October 18, 2021

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“Becoming Abolitionists”: Derecka Purnell on Why Police Reform Is Not Enough to Protect Black Lives

2 min read

Derecka Purnell draws from her experience as a human rights lawyer in her new book, published this month, “Becoming Abolitionists: Police, Protests, and the Pursuit of Freedom,” to argue that police reform is an inadequate compromise to calls for abolition. Since the murders of George Floyd in Minneapolis and Breonna Taylor in Louisville in 2020, many states have passed laws aimed at reforming police, but congressional talks at the federal level have broken down. Purnell reflects upon her personal journey as a Black woman who believed in police reform before pivoting to abolition, saying, “I became a part of social movements who pushed me to think more critically … about building a world without violence and how to reduce our reliance on police.”

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