Abolitionist Sanctuary is a national coalition of Black-serving churches, civic organizations and communities trained in abolitionist principles to unite against the moral crisis of mass incarceration and the criminalization of impoverished Black motherhood.

We are abolitionists who collectively make a radical investment in liberation and communal flourishing achieved through education, consulting, and civic engagement.

Our educational commitment is to train faith and civic leaders to apply abolitionist principles to repair, restore, and rebuild just and equitable communities.

As consultants, we advise organizations to integrate solutions that strengthen diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging in the workplace.

As community organizers, we create transformative justice strategies to increase civic engagement that affirms the inherent worth of underrepresented groups, especially impoverished Black mothers.



We envision training a faith-based abolitionist movement to repair harms, restore relationships, and rebuild a more just and equitable society for impoverished Black mothers to flourish beyond punishment, policing, and prisons.


We follow a 5C-value system derived from the survival strategies of Black mothers who struggle to provide for themselves and their families against interlocking systems of oppression. These values counter the vices of condemnation, neglect, conformity, cowardice, and individualism—all of which support and perpetuate carceral systems.


We value compassion to lead restorative responses to harms rooted in accountability and not punishment or condemnation.


We value care as rooted in healing, mutuality, and safety to realize civil and human rights.


We value creativity to imagine new pathways, policies, and programs to build a more just and equitable society.


We value courage to challenge structural injustices and to end mass incarceration.


We value community to organize collective action and build coalitions that are self-sustaining and safeguarded by communal led approaches to human flourishing.

We advocate for compassion as a salient response to recognizing vulnerable groups’ inherent worth and dignity while honoring the dire circumstances and contexts that inform decision-making and agency that may transgress dominant social standards.

We illuminate the radical practice of care for the most vulnerable by affirming the fundamental right to equality, dignity, and freedom.

We affirm the power of creativity to imagine new pathways, policies, and programs toward a more just society.

We believe that courage can galvanize a liberation movement to radically challenge structural injustices, notwithstanding ending discriminatory policing, criminalization, and mass incarceration.

We uphold the import of beloved community for coalition building, shared accountability, and collective flourishing.


The following five vices reinforce carcerality and punitive responses: The vice to compassion is condemnation, which seeks to punish, blame, and target underrepresented populations as deviants and unworthy of human dignity or access to flourishing. The vice to care is neglect. The inability to build infrastructure and programs that make it possible for people to access resources and meet basic needs or to thrive is a form of negligence that impedes economies of care. The vice to creativity is conformity, which stifles liberative imaginations to conjure new and transformative possibilities. The vice to courage is cowardice, or the fear of confronting and dismantling interlocking systems of oppression. The vice to community is individualism and self-interest that undergirds neoliberal capitalism, narratives of personal responsibility and blames the poor for their own oppression.
Values Vices










These values guide our ethical practices to conduct business, deliver programs and services, and to guide social interactions as compassionate, caring, creative, courageous, and communal-driven leaders.

Theory of Change

Abolitionist Sanctuary is a pioneer in a faith-based abolitionist movement that centers an intersectional approach to respond to the moral crisis of mass incarceration and interlocking systems of oppression that disproportionately disadvantage poor Black mothers and other underrepresented groups.

Our theory of change is to infuse faith-based values with abolitionist principles to certify and train communities to become abolitionist sanctuaries that work together to repair, restore, and rebuild a more just and equitable society.

To repair harms and redress injustices by making an amends rooted in accountability and transformation.
To restore relationships and recognize the collective worth of our shared humanity.
To rebuild more just and equitable systems for communal flourishing.


Abolitionist Sanctuary utilizes the following three approaches when designing courses, programs, and events to advance our mission: Womanist and Constructive theologies, and Community-Based and Participatory Research.


Womanist methodology gives epistemic privilege to the experiences of Black women who endeavor to survive and secure a quality of life against interlocking systems of oppression. Likewise, Abolitionist Sanctuary emerges from the lived realities of poor Black mothers who exercise moral agency to “make a way out of no way.” These survival practices provide instructions to circumvent unjust social conditions with a liberating faith and political resistance to ensure that Black mothers and their families and communities can thrive. Womanism validates the interior lives of Black women and other oppressed groups as a source of moral integrity aligned with the divine.

Constructive Theology

Constructive theology is the exercise of creating new paradigms that go beyond critique to identifying interventions or solutions to problems. Abolitionist Sanctuary uses constructive theology to generate new ways of thinking about God in proximity to carceral experiences that intersect with racial, gender, and class inequities. Specifically, we construct a Liberation Theology of Lockdown America that uses restorative and transformative justice strategies to redress punitive church teachings. In addition, we apply emancipatory theologies to train faith communities to influence policy agendas, assess their complicity in participating in punitive logics, and increase civic engagement to extend the ministry of Jesus, a first-century abolitionist.

Community-Based and
Participatory Research

Community-based research is grounded in the experiences of individuals closest to the issues needing study and interventions. Abolitionist Sanctuary derives solutions primarily grounded in the lived realities of impoverished Black mothers criminalized for their survival and otherwise justice-impacted. This embodied knowledge is a living text that guides pathways to amplifying the voices of Black mothers, identifying mutual aid strategies, and applying abolitionist principles to create a more just and equitable society where Black mothers and their families can thrive.