Abolition on Stolen Land foregrounds the ongoing uprisings for Black freedom and Indigenous sovereignty in the imperial formation that is the United States of America.

Sanctuary Shorts

Sanctuary Shorts is a conceptual conversation with distinguished scholars whose work unravels the logics of racial capitalism, thereby enacting radically different humanisms and liberatory worlds of political being. Filmed in the time of global pandemic, these conversations are meant to bring us together as communities of inquiry. Meant to circulate widely in worlds of freedom struggle and teaching, each Sanctuary Short is accompanied by a toolkit, including syllabus of readings, a playlist, and guided questions.

Watch Anti-Blackness: Transatlantic Worlds of Abolition, a conversation with Eddie Bruce-Jones, Lorgia García Peña, Shana L. Redmond, Vanessa E. Thompson, João H. Costa Vargas, and Françoise Vergès.

Fall 2020 Public Programs

Sanctuary & Solidarity: Resisting the U.S. War on Refugees and Migrants

Convened on August 28, 2020

Abolition on Stolen Land with Ruth Wilson Gilmore

Convened on October 9, 2020

Abolitionist Praxis: Bringing Our Imagination to Life

Convened on December 1, 2020

Fall 2020 Virtual Residency: (F)EMPOWER

(F)EMPOWER is a collective of queer feminist cultural workers who understand that we are not free while anyone is unfree. We believe in a feminism that is beyond bars, borders and binaries and are committed to decarceration and abolition. We believe in living. Our abolitionist praxis began with consciousness raising efforts among queer women in Miami, in a collective study space called Liberation Book Club. In this space, we collectively learned and discussed the ways in which Black and poor people are stolen from our communities by the state. Following the Black Radical tradition, we embodied and practiced abolition and solidarity, by participating in the National Bailout’s annual Black Mamas Bailout initiative, pooling our resources to bring two queer Black mamas home in time for Mother’s day and confronting the predatory system of money bail in Miami. Once the COVID crisis broke out, exacerbating deathly conditions inside jail cages, we reactivated our bail fund as a means to provide lifelines for our people. From March ‘til August we bailed out over 30 people in Miami-Dade county and provided them with aftercare for over 90 days. Through banner drops, digital art campaigns, creative actions and performances, we used our creative gifts and talents to create a culture shift in Miami – away from the individualist, patriarchal violence of the state and towards anti-capitalist, abolitionist collectivist and feminist futures. Now, we are engaged in creating community safety away from policing by participating in Miami’s Healing and Justice Center, a coalitional effort led by racial justice organization, the Dream Defenders. We are providing fellowships to formerly incarcerated people, creating spaces for them to heal with the land and participate in creative storytelling. Assata Shakur taught us that we have a duty to love and protect our people, we are committed to doing just that.

Niki Franco

Abolitionist Community Organizer

Niki Franco is an abolitionist community organizer, writer, and facilitator of spaces for collective study. Seeking to disrupt the institutionalized bureaucratic frameworks of academia and transactional ways in which relationships exist under capitalism, her work experiments with truth-telling, radical history and thought, and revolutionary imagination.  She also curates educational and cultural programming that navigates the current urgency on global solidarity, environmental and ancestral preservation, and strategies on building emotional and intellectual capacities to dismantle systems of oppression that inform and deform our current lives. She is the host of “Getting to the Root of It with Venus Roots,” a podcast that leans into conversations with artists, theorists, and organizers.

She is currently based in Miami, Florida where she serves as the Political Education Director for (F)EMPOWER MIA and Civic Engagement Organizer for Power U Center for Social Change.

Helen Peña

Storyteller Cultural Organizer

Helen Peña is a Black feminist storyteller and cultural organizer from Miami, Florida. She uses photography, graphic design and zine-making to interrogate the effects of colonization towards the Black female body. Her artwork explores race, gender, sexuality, spirituality, and memory. In times of social uprising and struggles for justice, she believes the role of the artist is to be grounded in community, telling stories of solidarity among all oppressed peoples and radically imagining life-affirming futures.

In 2017, Helen co-founded (F)EMPOWER. Throughout her years leading the collective, she has curated and produced several art shows, steered digital campaigns, led public art interventions, facilitated political education bootcamps, workshops, and panels, co-founded a community garden, a community bail fund, a Black queer diasporic party, and more.

For 2 years, Helen worked in digital communications for racial and economic justice organization, the Dream Defenders. While there, she used art to amplify political organizing, by using photo, video and graphic design to breathe life to political campaigns, transforming their social media and digital presence.

Currently, she is producing her first short film, Celeste, a documentary and impressionist film about sex workers in Miami and co-creating Third World Feminist School, a political education space connecting feminist organizers in Miami to decolonial struggles of the caribbean, Latin-America, and the global south.