By: Maya Schenwar, Truthout
I asked organizers working to dismantle incarceration what is giving them hope for 2023. Here’s what they shared.
Over the past year, organizers across the country have been working nonstop to free people from jails and prisons — and yet, of course, millions remain behind bars. Faced with this reality, it can be easy to slip into discouragement at the outset of a new year. But long-time abolitionist organizer and author Mariame Kaba reminds us that “hope is a discipline” — one we must practice even when the horizon is cloudy, when the new year brings no clarity, no easy optimism.
In this spirit, I asked a number of organizers working to dismantle incarceration what is giving them hope for the coming year. I’m mentioning just a few decarceration projects out of countless important campaigns. And although I’m spotlighting decarceration projects (those specifically focused on shrinking incarceration and confinement), I want to note that abolitionist organizers are also working to build mutual aid networks, create non-carceral ways to address harm, and advocate for housing, non-carceral health care, education, environmental justice, and more. But I hope these glimpses of 2023’s freedom campaigns offer a sense of how we can look to the new year with excitement — and relentless determination to free them all.