Many people fighting for Black liberation and against white supremacy view the prison system as both a symptom and a driver of racism in the U.S., activists and scholars told NCR.
"Policing, surveillance [and] imprisonment have with startling uniformity been used to harm Black, brown and Indigenous people," said Dwayne David Paul, a Catholic educator and writer who works for the Collaborative Center for Justice but spoke to NCR in his capacity as a private individual.
In the year since white police officer Derek Chauvin killed George Floyd, a Black man, in May 2020, leaders of activist groups told NCR they've seen surging interest as people nationwide reexamine the roles of prisons and policing.
When it was first founded in 2019, Abolition Apostles, a Christian prison abolitionist group, was local to New Orleans and had no internet presence, said its co-founder, David Brazil. About two years later, it has more than 1,400 members across the country.
This is the first story in a four-part series, Justice Reimagined, that will look at the prison abolition and reform movements, as well as what might work better: restorative justice.
- In his book We Still Here: Pandemic, Policing, Protest and Possibility, Marc Lamont Hill aims to make clear the interconnected structures of oppression that the past year has revealed.
Ryan Fecteau was on a mission when he returned to his old school for a virtual meeting in February. He was pleading for the student government at the Catholic University of America to vote in favor of an LGBTQ club's right to exist.
"I have not been this nervous to speak in years," Fecteau said, as recorded in minutes obtained from the Feb. 22 meeting.
That's a surprising statement from the speaker of the Maine House of Representatives. But before he was the speaker, he was the president of CUAllies, the Washington, D.C., school's underground club for queer students.
When Fecteau graduated, CUAllies was in the same position it had been when he arrived his freshman year. But when he returned to his alma mater more than 10 years later, it was déjà vu. He was back for a repeat vote by current student leaders, again fighting a small battle in the Catholic Church's debate over gay rights.
- Marriage preparation is a job for the laity, argues David Steinkraus. Laypeople who have experience in marriage are best equipped to understand and advise others about what they'll encounter, and how they can grow in relationship to each other and to God.
- In his Memorial Day column, Michael Sean Winters says that each generation faces new challenges, but none have been forced to confront the kind of internal, existential threat to democracy that President Abraham Lincoln confronted. Until now.
- For Global Sisters Report, Sr. Lilian Atieno writes from Kenya about a webinar workshop on conflict management that shed some light on overcoming the challenges that women religious face when experiencing friction with others in shared community and ministry life.