Everyday abolition in practice at the Black Panther Party Breakfast Program
Everyday abolition in practice at the Black Panther Party Breakfast Program

Everyday Abolition

Abolition ends or stops something, typically something harmful.  At the very same time it initiates something else, something new.  Even before an alternative to the old thing is introduced, something new has manifested.  The absence of the former thing is inevitably the start of a new thing that is absent of the former thing.

Abolition is a verb, a practice.  The act of abolition generates an abundance of new opportunities.  It is alive with possibility!  It is presence.  It requires our attention and care.  It forces us to think wide and imagine.  What does a just world look like?  What does mass peace feel like?

Abolition happens every day.  It awakens each morning in the heart of the steadfast political prisoner.  It dances in pan-African ideology.  It takes strides in the dismantling of social and cultural binaries.  It is alive! It is embodied in unapologetically full human beings with intersectional identities who are perceived as less than human beings because of identity.

Abolition is now.  I witnessed it in a Black Muslim American femme rapper from Trinidad.  She wore her hijab under a bucket hat.  I hear it in discourse that debunks the fallacy of White supremacy and disavows ownership through colonization

Abolition is the cry of the climate.  Scorched earth, a remnant of wildfires that burn like fossil fuels.  How much deforestation can we take before we suffocate?!  What is sustainable energy under Capitalism?  Someone owns the land, someone owns the water, who owns the air?  Sit in silence and hear the sounds of nature crying.

Abolition thrives in normalization instead of accommodation.  Inclusion is perverse in that it is the act of including whom of which is there and has been there all along, but denied entry and full participation as if they did not exist.  Abolitionist inclusion does not deny existence in the first place.

Abolition is a path forward.  

Abolition is the only way.   

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Evelyn Reynolds is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Parkland College in Champaign, Illinois where she has taught for 11 years. She is an activist, former member of the Strategy Table of the Black Lives Matter Global Network, and currently a member of the All African People’s Revolutionary Party. Evelyn engages in a variety of anti-carceral expansion and abolition initiatives in her local community.