials to invest in instead of policing?”
    2. It’s important to produce specific demands early on, specifically when city budgets are being created.
    3. Change is possible. For example, “over 25 cities canceled contracts with local police departments operating in schools, saving an additional $35 million.”
    4. I further learned the difference between an abolitionist mindset and a reformist mindset.
    5. In addition to concentrating on law enforcement agencies, #DefundPolice focuses on defunding jails, prisons, immigration enforcement, detention centers, and more.
    6. Society often attempts to silence the influential leadership of Black women. As the Criminal Justice Reform in Florida explains, “As Gladys Washington put it, “When it comes to race, when you’re talking about mostly Black-led organizations—because those are the ones that are doing the significant civic engagement work that could potentially lead to things like a ballot initiative and electoral change— [they] are Black-led and mostly female-led in the South.”
    7. Bipartisanship is possible. For example, “The Yes On 2 campaign was a bipartisan effort. Louisiana is not a ‘ballot initiative state,’ so in order to have a citizen-initiated constitutional amendment make it to the ballot, it needs approval of 60% of the legislature.”


    These readings were both incredibly inspiring, but also brought up a lot of really personal stuff for me. The first reading reminded me of my anarchist days as a teenager. Aging sort of made me feel like I was naive back then and unrealistic. And maybe I was. But the older I get, the more aware I am of how capitalism is just a total disaster. It’s kind of like the government structure that upholds white supremacy and the patriarchy. I’m not going to get into detail about ways of governing, but I will say that the idea to “create conditions that enable everyone to thrive,” makes a lot of sense. The role of government should absolutely be “ensuring every individual has the resources and conditions to reach their highest human potential and on creating a society based on mutual accountability, passionate reciprocity, and collective liberation.” But how do we get there? This brings me to the second reading.
    The second reading really made me question myself. If I’m being honest, it reminded me of my failings. Reading about all these amazing people doing so much amazing work was so exciting. It made me think of all the really cool jobs I see posted on that I never apply for because I don’t think I can support myself and my child on the listed salaries. And that made me think of my own complacency in the system of white supremacy that I clearly benefit from at the expense of other people. And, again, how fucked up capitalism is. I’m still in the process of, well, processing actual words to describe what’s going on in my head after reading this article. It’s going to take some time and a whole lot more reflection.

    Andreya she/hers

    Session #4 – Key Takeaways

    The Demand is Still #DefundThePolice

    This was an absolute distinguished read for me personally, being so close to the #DefundThePolice movement on the ground, and in policy.

    * One of the terms that has really stuck with me profoundly throughout this process and movement, has also been a “major key” – as DJ Khaled would say.

    •Lack of Imagination – In retrospect, being creative, thinking outside the box, imagining possibilities such as “what if”, are exactly what is needed when thinking about what the future, Criminal Justice reforms, policy changes, and most of all… what could abolition look like in an improved world?? This is where more imagination is needed. It’s going to take an army of freethinkers to dismantle the system, and PIC. Defunding police, and #NoNewJails is a start!

    What really captivated my attention
    most in this read, was how Seattle CHOSE to cutback on police, and reduce the amount of police, and are still reducing in 2021. This is what we call #DefundThePolice cutting down the inflating police budgets!

    •MEASURE J – This was really special to see in this read, being part of the Measure J family. My colleague wrote the majority of this initiative. We were told we could never do something like reduce police budgets, and take those funds and redistribute them to the community. We are in our 1st year of implementation, where community based organizations will soon start receiving funds. Measure J writes this grandfathered process into the future. We look forward to how much money we will invest in community, alternatives to policing/incarceration next round in 2022.

    Reinfrachising Voters – Here in California, in 2020 we passed Prop 17 which was an amendment to the constitution to reinfranchise disenfranchised people. The idea for this bill was started behind prison walls in San Quentin by co-member Rahsaan Thomas who completed a survey for people in prison which asked for ideas of what ways people could feel that they were part of their communities, as they were returning home. We much later into the bill process, looked at the Yes on 2 Campaign. Reinfranchising people should be automatic, nationwide.

    Andrew Garcia

    I found the readings to be both interesting and inspiring. More so, I found it inspiring to read some of your responses and the connections you made to the reading. I found it very awesome and I feel honored to be in the same cohort as you all. To second what Rebecca said, I also acknowledge just how terrible the capitalist system is in our society. In theory, there are definitely aspects in which this system seems beneficial. However, in practice, we often see how this system is designed to maintain the status quo.

    These readings did really help me gather some information that I feel will be useful for me post-JPN. These readings also furthered the discussion of defunding the police, and I liked how it brought to light the other efforts that the #DefundPolice movement is doing, such as their work in jails and prisons. I truly gained a lot of information from these readings, and I am thankful for the experience.

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