I hope that this list of inspiring and radical feminists and activists helps you dive deeper into the abolitionist work that is happening around the globe.
These are the voices of the movement. Jetset Times’ recent list of “10 Books To Educate Yourselves On Racial Injustice” is a great place to start learning about systemic racism in the United States. To extend on to that list, you should also listen to and follow Black women worldwide and now is the perfect time to globalize and radicalize your feed! Between Brazilian and American society, there is a fair amount of crossover, yet different manifestations of race and racism. The multi racial movement led by Black people in both countries, however, is growing quite rapidly. Brazil for example, has the largest Black diaspora second to Lagos, Nigeria, and their translation of #BlackLivesMatter, Vidas Negras Importam, is found all over the country. Many Black radical activists from the United States and Brazil, are abolitionists as well, fighting for a world without police and mass incarceration. So, to help you start or extend that new list of followers, here are some amazing women and activists with inspiring and radical messages for the abolition movement.
In the United States:
Angela Davis’s ideology is the foundation of the movement. She is the author of “Are Prisons Obsolete?”, “Race, Women, and Class”, and many more books about intersectional feminism and abolition. I had not even considered or understood a world without prisons and police until I saw her speak at my school in 2018. Her left wing politics encouraged me to continue to educate myself and strive for radical change in whatever field of studies or career that I pursue. On Spotify you can stream many of her speeches and I highly encourage you to do so. Angela Davis also visited Brazil in recent years after the brutal killing of city council woman, Marielle Franco. This shows how her words and ideas cross borders and will always be relevant to the struggle for justice in the Black diaspora.
Patrisse Cullors is an artist, writer, and co-founder of Black Lives Matter, which was formed in 2013 as a response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s killer. The organization’s mission is to “eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes.”. To learn more about her life and the creation of Black Lives Matter I would highly recommend her book: “When They Call You A Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir”. This book truly changed my outlook on the prison system and how cyclical and destructive it is. Patrisse is also very active on social media and she recently started doing daily news digests on IGTV . Her wise words and content is overall very informative and empowering.
Mariame Kaba’s work focuses on ending the incarceration of youth and dismantling the prison industrial system as a whole. She co-founded “Project NIA” which believes in “community over confinement” a core belief to the abolition movement. Grassroots community organizations like Project NIA are key to making long lasting change. To learn more about police abolition you can also read Mariame’s recent New York Times op ed, “People like me who want to abolish prisons and police, however, have a vision of a different society, built on cooperation instead of individualism, on mutual aid instead of self-preservation. What would the country look like if it had billions of extra dollars to spend on housing, food and education for all?”. Mariame and organizations like Project NIA are major voices to follow and support.
A major escalation point of the movement for Vidas Negras Importam started with the murder of Marielle Franco. Marielle Franco was a feminist, gay, and Black council women for one of Rio’s communidades, Maré. During her lifetime, Marielle was very vocal about the inequalities perpetrated against Afro-Brazilians as well as the long standing oppression of the police. The investigation into her death is still ongoing and the slogan Marielle Presente (Marielle is here) is carried everywhere. Her voice and legacy still lives on today through other Afro-Brazilian feminist activists and an institute that was decreed in her honor. You can follow the institute on social media and learn more about its work on empowering Black women and poor people. You can also sign up for their newsletter through their website. Marielle Presente…
Renata Souza is a living example of Marielle’s feminist and impactful legacy. She served as Marielle’s chief of staff and worked with her for 12 years. Renata was also a state councillor in Rio and is now the President of the Human Rights Commission in Rio de Janeiro’s State Council. She is a strong advocate for Vidas Negras Importam and advocates against the continued genocide of Afro-Brazilians by the state. According to Renata’s website, racism kills a poor Afro-Brazilian every 23 minutes and Marielle is one tragic example of this. Follow Renata’s Instagram to learn more about her work (you can translate captions on Instagram) and continue to speak out against the state sanctioned genocide against Afro-Brazilians.
Musician, feminist, and housing activist, Preta Ferrieira is unstoppable. Preta is the coordinator of the Homeless Movement of Downtown São Paulo (MSTC) and was recently arrested for 100 days for her housing activism. When Angela Davis visited Brazil in 2019, she spoke out against the arrest of Preta and stated that “The right to live is a basic right and should include land”. Preta’s work is also manifested in music. Her recent song, “Minha Carne”, talks about the mistreatment of Afro Brazilians and the ongoing genocide. Preta Ferreira’s endurance and strength continues on and you can follow her journey towards equality through her Instagram. To learn even more about her story as a political prisoner and activist, you can read this interview by BrasilWire in English. As stated in the interview, Preta has not lost hope and continues to fight every day:“I haven’t lost my essence in here, I haven’t lost the love I carry in my heart. I haven’t stopped believing in human beings. I haven’t lost my joy. Ever. They can throw me in any prison. But I’ll carry on.”
According to the New York Times the police in Rio de Janeiro had a “ record number of killings by the police in Rio last year — 1,814”. This staggering number of innocent lives lost was largely conducted in Rio’s poorest and Blackest neighborhoods. Police violence against Black communities is a constant reality worldwide and advocating for the abolishment of oppressive systems needs to be at the forefront. I hope that this list of inspiring and radical activists helps you dive deeper into the abolitionist work that is happening around the globe. It’s time for everyone to not just imagine but work for a world without police and prisons and instead, racial equality.