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May 3, 21

Cops Off Campus Kicks off a Month of Action for “Abolition May”

Announcing a new campaign by students across the so-called US and beyond, too abolish police on campus. Go to Cops off Campus for more info.

photo via: @ucftp

Over the past year, we have experienced unprecedented conditions that have deepened the need for organizing work: restricted in-person gathering due to the racialized COVID-19 pandemic, which increased reliance on digital mediums; a historic uprising for Black lives that swept across the continent and globe all summer long in response to the police killings of Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, George Floyd, and too many others; and mainstream circulation of abolitionist thought and practice.

Drawing on long histories of liberatory movements and in the wake of these converging events, the Cops off Campus Coalition was formalized in Fall of 2020. It is now composed of members from over 65 campuses, representing a vast and expanding network of abolitionist organizations and campaigns on university campuses and surrounding cities across the United States and Canada. We are students, alumni, educators, and other workers at institutions miles apart, united around three central demands: We are rising up to demand all cops off of all campuses; we demand the Land back into Indigenous hands; and we demand a campus and community that are truly free and safe for all.

On May 3, 2021, member campuses have organized a Day of Refusal. As members of these institutions, we cannot be complicit to the violence that they enact. Students, faculty, staff, alumni, any group affiliated with the university– we must use our respective positionalities to pressure our institutions to take care of us and our communities. At profit-hungry universities, this won’t happen on its own. We have to mobilize our people power and demand change. For one day, we will withdraw our labor and attendance from the university. We encourage all members of all campus communities, whether or not classes are in session at their institution, to also withhold their labor on May 3rd in solidarity for the movement to abolish campus police, and all police in general. On May 3, we will livestream an all day virtual protest. A press video will be streamed across multiple platforms at 11am PT showing a chorus of campaigns, followed by a dance party at 1pm PT, signifying the joyful side of our collective struggle.

This Day of Refusal across Turtle Island is only the beginning of ABOLITION MAY, a series of direct actions taken up by member campuses throughout the month, beginning with all campuses on May 3rd and community events on May 25 in honour of the life of George Floyd, who was murdered by Minneapolis police on May 25, 2020. Each campaign has their own individual targets, demands, and tactics, but we are all united under one principled demand: to bring an end to campus policing.

“Abolition asks us to challenge putative conceptions of justice, to question how we can best support survivors of violence of individual harm as well as structural harm,” says Alicia Hurtado from UChicago #CareNotCops. “We demand abolition as an entry point to reimagine our spaces of learning, moving away from the reification of heteropatriarchy, imperialism, and racial capitalism, and towards the larger project of imagining a world where we are all supported, cared for, and respected as we grow and learn.”

The Coalition recognizes that our organizing power is beyond the walls of our different institutions and in solidarity with our surrounding communities. This is a transnational and transgenerational movement to connect struggles, to share vital knowledge and skills, and ultimately to demonstrate the inevitability of a police-free world. To change the conditions on one campus or in one community is to change the possibilities for all of our struggles. The Cops Off Campus Coalition is committed to the fight for abolition, in every sense of the word, and affirms that May is only the beginning of this demonstration of solidarity and power as we take up direct action towards the shared horizon ahead of us, where another world is possible.

Resources:

The Cops Off Campus Coalition is a “coalition of coalitions” actively building coast to coast across Turtle Island (North America). We are a network of local, regional, and transnational coalitions and collectives of students, educators, other workers, and all other community members impacted by police and policing at all levels of education (K-12, universities, vocational and professional schools, colleges, seminaries, etc.). Guided by the transformative worldview of abolition, we work within our own communities and collectively to forward urgent alternatives to policing that will build a future University beyond punishment and violence.

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