Activist Profile | Mariame Kaba

Mariame Kabaʻs avatar

No, my inspirational activist in question is not a cartoon character, but she does prefer articles and posts not use her real image, so here’s Mariame Kaba (in avatar form)– an activist, writer, organizer, educator, and prison abolitionist by whom I’m completely inspired. Like Angela Davis in my first Activist Profile, Mariame is a community organizer whose work focuses on eradicating the prison system and all forms of incarceration that don’t aim for restoration and rehabilitation. She’s the founder of many organizations including Project NIA— an organization working to decrease youth violence and incarceration through restorative justice; Chicago Taskforce, which zeroes in on eliminating crime against women and girls; Chicago Freedom School— a program that helps empower and educate youth leaders and activists; Rogers Park Young Women’s Action Team— a community group that enables women to research and extinguish the violence and abuse they face as well as many other nonprofits. As a grassroots organizer in both Chicago and New York, Mariame is one of the leading advocates for community-based collective action to end the cycle of violence that leads to incarceration for primarily Black and Brown people. I first discovered her work through Twitter once I became more active on the network during my senior year of high school as I sought more information on police violence, injustices throughout the criminal justice system, and how the prison industrial complex disproportionately affects poor people and people of color. Over the years, Mariame has taught me to think critically about incarceration and criminalization and why we should be focusing on creating a world without police and prisons: a world where people of color aren’t murdered or caged by the government. In reading her writings and studying her work, I’ve found myself truly invested in the intricacies of the criminal justice system and every aspect that harms people when we could have a society that heals instead. Although I always agree with Mariame that liberals, especially white ones, tend to ignore the real injustices that most prominent politicians (on both sides) have wrought against Black and Brown people, I’m inspired by her never ending passion for healing and the way she refuses to give up on a world without prisons.

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