The Role of Faith in Abolition

Just over a month ago on June 14th, I spoke at East Harlem Pray + Protest, a faith-based event where people of all beliefs were welcome.

I’m a woman of faith. I go to Salem United Methodist Church in Harlem and I’m a member of Soka Gakkai International, a diverse community of Buddhists across the country. I’m also an abolitionist.

How do abolition and faith relate? I believe the key to abolishing the police system in District 9 is faith in — and radical love for — our community, its residents, and justice. But faith can take many forms. My faith is rooted in God, but yours might be rooted in humanity.

Wherever your faith comes from, it’s what we need to fundamentally transform our society. When we put faith into and invest in our community, anything is possible.

it won’t just happen overnight but we will divert funds from the NYPD and Department of Corrections and instead put them into restorative treatment models, transformational justice models, social workers, healers, counselors, and mental health street teams.

Through this campaign, we’re on the path to justice. We have the power to make this district look and feel different. After all, we’re in Harlem — and black lives are going to matter here.

[photo by Jesse Herndon Photography @jesseherndon]