Together, Race Forward, Mass Freedom, Empowering Pacific Islander Communities (EPIC), and Grassroots Asians Rising (GAR) gathered organizers in December 2020 with the goal of collectively learning more about the history of abolitionist movements in Pacific Islander and Asian communities, and possibilities for an abolitionist future in the same.
Our gathering embodied and centered Pacific Islander practices and experiences and also invited a broader reflection about abolition in our communities. In particular, attendees learnt about Hawai’ian history of abolition and solidarity with African-American communities and current practices from Dr Kalaniopua Young. Fahd Ahmed of Desis Rising Up and Moving (DRUM) shared abolitionist frameworks and opportunities for organizing with South Asian working class, youth, Muslims and elders.
We invited Mona ‘Amato-Kaufusi (@moemelinostudio) to render visuals as they witnessed the discussion at the gathering. We invite you, the viewer/reader into the conversation about abolition. Their weaving visual represents an abolitionist vision of the communities we can build together, where we have resources to house, educate, nourish and heal ourselves – and one another. It represents a vision where all of us thrive in a world without prisons, policing or militarism. We reject carceral solutions such as hate crimes legislation and imprisonment that are inherently anti-Black. Anti-black policies will not succeed in making our communities safe.
We learned that:
- Abolition of prisons and policing is interconnected with demilitarization and struggles against US military occupation.
- Abolition is anti-colonial in urging us to reorganize our relationships to one another and be in greater intimacy and mutual accountability.
- Abolition distinguishes between reformism and reform. Abolition mandates changes that shift material conditions by reinvesting resources into housing, nourishment, employment and thriving of Black, indigenous and communities of color.
Our partners in this gathering
- Empowering Pacific Islander Communities (EPIC) is a pro-Black, pro-indigenous, anti-racist national organization based on Tongva land that advances social justice by engaging PIs in culture-centered advocacy, leadership development, and research.
- Grassroots Asians Rising is an alliance of grassroots Asian organizers rooted in working-class organizations from across the U.S.
Links to some AAPI orgs working with an abolition focus
(this is not a complete list)
- Empowering Pacific Islander Communities
- Hawai’i Community Bail Fund
- Grassroots Asians Rising
- Desis Rising Up and Moving
- Chinese Progressive Association
- Asian Pacific Environmental Network
- SEAC Village
- AYPAL: Building API Community Power
- 18 million rising
- Asian American Feminist Collective
- Red Canary Song
- Oakland Chinatown Coalition
- AAPI Women Lead
- Southeast Asian Freedom Network
- Asian Prisoner Support Committee
- Portland Asians for Black Lives Matter
Additional Learning Resources
- Why it’s time to retire the term ‘Asian Pacific Islander’
- Terisa Siagatonu Website, Twitter, Instagram
- Reading Across the Acronym – Craig Santos Perez
- questions on (the limits & effects of) (asian american) allyship
- Hate-Crime Laws Are Not the Answer to Anti-Asian Violence, Abolition Is
- The “Asian exception” and the Scramble for Legibility: Toward an Abolitionist Approach to Anti-Asian Violence
- A Growing Asian-American Movement Calls for Prison Abolition
- Beyond Survival: Strategies and Stories from the Transformative Justice Movement (editors: Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha and Ejeris Dixon)
Community Safety Resources
- Anti-Terror Police Project
- Community-based safety projects
- Project NIA
- What Do I Do Now? Next Steps And Police Alternatives
- Mutual Aid
- Building Accountable Communities Toolkit
Read Race Forward’s AAPI caucus letter in response to violence against Asians in Atlanta.