Nationwide ‘Week of Abolition’ Envisions an Abolitionist Future Without Prisons, Police

Denver, CO — This week is the National Lawyers Guild’s (NLG) annual nationwide campaign called “Week of Abolition” where local NLG law school chapters host events, activities and actions to spread knowledge and promote discussion about “alternatives to the criminal punishment system” with an aim to “envision an abolitionist future.” This year’s theme has a special focus on political prisoners.

The University of Denver Sturm College of Law chapter of NLG is hosting three events this week. On Wednesday, there was a Harm Reduction Training with activist Mic Gormley. On Thursday, there were two talks with former political prisoners.

Unicorn Riot streamed the book talk at 7 p.m. MST on Thursday, check out the coverage below.

The first talk — “Indigenous Political Imprisonment and Visions of Abolition” — was at 12 p.m. MST in room 170 of the Frank H. Ricketson Law Building. The panel featured Leoyla Cowboy who is a water protector and Indigenous rights activist from the Diné (Navajo) Nation, and Red Fawn Fallis and Michael “Rattler” Markus who are both Oglala Lakota Water Protectors and former #NoDAPL political prisoners. The panel discussion was streamed via Zoom and moderated by a staff attorney at the Water Protector Legal Collective, Sandra Freeman.

Before Thursday’s panel, Sandra Freeman told Unicorn Riot that there will be a lot to learn at the Indigenous political prisoner panel, and that even Freeman expects to learn at it.

“I just really think when we’re talking about what happened at Standing Rock, the militarized police response and how that descends directly from the establishment of the BIA and FBI is an expected result. Political imprisonment is a part of colonization and hearing from folks about what they have really walked through with a lot of grace and dignity through some wild situations is something I think everything should hear about.”

Sandra Freeman, staff attorney at the Water Protector Legal Collective

The second talk on Thursday, which was in room 340 of the Burwell Center, was with co-editors Josh Davidson and former political prisoner Eric King of the book “Rattling the Cages: Oral Histories of North American Political Prisoners.” Unicorn Riot streamed the talk, which you can watch above.

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Unicorn Riot coverage of Political Prisoner Eric King: