STAR Letter of Solidarity With Freedom Campus Action
Today, April 10th, 2019, almost a full year after the Lee Correctional Facility prison riot, which inspired the National Prison Strike of 2018, several student groups from Freedom Campus, a national network of student organizers, are demanding that their respective colleges and universities divest from the prison industrial complex (PIC) and invest in communities of care.
Members of Freedom Campus are calling on their colleges and universities to transform current “safety” policies and practices to create campus communities that authentically protect and support all community members, especially those at the intersections of vulnerability and marginalization. They are engaging in a wide variety of actions, from launching divestment campaigns, to letter-writing, to educating their campus on principles of transformative justice.
We, the members of Swarthmore Students for Transformative Justice, Abolition, and Reform (STAR), stand in solidarity with students across the nation creating space on their campuses for these critical conversations and actions. STAR also encourages people to participate in the conversations started by other campus organizers around divesting from the Carceral State, like SJP’s divestment campaign, and conversations surrounding the way that carceral logics manifest and are perpetuated on campus, like O4S’s peoples review of Public Safe. From our teach-in on transformative and restorative justice, to our first annual Freedom Day this past fall, STAR has been engaging in community education, learning from abolitionist organizers in Philadelphia and across the nation, and continuing conversations on campus about what it means to invest in students and communities most impacted by criminalization and the PIC. We commit to continued action and education around issues of prison abolition, transformative justice, and the reimagination of safety and accountability on Swarthmore’s campus that doesn’t rely on the Carceral State. On Freedom Day, we encouraged our campus community to consider the following questions: What would it mean to invest in our communities instead of the punitiveness and violence of the state? Swarthmore identifies itself as a “Sanctuary campus,” but what would it mean for Swarthmore to be a Freedom Campus? How can we move away from reproducing the punitiveness that we see in the rest of the world? We must create space for envisioning other ways of being and loving.
If you are interested in joining us in answering these questions, investigating the role our institution plays in upholding the PIC, and creating a community of care, join us for our open convening on the imagination of a Freedom Campus at Swarthmore on Friday, April 26th at 7:00 PM in the Womxn’s Resource Center (WRC), and/or email STAR at firstname.lastname@example.org .