Abolitionist Social Work: Possibilities, Paradox and Praxis


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Join us for a conversation about challenging carceral social work through the development and practice of an abolitionist social work. As demands to defund the police often look to social work as an alternative, panelists Tanisha "Wakumi" Douglas, Mimi Kim, Kirk "Jae" James and Cameron Rasmussen discuss the cautions of and possibilities for abolitionist social work. Social work, historically and today, has been deeply embedded in systems of carceral control. With social work's legacy of ties to policing and oppressive family regulation through the child welfare system, the social work community is actively imagining and working towards a social work rooted in abolition, turning to traditions of resistance that also characterize its history. This conversation, organized by the Network to Advance Abolitionist Social Work (NAASW) in partnership with Haymarket Books will look at challenging carceral social work through the development and practice of an abolitionist social work. The Network to Advance Abolitionist Social Work (NAASW) is a group of social workers from different parts of the US, building a year-long initiative to support abolitionist work in the field of social work. The initiative includes ongoing political education, research / knowledge generation around carceral and abolition social work, developing an online hub of abolitionist social work resources, and broader organizing and advocacy efforts to build abolitionist ideas and practices into social work. ---------------------------------------------------- Speakers: Tanisha “Wakumi” Douglas is the daughter of an undocumented immigrant who served 33 years in prison. Tanisha “Wakumi” Douglas has dedicated her life to building leadership among youth most impacted by mass incarceration and other oppressive systems. Wakumi is Co-founder/Executive Director of S.O.U.L. Sisters Leadership Collective, which builds leadership with systems-involved girls & TGNC youth, in both Miami and NYC. She has worked as a restorative justice circle keeper, social worker, community organizer, trainer, and popular educator for organizations including the Dream Defenders, Harlem Children’s Zone and Children’s Defense Fund. Her work has been featured in Huffington Post, NPR, and Miami New Times and her books include Sing a Rhythm, Dance a Blues (Morris), and Making Change (Kruse). Mimi Kim is the founder of Creative Interventions and a co-founder of INCITE! She is a long-time activist, advocate and researcher challenging gender-based violence at its intersection with state violence and creating community accountability, transformative justice and other community-based alternatives to criminalization. Mimi is also an Associate Professor of social work at California State University, Long Beach and co-editor in chief of Affilia. Her recent publications include “The Carceral Creep” and “From Carceral Feminism to Transformative Justice". Kirk “Jae” James is a Clinical Professor and Human Rights activist at the NYU Silver School of Social Work. He completed his doctorate from the School of Social Policy and Practice at The University of Pennsylvania on May 2013. Dr. James’s primary research and publications focus on deconstructing issues related to mass incarceration. Cameron Rasmussen is a social worker, educator and facilitator. He is the Program Director at the Center for Justice at Columbia University, a doctoral student in the Social Welfare Program at the CUNY Graduate Center and a Publics Fellow at the Publics Lab at the CUNY Graduate Center. This event is sponsored by Network to Advance Abolitionist Social Work (NAASW) and Haymarket Books. Watch the live event recording: https://youtu.be/JZxUeSAmIXo Buy books from Haymarket: www.haymarketbooks.org Follow us on Soundcloud: soundcloud.com/haymarketbooks

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