It is hard for the old slaveholding spirit to die, but die it must.” — Sojourner Truth

As we witness the violence of racism creep steadily into our school boards, our libraries and into the discourse of our legislators, it’s important to galvanize behind ideals that are more powerful and more compelling. 

I’ve never been interested in fighting ignorance; I think it’s far better to light a way out of it.  And over the past few weeks I have found solace and kinship in the movement known as Abolition.

Building upon the efforts of Frederick Douglas, Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman and many more, the Abolitionist movement of today speaks to the heart of humankind. Like its forbearers it is unapologetic in its declaration for freedom and courageous in its truth-telling.

And despite the hardships and the cruelty that has been the legacy of colonialism and capitalism to all marginalized people, Abolition is a Phoenix and it’s on the rise.

Abolitionism today calls for creativity as we emerge from the darkness of separation. And perhaps in the most dignified of ways it calls for the celebration of humanity and insists on the importance of joy.

You will find Abolitionists in our schools, creating safe environments for all children. You will find them in the fight to replace penal punishment with compassion. 

You will find them resurrecting communities through mutual aid and harm reduction.

You will not find them in discussions on reform. You see, Abolitionists understand the phrase “None of us are free until we are all free”*, and reform is an illusive coward that allows racism, sexism, and other unnatural qualities to continue.

So, if you are looking for a bit of fresh air, I suggest you get to know the Abolitionists of our time. Dr. Bettina Love’s book, “We Want To Do More Than Survive” is a good starting point. 

  • This quote is attributed to Emma Lazarus, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Maya Angelou and perhaps others. It is a common understanding of compassionate human hearts.

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