104 Law, Public Policy, and Abolition

104 Law, Public Policy, and Abolition explores the public policy design process and how to influence policy agendas. Participants will begin with terminology and continue to learn how to influence political decision-making and actuate change. Students will also learn the impact of degenerative policies that allocate burdens (and benefits) to target populations constructed as deviant (or advantaged). Students are invited to use resources in these lessons in connection to real-life contexts to develop transformative justice strategies and pursue public policy outcomes for social change.

Certifying Organization

Abolitionist Sanctuary is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that trains faith communities, educational institutions, and civic organizations to unite against the moral crisis of mass incarceration and the criminalization of impoverished Black motherhood. Our research-based expertise and community organizing experience in connection to a national coalition grounds the learning material in this certification program.

Learning Objectives

In this course, we center policies that give power to the people! We explore public policy process designs and actors who influence political decision-making. We evaluate the harms of degenerative policies that construct target populations as deviant and assign punishment, as well as generative policies that assign awards and contribute to building more just and equitable systems.

By successfully completing this course, you will:

  1. Learn key terminology to understand concepts related to public policy design;
  2. Understand the influence race, gender, and class have on the public policy process;
  3. Apply a social constructionist lens to critique degenerative policies; and
  4. Identify key elements of the policy process and ways to set policy agendas for social change.


Rev. Nikia Smith Robert, Ph.D.

Founder & Executive Director

Abolitionist Sanctuary

Adriana Rivera

STAAR Curriculum Intern, Abolitionist Sanctuary

Minister of Youth and Households, Edgewater Congregations Together (ELCA)

Jazzmin Duncan

Student Abolition Ambassador


Vaughn Brown

Policy Intern, Student

Pomona College

Bithiah Negusu

Student Abolition Ambassador

Abolitionist Sanctuary

Not Enrolled

Course Includes

  • 6 Lessons
3-hour course

Beginner, College, Graduate, Continuing Education, Professional Development


Civic Education for the Common Good.

We apply the U.S. Department of Education’s Consensus Statements about Constitutional Approaches for Teaching about Religion:

▸ Our approach to religion is academic, not devotional;
▸ We strive for student awareness of religions, but do not press for student acceptance of any religion;
▸ We sponsor the study about religion, not the practice of religion;
▸ We expose students to a diversity of religious views, but do not impose any particular view;
▸ We educate about all religions, we do not promote or denigrate any religion;
▸ We inform students about religious beliefs and practices, it does not seek to conform students to any particular belief or practice.

We apply the American Academy of Religion’s “Religious Literacy Guidelines”

▸ “Religious Literacy Guidelines for College Students.” American Academy of Religion, 2019.

▸ “Teaching About Religion: AAR Guidelines for K-12 Public Schools.” American Academy of Religion, April 2010.

Special Thanks

A special thanks to the founding members of Abolitionist Sanctuary’s Board of Directors and STAAR Intern, Adriana Rivera, M.DIV. The leadership of Rev. Dr. Nathan C. Walker and the onboarding and technical support provided by his team at 1791 Delegates. The continuation of this work depends on contributions from generous supporters like you. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to the Abolitionist Sanctuary, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization (EIN 86-2003530). With you support, we can create additional courses and certification programs to train the next generation of abolitionists.