Publisher: Ak Press
Released: September 28, 2021
A political vision for a future ripe with alternatives to imprisonment and punishment.
Born from sustained organizing, and rooted in Black and women of color feminisms, disability justice, and other movements, abolition calls for an end to our reliance on imprisonment, policing and surveillance, and to imagine a safer future for our communities.
Lessons in Liberation: An Abolitionist Toolkit for Educators offers entry points to build critical and intentional bridges between educational practice and the growing movement for abolition. Designed for educators, parents, and young people, this toolkit shines a light on innovative abolitionist projects, particularly in Pre-K–12 learning contexts.
Sections are dedicated to entry points into Prison Industrial Complex abolition and education; the application of the lessons and principles of abolition; and stories about growing abolition outside of school settings. Topics addressed throughout include student organizing, immigrant justice in the face of ICE, approaches to sex education, arts-based curriculum, and building abolitionist skills and thinking in lesson plans.
The result of patient and urgent work, and more than five years in the making, Lessons in Liberation invites educators into the work of abolition.
Contributors include Black Organizing Project, Chicago Women's Health Center, Mariame Kaba and Project NIA, Bettina L. Love, the MILPA Collective, and artists from the Justseeds Collective, among others.
View the full table of contents here.
Praise for Lessons in Liberation
“Lessons in Liberation is an abundant and generous offering, packed with resources to help us collectively build toward abolition in and out of the classroom. This excellent toolkit is a call to imagine, to act, to dream, to expand our notions of what education is and can be—and of the bold and radically nurturing society we can grow together. It's an essential read for teachers, organizers, and students of all kinds!”
—Maya Schenwar, co-author of Prison by Any Other Name and editor-in-chief of Truthout
“This resource book underscores the necessity and urgency of abolition of the prison industrial complex in, by, and through educational systems. Chock full of ideas, workshop activities, guiding principles, tools, reflections, and campaign strategies, Lessons in Liberation will grow and deepen our movements. For those looking for an on-ramp into abolition through education—this is for you.”
—Liat Ben-Moshe, author of Decarcerating Disability: Deinstitutionalization and Prison Abolition
“Lessons in Liberation is an inspiration! The authors establish foundational knowledge about what it means to be an abolitionist educator while also providing concrete actions for those who are committed to co-constructing a more just world with the youth in their classrooms. It is a deeply critical, empathetic, and loving text—the medicine that is needed to rise together.”
—Curtis Acosta, Ethnic Studies Educator
“The tools needed for liberation and freedom are in this book. Like all of us, if you are striving to be an abolitionist educator, this book is your guide. Lessons in Liberation pushes us to unlearn, to be vulnerable, and to find our humanity so we can enter classrooms ready to freedom dream, to dismantle, and build for collective struggle, liberation, and love.”
—Bettina L. Love, author of We Want to Do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom
“Abolition is a theory whose time has come in classrooms and schools, but those of us practicing in these spaces need a more complete picture of what that looks like on the day to day. Lessons in Liberation is just that. Each page is an invitation to dream and create a new world, but also how to build that world and what tools we may need to do so.”
—Teachers 4 Social Justice
"Lessons in Liberation successfully sets out to answer a critical question: What does abolitionist education look like in practice? Lessons in Liberation pulls together a stunning mix of background articles and teaching ideas, all aimed at being useful for educators and community activists interested in doing the work of abolitionist education."
The Education for Liberation Network & Critical Resistance Editorial Collective are a team of writers, educators, and thinkers from various backgrounds and social movements working toward abolition in our time.