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This week, Roqayah and Kumars welcome Mariame Kaba back on the show. Mariame is a brilliant organizer whose work focuses primarily on dismantling the prison industrial complex. She's the founder of Project NIA, an advocacy group focused on ending youth incarceration. She's also co-founded a number of other organizations including the Chicago Taskforce on Violence against Girls and Young Women. You'll know her from Twitter as @prisonculture.
Mariame joins us to discuss her efforts on behalf of survivors of domestic and gender-based violence who have been criminalized and incarcerated for defending themselves against their abuser. Mariame shares her experiences and lessons learned from the successful campaigns to free Bresha Meadows and Marissa Alexander, two high-profile criminalized survivors of domestic violence. Mariame contrasts the treatment of Bresha and Marissa with other prominent examples to demonstrate that self-defense is only available to certain people, and certainly not black women. We talk about the impossible situation that domestic violence survivors are put in when the system fails them and then punishes them for doing what was necessary to survive. Mariame also discusses the work of Survived and Punished, an organizing collective she co-founded that emerged from several campaigns to free individual criminalized survivors. We learn about the efforts of the Survived and Punished NYC branch to push New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to commute the sentences of all criminalized domestic violence survivors in the state, a unilateral power he has and chooses not to exercise. We discuss the value, even in isolation, of clemency campaigns for individual survivors, while also highlighting the important role of these individual campaigns in building a mass movement to win systemic changes.
Check out the Survived and Punished toolkit to learn more about how to organize a defense campaign for criminalized survivors of violence where you live.
A transcript for this episode will be provided upon request. Please send an email to deleteuracct @ gmail to get a copy sent to you when it is completed.