The newest book from abolitionist, author and organizer Mariame Kaba entered the top 10 of the New York Times Best Sellers list in its first week. Based on sales ending the week of Feb. 27, Kaba’s “We Do This ‘Till We Free Us: Abolitionist Organizing and Transforming Justice” ranked as a top paperback non-fiction book.
The new book is part of Haymarket’s Abolitionist Papers series, “We Do This ‘Till We Free Us,” and offers lessons, reflections and explores abolishing the prison industrial complex (PIC) as an attainable goal.
In an interview with Char Adams for NBC News, Kaba said the book has two target audiences.
“One is people who might not know a lot about PIC abolition and are looking for a way to enter the discussion,” Kaba said. “The second are current abolitionist organizers who are running abolitionist campaigns.”
A carefully curated collection of essays, interviews and reflections, “We Do This ‘Till We Free Us” provides readers with a guidepost for navigating the landscape of abolition. The opening entry of Kaba’s October 2020 article, “So You’re Thinking About Becoming an Abolitionist,” explains that it is about building and creating.
“PIC abolition is a positive project that focuses, in part, on building a society where it is possible to address harm without relying on structural forms of oppression or the violent systems that increase it,” writes Kaba.
The abolitionist organization Critical Resistance defines PIC abolition as “a political vision with the goal of eliminating imprisonment, policing, and surveillance and creating lasting alternatives to punishment and imprisonment.”
While interest in abolition has increased over the past few years, the uprisings of last summer along with the call to defund the police put the issue front and center in a major way. Through her writings and conversations, Kaba grapples with the challenging questions people have about PIC abolition and steps to take on the way to full abolition.
In 2018’s “A Jailbreak of the Imagination: Seeing Prisons for What They Are and Demanding Transformation,” Kaba, along with writer Kelly Hayes, engages readers in a challenging exercise of what it means to radically reimagine how to address harms.
Leading with the story of 27-year-old Tiffany Rusher, Kaba and Hayes argue that the awareness and discussion of the horrors within the system of incarceration require Americans to stop looking away and be present.
Through her decades of experience, Kaba has centered community and collaborative organizing over changing hearts and minds. Kaba’s history and work speak for themselves but are also a lesson on how abolition is possible.
As founder and director of Project NIA, Kaba has partnered with grassroots organizations and activists to address juvenile justice issues, build youth leadership skills and influence policy. Her imprint can be seen across countless organizations in Chicago.
A free reading and discussion guide accompanies the book.
Exonerated! Falsely Accused Black Folks Freed From Prison
1. Herbert Alford1 of 15
2. Walter Forbes2 of 15
3.3 of 15
4. Clifford Williams, Nathan Myers4 of 15
5. Calvin BrightSource:WUSA9 5 of 15
6. Kevin Baker, Sean Washington6 of 15
7. Theophalis Wilson7 of 15
8. Alfred Chestnut, Ransom Watkins, and Andrew Stewart8 of 15
9. Deandre Charles9 of 15
10. Exonerated Five - Raymond Santana, Kevin Richardson, Antron McCray, Yusef Salaam and Korey Wise10 of 15
11. Anthony Ray Hinton11 of 15
12. Lamar Johnson12 of 15
13. Wilbert Jones13 of 15
14. Xavier DavisSource:Courtesy of Xavier Davis 14 of 15
15. Huwe Burton15 of 15
‘We Do This ‘Till We Free Us’: Book About Prison Abolition Lands In The New York Times Top 10 List was originally published on newsone.com