Becoming Abolitionists: Police, Protest, and the Pursuit of Freedom
In the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd and the resurgence of Black Lives Matter the call for the abolition of the police became a central demand for the movement. In this extraordinary, revelatory memoir, Derecka Purnell recounts her own path towards abolitionism. Her story starts in St. Louis, where she was often unhoused and experienced food insecurity, and where calling 911 was often the only option in a crisis. She describes her political awakening and activism through watching the aftermaths of events including Hurricane Katrina, the murder of Trayvon Martin and the uprising in her hometown of Ferguson following the death of Michael Brown. Through Harvard Law School she comes to see that that solution can be found not just in the debate on better policing but the end of the policing itself.Through her own story she makes a powerful, passionate argument for rethinking a fair, equal society where there is no place for state violence and racial repression. Purnell confronts the history of police as a means to capture runaway slaves and uphold white supremacy, to the over-policing and murder of Black people in today's cities. She argues that the police are doing exactly what they were created to do and, in response, imagines new systems that work to address the root causes of violence instead. A revolutionary book about the hope for freedom, Becoming Abolitionists will inspire readers to imagine and create new communities that can guarantee safety, equality, and real justice for all.
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