The movement to abolish prisons, policing, and all forms of gendered violence that they produce and... is led by a broad constellation of organizations and activists across time. Below are some organizations and key leaders that get a shout out in the Abolition Feminisms volumes:
Abolition Feminisms, Volume 1: Organizing, Survival, and Transformative Practice Contributor Bios
molly ackhurst (Birkbeck College, SurvivorsUK, Act Build Change) has a practice-based background having worked in sexual violence support for nearly a decade. They love to think about how to break imaginative strangleholds, and currently exist as an activist/writer/facilitator specialising in creative and transformative approaches to trauma and justice.
Anne-lise Ah-fat (Undercurrent Vic, Narrm letter writing to people in prison, Radio A and A, Incendium Radical Library, Healing through Arts) is a community organiser and facilitator living on the stolen land of the Wurundjeri & Bunurong peoples. She loves to reflect on and practice transformative justice in communities she is part of. Anne-lise supports people who cause harm in journeys of accountability and change, and believes that individual and social transformation can only occur collectively.
Alisa Bierria is a Black feminist philosopher and an assistant professor in the Department of Gender Studies at UCLA. Her writing can be found in numerous scholarly journals and public anthologies, including her co-edited volume, Community Accountability: Emerging Movements to Transform Violence, a special issue of Social Justice. She has been an advocate within the feminist anti-violence movement for over 25 years, including co-founding Survived & Punished, a national abolitionist organization that advocates for the decriminalization of survivors of domestic and sexual violence.
Asantewaa Boykin San Diego, CA native, Emergency RN, daughter of Valerie Boykin and granddaughter of Bertha Brandy. Her poetry combines her love of words, storytelling, and resistance. Exploring topics like; space-travel, black-femme militancy,& motherhood, which describes her first full length poetry collection, “Love, Lyric and Liberation.” Asantewaa is co-founder of APTP (Anti Police - Terror Project) an organization committed to the eradication of police terror in all of its forms. Along with being a dedicated nurse she is also a founding member of the Capital City Black Nurses Association. Asantewaa along with a brave group of organizers and medical professionals developed Mental Health First or MH FIRST a mobile mental health crisis response team aimed at minimizing police contact with those who are in the midst of a mental health crisis. While her greatest honor is being the mother of her son Ajani and bonus daughter Aryana and granddaughter Lilith.
Melanie Brazzell (What really makes us safe? Project, University of California, Santa Barbara) is a transformative justice researcher and practitioner who has worked in both the U.S. and Germany. As a PhD student in sociology, they explore participatory action research as a movement building tool.
Jakeya Caruthers is Assistant Professor of English & Africana Studies at Drexel University. Her research attends to black political aesthetics within 20th and 21st century cultural production as well as race, gender, sexuality, and state discipline. Jakeya is a principal investigator of an inside-outside research initiative with Survived & Punished California that maps pathways between surviving gender violence, incarceration, and radical possibilities for survivor release. She is also collaborating on a digital archive of feminist decriminalization campaigns waged over the last 50 years.
Lauren Caulfield or Loz (Abolitionist & Transformative Justice Centre collective, Ban Spit Hoods campaign) is an immigrant/occupier living on the unceded land of the Wurundjeri People of the Kulin Nation. She is a community organiser and anti-violence worker/researcher working at the intersection of interpersonal and state-sanctioned gender violence, and coordinates the Policing Family Violence: Changing the Story project. She deeply believes in the creative, resistive and generative power of communities.
Esmat Elhalaby is a historian of West and South Asia. He teaches at the University of Toronto.
Chris Finley is a member of the Colville Confederated Tribes located in what is now called Eastern Washington state. She received her Ph.D. in American Culture from the University of Michigan and is a co-editor and contributor to Queer Indigenous Studies: Critical Interventions in Theory, Politics and Literature(University of Arizona Press, 2011). Currently, she lives on Tongva land and is an Assistant Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California.
Maria Gaspar: Disappearance Suit is an ongoing series that examines marginalized identities in contemporary American culture and beyond. Maria Gaspar, a first-generation Mexican American from an immigrant family, stages performances that contend with the relationship between the politicized body and rural, remote, or romantic landscapes. Gaspar creates disappearance suits for specific locations and enacts a series of performative gestures where her camouflaged figure disappears and reappears.
Joseph Hankins is Associate Professor of Anthropology and former Director of the Critical Gender Studies program at the University of California, San Diego. He has been a member of the Los Angeles chapter of the California Coalition for Women Prisoners since 2016.
Whess Harman is Carrier Wit’at, a nation amalgamated by the federal government under the Lake Babine Nation. They graduated from the emily carr university’s BFA program in 2014 and are currently living and working on the territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh as the curator at grunt gallery. Their multidisciplinary practice includes beading, illustration, text, poetry and curation. As a mixed-race, trans/non-binary artist they work to find their way through a tasty plethora of some kind of undiagnosed attention deficit disorder, colonial bullshit and queer melancholy. To the best of their patience, they do this with humour and a carefully mediated cynicism that the galleries go hog wild for.
April Harris is a writer who is incarcerated at the California Institution for Women in Chino, CA. April has years of experience advocating for the health, well-being, and freedom of incarcerated people. She has been interviewed by LA Weekly, The Guardian, San Francisco Chronicle, Washington Post, and Solitary Watch, among other outlets. She is also a long-time member of the California Coalition for Women Prisoners.
Tori Hong: I am an emerging 2D visual artist, activist and arts organizer. Out of my make-shift art studios, I create bold and vibrant paintings, drawings and acrylic murals conveying complex and reciprocal relationships. I depict what we (wish to) abolish, who we spend time with, and what we make with our hands and hearts. I am, without apologies, a queer Hmong and Korean American cis woman. I am inspired by my interwoven identities and my love for this world. I root myself in my 5+ years as a community organizer and 3 years as an independent artist. My artistic vision is to strengthen the relationship between art and ancestors. Through my art, I build on my connections to my late grandparents and to the Hmong and Korean people who came before me... and to those who will come after me. My art intends to inspire, support and challenge others to explore their own ancestral, present & future ancestral connections. I see this work as contributing to the cultural and artistic legacies of my people. I view the act of creating cultures, homes, histories, and stories as a queer feminist endeavor, and it is a task I am humbled to take on.
Eileen Jimenez: Eileen's mother is Maria Cruz Jimenez, her grandmother is Eloisa Saavedra and her great grandmother is Isidora Saavedra, matriarchs of the Otomi people. She is an indigenous queer artist currently living in occupied Duwamish Territory (Seattle, WA). In her art you will see her Mexican and Otomi stories - you see the visual representation of her soul, and the colors, the culture, the visions and the dreams that live there. As an indigenous leader, community member, and as an artist, everything she does and creates is influenced by her many intersecting identities and lived experiences. She creates the art, the structures, the programming and the educational experiences she wishes she and her community would have seen and had access to as a girl from the 'hood. In her current body of work you will see her ongoing journey to heal and to share her family’s and community’s stories. She aims to create pieces that embody Indigenous life, joy, resilience and relationship to Land.
Lacey Johnson’s art practice synthesizes the esoteric, Goddexx art, and the collective unconscious. She works with the radical creative potential of transformative justice and translates it into visual art that is part pedagogy, part manifesto, and part Bene Gesserits at a rave.
Mimi Kim(INCITE!, Creative Interventions, California State University, Long Beach) is a long-time advocate and activist working on issues of gender-based violence in communities of color. She is a co-founder of INCITE! and the founder of Creative Interventions, an organization committed to collective, liberatory and non-criminalizing transformative justice and community accountability strategies. Mimi is an Associate Professor of Social Work at California State University, Long Beach.
Victoria Law is a freelance writer and editor focused on the intersections between mass incarceration, gender and resistance. She is the author of Resistance Behind Bars: The Struggles of Incarcerated Women and "Prisons Make Us Safer": And 20 Other Myths About Mass Incarceration and co-author of Prison By Any Other Name.
My name is Tabitha Lean, or as my ancestors know me, Budhin Mingaan. I am a First Nations woman, of Gunditjmara descent, in this land they call Australia and I have spent two years in prison in this state, two years on Home detention and now I am on parole, or as I call it, open air prison.
Colby Lenz is a long-term advocate with the California Coalition for Women Prisoners (CCWP) and the Transgender Advocacy Group (TAG), and a co-founder of Survived & Punished, a national organizing project to end the criminalization of survivors of sexual and domestic violence. Colby has 20 years of experience in grassroots organizing, community-engaged research, and policy advocacy addressing the intersections of criminalization, incarceration, and gender-based violence. Colby is the Deputy Director of Policy and Community Research at the UCLA Center for the Study of Women.
Shirley Leslie(Critical Resistance): I am the National Development Coordinator at Critical Resistance. After having been radicalized over the past few years, I searched for a political home and, thankfully, found CR. Recent heavy involvement in a local jail campaign was my first direct organizing experience, and it showed me the importance of community political education and involvement, self-determination, and fervent organizing and advocacy for community needs to be met.
Brooke Lober is a teacher, writer, and social movement scholar who is currently researching legacies of antiracist and anti-Zionist feminisms in the Bay Area. Brooke’s writing is published in the scholarly journals Feminist Formations, Women’s Studies, the Journal of Lesbian Studies, Meridians: Feminism, Race, Transnationalism, and on numerous websites of radical culture.
Meenakshi Mannoe(Pivot, Vancouver Prison Justice Day Committee, Defund 604 Network) is a settler of Indian and Surinamese descent living on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh peoples in so-called Vancouver, BC. She works as the Criminalization & Policing Campaigner at Pivot Legal Society, and organizes with local groups to dismantle colonial, carceral violence in its many forms.
CeCe McDonald is an artist, organizer, and activist committed to dismantling the PIC and winning the liberation of all oppressed people. As a Black trans woman, and a survivor of white supremacist and transphobic violence and the PIC, these issues are core to CeCe’s life. While incarcerated, CeCe’s evocative and thoughtful writing inspired an international community of activists to support #FreeCeCe and movements for trans liberation and prison abolition.
Erica R. Meiners (Critical Resistance, Prison Neighborhood Art & Education Project, Northeastern Illinois University) is a writer, educator and organizer. Her work includes a co-edited anthology The Long Term: Resisting Life Sentences, Working Towards Freedom(Haymarket Books, 2018)and TheFeminist and the Sex Offender (Verso Press, 2020) which explores feminist culpability and resistance to the mounting sex offender regime. She is also a co-author of the book, Abolition. Feminisms. Now. (Haymarket Books, 2022).
Kelsey Mohamed(Cradle Community, Community Action on Prison Expansion) is a London-based feminist abolitionist organiser, facilitator and transformative justice practitioner, focusing on campaigns against state, domestic and sexual violence. In 2021 Cradle Community published Brick by Brick: How We Build a World Without Prisons, a grassroots organising manual for abolition in the UK.
Gloria Negrete-Lopez (she/her/ella) is a Doctoral Candidate in Gender and Women’s Studies with a Minor in Mexican-American Studies at the University of Arizona. Her dissertation, “Imagining Freedom: Criminalization, Visuality, and the Circulation of Abolitionist Messages,” focuses on the need to abolish the criminalization of migration. Research interests include: Gender Studies, Latinx Studies, Visual/Cultural Studies, Migration Studies, and Critical Prison Studies.
Ky Peterson is a trans advocate who served 9 years in prison for self-defense. During his incarceration, he fought for trans prisoner’s rights to medical care. Ky is vibrant, intelligent, and uncommonly kind with a genuinely loving nature, and a passion for promoting Human Rights and Transgender Equality. In 2017, Ky co-founded Freedom Overground with Pinky Shear. Today, Ky shares his story of courage and perseverance with TGNC communities across the country.
Minh-Ha T. Pham is a researcher and writer whose work focuses on fashion labor under global and digital capitalism. She’s published in a wide range of scholarly and mainstream publications including The New Republic, The Nation, New York Times, Jacobin, and The Atlantic. She’s also the author of Asians Wear Clothes on the Internet: Race, Gender, and the Work of Personal Style Blogging (Duke University Press, 2015) and Why We Can’t Have Nice Things: Social Media’s Influence on Fashion, Ethics, and Property (Duke University Press, 2022).
Amanda Priebe is a neurodivergent white settler artist originally from Amiskwaciwâskahikan (Edmonton), Treaty 6 Territory. She is a lifelong gardener, wild swimmer and perpetual student of the plant kingdom. In her current home of Berlin, she organizes across colonial borders with housing justice movements and other projects of the radical imagination. Her art practice seeks to support many self-organized groups and independent community projects, and her work can be found in radical journals, books, magazines, social movement spaces and hopefully, on the streets near you.
Romarilyn Ralston identifies as a black feminist abolitionist with incarceration experience. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Gender & Feminist Studies from Pitzer College and a Master’s degree in Liberal Arts from Washington University in St. Louis after 23 years of incarceration. She was the program director of Project Rebound at California State Fullerton and chaired the CSU Project Rebound Consortium Policy & Advocacy Committee. She is a long-time organizer with the California Coalition for Women Prisoners and serves on the leadership committee. Romarilyn sits on several national boards, including the Alliance for Higher Education in Prison and Freedom Reads. In 2022, she received a full pardon from Governor Gavin Newsom.
Cristy C. Road is a Cuban-American artist and musician who uses illustration, writing, and punk rock music as her preferred mediums. Blending political principles with gender and cultural identity— Road testifies to the beauty of the imperfect. Her career began in 1996, when writing the Green’Zine; a self-published fanzine. Green’zine evolved from a punk rock fanzine with interviews and reviews to a personal manifesto about survival and healing from trauma. She published 14 Green’zines and has contributed countless illustrations to punk rock, literature, and political organizations. She’s since published 3 graphic novels which tackle gender, sexuality, cultural identity, and healing from trauma: Indestructible (2005), Bad Habits (2008), and Spit and Passion (2013). Her most recent project is the Next World Tarot (2017, 2019) a tarot card deck envisioning a world based on radical redefinitions of love and social justice. Aside from creating art, Road is a songwriter and guitarist. She currently fronts Choked Up, and fronted The Homewreckers from 2008-2016. She lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.
Favianna Rodriguez is an interdisciplinary artist, cultural strategist, and social justice activist based in Oakland, California. Her art and praxis address migration, gender justice, climate change, racial equity, and sexual freedom. Her signature mark-making embodies the perspective of a first-generation American Latinx artist with Afro-Latinx roots who grew up in Oakland, California during the era of the war on drugs and the birth of Hip Hop. Favianna's practice includes visual art, public art, writing, cultural organizing and power building. In addition to her expansive studio practice, she is the co-founder and president of The Center for Cultural Power, a national organization that empowers artists to disrupt the status quo and ignite change at the intersection of culture and social justice.
Ana Clarissa Rojas Durazo practices transformative mama pedagogies by day while decolonizing chicanx studies by trade. At UC Davis Clarissa is affiliated with cultural studies and gender studies. Clarissa is an internationally published poet who believes the creative spirit ends violence. She co-founded INCITE! and co-edited Color of Violence: The INCITE Anthology andCommunity Accountability: Emerging Movements to Transform Violence. Her writing appears recently in Politico, Truthout and Basta Anthology: 100 Latinas Write on Violence Against Women.
Samah Saleh is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Social Work and the coordinator for the Women’s Studies Master’s Degree Program at An-Najah National University in Nablus. She is currently researching the development of the social work profession in Palestine, with an emphasis on community development. She is interested in researching gender and politics, social solidarity economy, and women empowerment. She is an activist with many organizations that focus on women, community development, and social solidarity economy.
Tina Shull (she/hers) is an Assistant Professor of History at UNC Charlotte specializing in race, empire, migrant detention, and climate justice in the modern US and World. Her first book, Detention Empire: Reagan's Total War on Immigrants and the Seeds of Resistance, is forthcoming with UNC Press in 2022. Shull directs the digital history project Climate Refugee Stories and was named a Soros Justice Fellow in 2016 for her work in immigration detention storytelling.
Ash Stephens is a Black trans writer and organizer and part of the abolitionist genealogies of the collectives Love and Protect, Chicago Community Bond Fund, and the NYC chapter of Survived and Punished. A decade ago, they became active in campaigns to support women and TGNC people who are criminalized for self-defense. Ash is a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), researching policing and surveillance of TGNC people, from an abolitionist framework.
Vanessa E. Thompson (Goethe University Frankfurt, Copwatch_ffm, International Independent Commission on the Death of Oury Jalloh) is a postdoctoral researcher and lecturer at the Department of Social Sciences at Goethe University Frankfurt. Her research and teaching are focused on critical racism studies, black studies, feminist theories, post- and decolonial feminist theories and methodologies, critiques of policing and transformative and abolitionist justice. Vanessa is also engaged in these fields as a community activist.
Emily Thuma is Assistant Professor of U.S. Politics and Law at the University of Washington, Tacoma, and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Washington, Seattle. She is the author of All Our Trials: Prisons, Policing, and the Feminist Fight to End Violence, published by the University of Illinois Press.
Jana Traboulsi is a visual artist, graphic designer and educator. She holds a BFA in Graphic Design from the American University of Beirut and an MA in Media and Communication studies from Goldsmiths London, UK. She is the co-founder and creative director of pan-arab quarterly Bidayat and the artistic director of Snoubar Bayrout publishing house. In 2014, she co-founded Sigil, an art collective based in Beirut and New York. In addition to commissioned and collective projects, her work explores creative methods of research and the relation text-image as a place for critical thought and commentary, often bridging between the personal and the socio-political. Since 2004, she has been teaching design and illustration studios and lectures in history and theory. She recently joined ESAV–Marrakech as the pedagogical director of the graphic and digital design department.
Abolition Feminisms, Volume 2: Feminist Ruptures Against the Carceral State Contributor Bios
Bios coming soon!
Purchase Abolition Feminisms at Haymarket Books or your local/online indie bookstore!