Today is the first day of a series of actions organized by the Cops Off Campus Coalition, a network of students, educators, staff, and community members passionate about abolishing policing at all levels of education. I chatted with Alecia Harger (she/they), a sophomore at UC Berkeley and representative for both UC Berkeley Cops Off Campus and the transnational Cops Off Campus Coalition. We discussed today’s Day of Refusal, Abolition May, and the significance of getting cops off of campuses.
Last week, Abdul-Aliy Muhammad published an article in The Philadelphia Inquirer outlining some disturbing news: Penn Museum and Princeton University has been holding the remains of two children killed in the MOVE bombing of 1985 hostage for 36 years – without the consent or consideration of their family.
Last August, I sat on a panel with the other 1.2% of Black students in my school district to discuss our experiences with racism in our community. All of us had stories to share about encountering slurs, facing microaggressions, and being treated as though we were less than due to the color of our skin.
Yet all of us were also members of Gen Z — a generation praised by figures like Senator Bernie Sanders for our tolerance and decency (Teen Vogue). Headlines propose that Gen Z might be the generation to “end systemic racism” (Screen Shot), and celebrities like Oprah Winfrey hope that racism will die away with older generations (MSNBC). As nice as the idea of racism passively dying off sounds, it cannot be a reality without active anti-racism.