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“Prison abolition is two things: It’s the complete and utter dismantling of prison and policing and surveillance as they currently exist within our culture. And it’s also the building up of new ways of intersecting and new ways of relating with each other.”
– Ruth Wilson Gilmore 

          The call to #defundthepolice, is part of the movement to abolish the anti-Black, anti-Indigenous, racist and colonial carceral systems of jails and prisons.  It is a call to dismantle the systems and symbols of systemic racism and white supremacy in our society.

          A call once dismissed as too radical, is now being adopted in cities across North America.  The defund movement moves beyond police reform, to completely rethinking the way that policing operates systemically, and calls for eventual abolition: a world without police or prisons, and one that is based on systems of safety and community accountability

As the historian Robin Kelley explains, we are living in the midst of upheaval and immense pain but also  tremendous possibility.


Defunding the police is a movement that is gaining traction because there is a recognition that:

•    Policing is anti-Black and anti-Indigenous in its culture and deployment is responsible for egregious acts of violence, harassment and terror towards Black, Indigenous and racialized communities

•    Policing and prison culture don’t make communities safe

•    Policing budgets have ballooned in recent decades resulting in the active defunding of housing, mental health support systems, education, youth programs, education, healthcare, childcare and labour protections

•    Police are not trained or qualified to address the vast majority of concerns that are currently under their purview such as mental health crises.

Transformative Justice Resources



• Third Eye Collective

• Bear Clan Patrol

• StoryTelling & Organizing Project

• Creative Interventions

• Pivot Legal Society

• Coalition of Peers Dismantling the Drug War


Transformative justice as response to sexual and gendered violence



Defunding The Police


• Defunding the Police – A discussion on reprioritizing city investments as we build a just Toronto By Progress Toronto / June 2020

• Progress Toronto and Urban Alliance on Race Relations co-hosted a conversation with Black Lives Matter Toronto co-founder and Vice Chair of the Black Legal Action Centre Sandy Hudson (bio), lawyer, professor, author, advocate and Chair in Indigenous Governance at Ryerson University Dr. Pamela Palmater (bio), writer and community organizer with Education Not Incarceration Phillip Dwight Morgan (bio), and Executive Director of Black Creek Community Health Centre Cheryl Prescod (bio). The conversation was moderated by Toronto Star Digital Producer Angelyn Francis (bio). Before the panel began, Co-Founder of No More Silence Audrey Huntley (bio), joined us to share a few words.

Abolish Policing, Not Just the Police By Haymarket Books / July 2 2020
• Abolitionist organizer Mariame Kaba talks with journalists Maya Schenwar and Victoria Law, authors of the forthcoming book Prison By Any Other Name for a discussion of the urgent need to use this moment for transformative change.



• Abolition and Reparations: Histories of Resistance, Transformative Justice, and Accountability, Patrisse Cullors

• Is Prison Necessary? Ruth Wilson Gilmore might change your mind

• We Must Defund the Police, It’s the Only Option, Sandy Hudson

Defunding the Police Will Save Black and Indigenous Lives in Canada, Sandy Hudson 

Canadians Remain Naive About Systemic Racism, Doug Cuthand 

What does ‘defund the police’ mean? The rallying cry sweeping the US – explained, Julia Sudbury
Reform or Abolition? Using Popular Mobilizations to Dismantle the ‘Prison-Industrial Complex, Julia Sudbury

Interview with Ruth Wilson Gibson 
Thoughts of Liberation by Christina Battle, Dionne Brand, Denise Ferreira da Silva, Chantal Gibson, El Jones, Anique Jordan, Robyn Maynard, Charmaine Nelson, Christina Sharpe and Kara Springer

Abolish the Police: A Reader , Spring Magazine

• Historian Keish Blain 

Recommended Reads, Pocket

Transform Harm, a resource hub created by Mariame Kaba 

Resource Guide: Prisons, Policing, and PunishmentMicah Herskind

Black Feminism offer path to Abolitionism ,  Elizabeth Jordie Davies




Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter Toronto

Critical Resistance


Black Artists for Freedom

Reclaim the Block

Black Visions Collective





The Skin We’re In By Charles Officer 

Colonization Road By Michelle St. John

Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance By Alanis Obomsawin

Home Feeling By Jennifer Hodge Roger McTair

13th By Ava Duvernay



The State of Blackness, Andrea Fatona

• Statement of Black Artists For Freedom
• A collective call to cultural institutions to, among other demands, break their ties to the police, resource Black creators, advocate or Black people and imagine Black Freedom.

Ferguson and the Art of Protest

3 Questions with Derek Laney

Mirror Casket project

Kara Springer  

“On September 22, 2016, Springer erected an eight-foot-by-thirty-foot black sign with the words “white people. do something” painted in large, bold, uncapitalized white letters in the courtyard of Philadelphia’s Tyler School of Art. Entitled A Small Matter of Engineering, Part II, it faced the educational institution, where she was in the process of completing her MFA. The large sign was accompanied, indoors, by A Small Matter of Engineering, Part I: a magnified photograph of broken plaster. Both works could be viewed together when walking down one of the school’s windowed hallways.”

Syrus Marcus Ware speaks at TEDx :
“If activists are the soldiers, then artists are the street medics.” Ware’s talk spans art from the renaissance to today, showing how art has always and will continue to support those fighting for a more just society.



The End of Policing by Alex S. Vitale (Free)

The Skin We’re In by Desmond Cole

Policing Black Lives by Robyn Maynard

From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor

Change Everything Racial Capitalism and the Case for Abolition by Ruth Wilson Gilmore

Golden Gulag: Prisons, Surplus, Crisis, and Opposition in Globalizing California by Ruth Wilson Gilmore

Caged by New Jersey Prison Theater Cooperative New Jersey Prison Theater Cooperative

Invisible No More: Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color by Andrea Ritchie

Policing the Black Man: Arrest, Prosecution and Imprisonment by Angela J. Davis, Bryan Stevenson, Marc Mauer, Bruce Western And Jeremy Travis

Nobody: Casualties of America’s War on the Vulnerable, from Ferguson to Flint and Beyond by Marc Lamont Hill

Fight the Power: African Americans and the Long History of Police Brutality in New York City by Clarence Taylor

Beyond Survival: Strategies and Survival from the Transformative Justice Movement, ed. Ejeris Dixon & Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha

Are Prisons Obsolete by Angela Y. Davis

• The CR10 Publications Collective,Abolition NOW! Ten Years of Strategy and Struggle Against the Prison Industrial Complex.

Freedom Is a Constant Struggle Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement by Angela Y. Davis

The Revolution Starts At Home

Until We Are Free- Reflections on Black Lives Matter in Canada Edited by Sandy Hudson, Rodney Diverlus and Syrus • Marcus Ware

BlackLife: Post-BLM and the Struggle for Freedom Written by Rinaldo Walcott and Idil Abdullahi 


Reading Towards Abolition: A Reading List on Policing, Rebellion, and the Criminalization of Blackness

A world without police: studyguide

Socialist Feminist Working Group: Transformative Justice Syllabus

Prison Abolition Syllabus 2.0

Thinking Through the End of Police…

No One is Disposable: Resources and Context for a Conversation on Prison Abolition

Prison Culture: Essential Reading

Against Equality: Prison (2011)

Abolish the Police: A Reader (Canadian context)

Together We Lift the Sky: Abolition Study Group Guide

#defundPolice Toolkit 

A useful resource guide, Medium

Reimagining Justice: A Primer on Defunding the Police and Prison Abolition
To better understand the arguments for ‘defunding the police’ and abolishing prisons, explore this list of essential reading curated by UW’s Megan Ming Francis.

Transformative Justice: A Brief Description
An overview of the political and social strategy that can be used as an alternative to policing, written by Mia Mingus for Transform Justice.

Abolition Cannot Wait: Visions for Transformation and Radical World-Buildin
As a vision for transformation, 8 to Abolition offers one resource for people to build from and incorporate tangible abolitionist demands into local organizing efforts around municipal, state, and federal policies (6/2020).

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