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Abolition

November 7, 2022

Abolitionist Community Event brings together students, faculty and organizations

Students representing eight organizations tabled in Prof. Neiman’s backyard — here’s more about them and their upcoming events

Samson Zhang

Students representing eight organizations met with abolitionist-identifying professors, students and community members at an abolitionist community event on Friday afternoon.

Organized by students from Scripps Politics Professor Tom Kim’s Practicing Abolition class, the event took place at Scripps Politics Professor Nancy Neiman’s backyard a few blocks off campus.

Mason Maxam SC ’25 and Daniela Altamirano-Iniestra SC ’22 first applied for funding for the event from Scripps’ Creating Community Fund in September, and started planning after receiving the funding in early October, Maxam said.

Each organization shared their work and upcoming events at tables arranged around the backyard, while students mingled with each other as well as abolitionist faculty and other community members.

Maxam (left) and Altamirano-Iniestra (right), students from Kim’s Practicing Abolition Democracy class, organized the event

Maxam said she thought the event went well.

“I think [the event] forges a new pathway for abolitionist spaces on campus and allows us to build a leftist community here,” Maxam said.

Representatives of several organizations noted the challenge of losing intergenerational knowledge due to COVID. Altamirano-Iniestra said that the event could help counter this.

“It makes me really excited to see a mix of class years here,” said Altamirano-Iniestra. “As an upperclassman I’ve been thinking a lot about what Scripps is going to look like after we’re gone and it’s really inspiring to see that we’re leaving it in good hands.”

5C Prison Abolition Collective (Prisab)

Nala Berry PZ ’24

The Prison Abolition Collective supports LA and Inland Empire abolitionist organizations through direct action, and also does political education work to explain how “policing and surveillance [are] intertwined with institutions and how they’re systemic,” said Nala Berry PZ ’24.

Upcoming events:

Follow the 5C Prison Abolition Collective on Instagram

Claremont Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP)

Miriam Farah CM ’23 (left) and Peter Dien CM ’25 (right)

The Claremont chapter of SJP aims to “spread the BDS movement across the Claremont Colleges, educate people on the occupation of Palestine currently and abolish all sources of oppression coming from the Israeli state and Zionism,” said Peter Dien CMC ’25.

Upcoming events

Follow Claremont Students for Justice in Palestine on Instagram

JusticeLA

Lily Kraft PZ ’22

JusticeLA is a coalition of grassroots organizations working to reduce incarceration by “stopping jail expansion and reinvesting dollars into community based systems of care,” according to Lily Kraft PZ ’22.

Upcoming events:

Follow JusticeLA on Instagram

Transformative Justice/Restorative Justice (TJ/RJ) Multiclass Project

Elsie Lipson PZ ’25, Leila Tilin PZ ’25, Sonya Hadley SC ’23 and Sophia Adler PZ ’23

Rooted in the overall goal to build “restorative and transformative justice communities and pathways at the 5Cs,” a group of students from Kim’s Practicing Abolition class will soon launch the “Care First Classrooms” campaign as part of the “TJ/RJ Multiclass Project.”

Through the project, a coalition of students and professors will experiment with class policies that center interpersonal relationships and community-building, according to Sophia Adler PZ ’23.

Students interested in helping should contact Adler at sopadler@students.pitzer.edu.

Nobody Fails at Scripps (NFAS)

Julia Thomason SC ’23 (left) and Laila Kent SC ’23 (right)

NFAS started as a student movement for universal pass grading at Scripps during the COVID pandemic, and later expanded to mutual aid organizing. Now the organization is focusing on political education and preserving institutional memory.

“We noticed that our definitions of mutual aid have shifted to be more philanthropic and not rooted in the tenants of mutual aid that we want to uplift,” said Laila Kent SC ’23. “We want our mission to be rooted in a long-term student community building strategy and support network, rather than solely rooted in individual transactional short-term financial relationships.”

The organization plans to host a “timeline building” event this week, and build out a “general political education campaign by pointing out contradictions between Scripps admin narratives of equity and inclusion and students’ actual lived experiences,” Kent said.

Upcoming events:

Follow Nobody Fails at Scripps on Instagram.

EmPOWER Center

Cassie Bensko SC ’25

The EmPOWER Center is a 7C center for sexual violence prevention and advocacy.

The center has previously hosted education events, including a “safe and healthy queer sex and relationships” workshop, and provides resources like biweekly yoga sessions and free therapy sessions for sexual assault survivors, according to student intern Cassie Bensko SC ’25.

The center aims to create “an environment of mutual respect and care,” Bensko said. It is located at 1030 Dartmouth Avenue.

“If you ever have a question or you’re confused about a situation and don’t quite know what to do, you’re welcome to come by,” Bensko said.

Upcoming events:

Follow the EmPOWER Center on Instagram.

United Farm Workers 5C Support Group

Malena Sparano SC ’26 and Liz Messinger SC ’24

United Farm Workers (UFW) is an organization dedicated to helping farm workers with unionization, immigration reform, pesticide and heat protections and legal protection against harassment and human rights violations.

The UFW 5C Support Group plans to bring speakers to campus and bring students to UFW events like rallies, vigils and supply drives.

“United Farm Workers is especially important in Southern California, where there’s been a big disconnect between the agricultural community and the people who live here,” said Malena Sparano SC ’26.

“We feel this is especially pertinent time with the dining hall strikes going on, just thinking about where the food that we’re all eating at our school comes from and who is working to produce it,” said Liz Messinger SC ‘24.

Follow the United Farm Workers 5C Support Group on Instagram.

Read more

Labor

#dropstarbucks: CSWA launches new campaign at teach-in

Palestine

270+ students walk out in the rain to support Pomona divestment, protest disciplinary action against students

Abolition

Palestine

SJP brings Maya Wind and Robin D.G. Kelley to discuss scholasticide in Palestine

Thanks for reading Undercurrents

Undercurrents reports on labor, Palestine liberation, prison abolition and other community organizing at and around the Claremont Colleges.

Issue 1 / Spring 2023

Setting the Standard

How Pomona workers won a historic $25 minimum wage; a new union in Claremont; Tony Hoang on organizing

Read issue 1