Abolitionist Sanctuary online is a social learning community designed for adult learners to apply the PACT method developed by Rev. Nikia S. Robert, PhD. Students begin by learning Principles of abolition, identifying Action steps to apply these principles within a Coalition of abolitionists and demonstrating Transformative justice strategies to create sanctuaries that repair, restore, and rebuild more just and equitable systems for communal flourishing.
PACTS with Our Partners
Abolitionist Sanctuary creates PACTS with our partners to generate the following benefits:
Adapt an abolitionist value system consisting of compassion, creativity, care, courage, and community to counter the vices of punitive responses with liberative and transformative outcomes.
Apply abolitionist principles to real-life contexts that center the moral integrity of Black women and mothers in pursuit to achieve more just and equitable solutions.
Build a coalition of membership organizations and individuals to advance a faith-based abolitionist movement centering poor Black mothers.
Demonstrate the impact of interventions and learning for social transformation.
Showcase learning outcomes and award churches, civic organizations, and educational institutions as an official Abolitionist Sanctuary and trusted expert on ascertaining and applying abolitionist principles that promote emancipatory and equitable solutions.
Training the Next
Generation of Abolitionists
We call upon all Americans to use the social learning community at AbolitionistSanctuary.org and the Abolition Academy as a training ground to curate your identity as a contemporary abolitionist. The following reflections guide abolitionists-in-training to, first, ground themselves in the principles of the movement and, second, to help make Abolition, not a political slogan but a way of life.
Abolition is Not a Political Slogan. Abolition is a Way of Life
We apply abolition principles to every aspect of our lives—our families, houses of worship, communities, schools, workplaces, health centers, and laws. Freedom cannot be contained to one sector of society. Freedom knows no bounds. To be truly liberated, we must make liberation a pervasive force in every aspect of our lives—not just for our ancestors, not just for ourselves, but for all generations to come.
Poverty is Not a Crime.
Black and Brown communities survive and thrive despite centuries of systematic oppression. And yet, people of color, especially Black women, know poverty more than anyone in America. Structural inequities systematically disadvantage Black women and their families, as seen in how businesses and government herded them into redlined districts of poverty.
Black women have been historically and are currently harmed by systemic racism, preventing equal access to high-quality education and employment. Black women’s pursuit of overcoming unjust social conditions to provide for their families is not a crime.
We demand that governments and businesses stop predatory practices against impoverished people.
These inhumane practices will cease if the public takes shared responsibility for ending the misinformation about people experiencing poverty. The cultural stereotypes of the economically disadvantaged undergird the morally rot justifications for emboldening a police state that fears and preys on poor people.
Poverty is not a crime. People with low incomes are moral, people experiencing poverty are generous, and people experiencing poverty are trustworthy and demand our collective respect.
Work is a Human Right.
America led the world in crafting a Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaiming that everyone has the right to work without discrimination. And yet, in America, “Black women’s earnings are 63% of white, non-Hispanic men’s earnings,” according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
Black women want and demand equal work for equal pay. Black women of all identity groups in America know the demoralizing systems that oppress the unemployed and underemployed. Black women’s demands for equal and humane work are an extension of the fundamental human rights that are systematically denied.
Trust Black Women. Trust Black Mothers.
Black women are more likely to be single parents in America than any other race. They often have the sole burden of raising families while facing housing discrimination and lack of access to quality healthcare.
The criminal system preys on black women and perpetuates a cycle of poverty, further fueling the prejudice they face in education and employment. Listen to Black women. Listen to Black mothers. Trust them. Know their names, learn their stories, and treat their direct experiences as sacred texts.
The ancestral wisdom that fuels today’s abolitionist movement rests in their memory, pulsing in their muscle. Black women are Abolitionists’ spiritual and moral guides.
Black Bodies Suffer.
Studies show that American doctors falsely perceive Black women, Black children, and Black men as having a lesser ability to feel pain. Take that in. How can one group in the human race collectively feel less pain than any other human?
This false narrative directly results from centuries of portraying Black people as less than human. The vile rationale goes like this: If they are less than, they feel less pain, and harm is justifiable. As a result of these obscene portrayals, Black people experience a pervasive evil because Americans have and continue to fall victim to this disgusting narrative.
Evil narratives have falsely taught its citizenry that Black and Brown people should be feared, controlled, enslaved, bound, arrested, beaten, sentenced, and imprisoned. For God’s sake, Black bodies have been the subjects of medical and military experiments. We see other inhumane treatment in schools, work, health centers, policing, and prisons. The diseased part of our society has subjected Black bodies to extreme suffering.
Black and Brown people and their communities are disproportionately impacted by moral and legal failures in policing, education, public health, and environmental protection. A day does not go by when Black and Brown mothers do not fear and weep for their family’s future.
They have inherent worth and dignity—it is not given and cannot be taken by any state. Their dignity is innate, an immaculate gift from God.
Yet, many Americans still fall victim to detached complacency to the suffering experienced by Black and Brown bodies. Evil breeds in a person who is deaf and blind to the suffering of another human being.
America must stop, acknowledge and feel the pain felt by Black bodies. The bellowing cries echo throughout history: “America, hear our cries, America, see our suffering, America, feel our pain, America, widen your circle of compassion.”
See the world through the eyes of Black people’s lived experiences. Suppose America continues not to weep for or with those who suffer. In that case, we have all the evidence that America is a callous and dangerously selfish society.
Join Abolitionists in transforming America into a deep-rooted culture of care, compassion, creativity, courage, and community. These abolitionist values will end complacency’s greatest desire: to lull Americans into forgetting that our suffering is shared.
We are not independent beings blind to one another’s trials. We are interdependent. Our suffering is intimately bound to one another. America, hear the cries, embody the suffering, and never stop weeping—for the suffocated wailing of Black pain is the sound of evil’s triumph.
Abolish Systems that Don’t Liberate.
The perverse and immoral “war on drugs” has terrorized Black communities. Regardless of drug use or access rates, Black people are ten times more likely to be incarcerated for drug offenses. It is one of the countless examples of how so-called neutral laws are wolves in sheep’s skin, disproportionately targeting poor people and people of color.
The powerful have used laws to justify their biases, building systems that monitor, target, and terrorize the oppressed. If America’s legal system does not liberate the people from oppressive systems, America will replicate the destiny of empires throughout history and become its own demise.
History teaches us, even those written by colonists who enslaved human beings that political power comes from the consent of the governed. As contemporary abolitionists, we do not consent to laws that oppress, in either intent or effect.
It is our constitutional and moral right to abolish systems that harm and not heal our society. Abolitionists call Americans into a communal discernment circle to lay an ethical and legal foundation for ensuring the safety and well-being of the most vulnerable.
One Human. One Vote.
The common thread between poverty, punishment, policing, and prisons is that we are not a genuinely democratic nation. America’s electoral system was designed by enslavers to privilege slave states, creating for us today a mirage of a democracy that does not represent human beings.
- The value of a vote in the least populated state is three times more than in the most populated state.
- This injustice is evidence of evil practices poisoning the promise of self-governance when, in fact, elected officials select their voters by gerrymandering their districts.
- America’s colonial past is alive and well today, intentionally disenfranchising citizens who reside in territories and in the nation’s capital.
- Political funding corrupts and distorts the U.S. Constitution’s fundamental freedoms to falsely say that corporations are people.
This morally bankrupt notion will be America’s fall, for unchecked power is our country’s greatest threat.
To save America, we must abolish corruption, repair harms, restore justice, and rebuild an equitable democracy to achieve its liberating potential. Therefore, we call for the passage of the New Abolitionist Amendments to the U.S. Constitution that will include the abolishment of the electoral system, statehood for all territories and districts, the obstruction of corporations and outside groups’ unlimited funding of political campaigns, and once and for all, guarantee “one human, one vote.”
Peace is a Human Right.
America is at war. Policing has become a militarized tool that terrorizes Black and Brown communities. Their bodies and lands have been colonized and controlled for far too long.
Abolitionists demand peace to actualize the promise of their inalienable right to live in peace. Black and Brown people are self-determined and self-reliant. Their communities know best how to create cultures of peace. Black and Brown communities demand to live without gun violence, without being targets of violence in our schools and neighborhoods by a militarized state.
Abolitionists call on Americans to trust, hear, and follow Black and Brown people, for they know how to self-govern and achieve peace on their own terms.
America is Watching
How many Black lives have been taken by America’s militarized police system? As citizen journalists emboldened by smartphone technology, everyday people are collectively committed to broadcasting the injustices that Black and Brown communities have been experiencing for centuries.
Abolitionists call upon all Americans of every race, creed, age, and location to exercise their First Amendment rights to speech, press, assembly, and petition. Join us in recording and disseminating the horrors Black and Brown communities face at the hands of the police. We believe that if Americans know the truth, they will have no choice but to see that reform is not enough.
Clearly, Reform is Not Enough.
The definition of insanity is to do the same thing repeatedly and expect a different result. It is self-evident that criminal justice reform efforts are insane. Incrementalism has proven to be a sin. Recycling age-old reform efforts fail time and time again, leaving generations to bathe in a river of bloodshed. Reform is not enough. Reform is a mirage. How many lives must be lost at the hands of the indemnified actions of the police? How many?
Abolitionists call for Americans to take a bold and morally unwavering stance against the unchecked and unbridled power of the police state. It is self-evident that policing in America is an abomination. It is an obscene and brutal system that silences the rights of conscience of servicemen and women and abuses and oppresses vulnerable communities in the name of law and order. Immoral laws create chaos. Security efforts based on bias become what they set out against, creating instability and terror. Consequently, America’s policing system has become one of humanity’s greatest failures. The immoral poison that flows through it continues to contaminate America’s soul.
Abolitionists call on all Americans to have the courage to see the facts, to listen to their conscience and finally emancipate themselves from the mirage of reform. Doing so becomes the first act of reimagining laws that build new systems for peace and prosperity for all.
Laws are Moral Mirrors.
Laws reflect the moral positions made by those in power. They reflect who we are and who we want to be.
- What do our laws say about America, when as Michelle Alexander teaches, the U.S. “imprisons a larger percentage of its Black population than South Africa did at the height of apartheid.”
- What kind of society do we live in when Black women and Black mothers are overrepresented in U.S. prisons—they makeup thirteen percent of the population and yet are thirty percent of incarcerated women?
- Eighty percent of incarcerated women are mothers—which sentences generations into a cycle of poverty.
- How on earth can America morally or economically justify spending $80 billion per year on prisons?
The mirror of our laws reflects a simple truth: America’s criminal justice system is morally bankrupt. These laws are obscene and irreprehensible. The mirror of our laws reveals a corrupt, erratically fearful state that built an empire of jails and prisons—intentionally designed to incarcerate masses of people and even profit from them. It is self-evident that America’s mass incarceration system is evil.
Abolitionists call upon America to see this system through the lens of history and call it what it is: Slavery 2.0. The rise of jails and prisons is a contemporary phenomenon, a reaction to the civil rights movement. And the highest percentage of current imprisonments are in historical slave states. When coupled with laws that strip people of their voting rights, mass incarceration is a tool to suppress democracy. How on earth can Americans, let alone people of faith, support, work for, and even profit from these barbaric systems? America’s practice of mass incarceration is intentional, not an accident. It is a choice. It’s a deliberate design that is morally bankrupt and must be abolished.
Abolitionists invite Americans to imagine a new set of laws, a new set of moral mirrors that would truly reflect our deepest aspirations for freedom and human flourishing.
One Dollar. One Student.
The immoral school-to-prison pipeline is built into government budgets. States fund public schools primarily through property taxes. Consequently, poor neighborhoods have poor schools. Rich suburbs have rich schools. States fund one child’s education at a fraction of the rate of another—the only difference in the children is that they live on different sides of the tracks.
This vile system was born of racialized redlining practices, where banks and governments segregated Black and Brown communities into poverty zones. These individual lines, constructed by the powerful, caused generations of communities irreparable harm, denying an equal education to the systematically oppressed.
We demand that Americans abolish this corrupt funding system by passing a Constitutional Amendment that requires all federal, state, and local governments to guarantee equal funding for every child—one dollar, one student.
Education is Emancipation.
America’s public schools do not equally serve the entire public. Black history is being banned and erased from the public curriculum, and textbooks omit fundamental facts and intentionally mislead young minds by painting a fraudulent history of America. This type of shady education is perverted. When used to control people and suppress facts, education becomes propaganda in the name of patriotism. There is nothing patriotic about lies. Misinformation and disinformation campaigns are threats to our collective freedoms. Americans know firsthand that we are in a cultural civil war, where people of color once again have the most to lose. Corrupt public institutions are erasing their public history.
As Abolitionists, we call upon all Americans to see that Black and Brown people are enlightened and whose direct experience is a powerful form of knowledge and wisdom. Their ancestors’ sacrifices must be valued and accurately characterized. They have made profound contributions to human expression. Their stories matter. Their way of knowing is distinct and culturally relevant. They teach us the fundamental reality that education is emancipation. Learning is an act of freedom and resistance to oppressive thoughts that imprison us all. Expression leads to human flourishing and enhances our collective evolution.
Imagine America Led by Abolitionists.
Abolitionists, regardless of race or religion, are people committed to their own self-emancipation as the first step in freeing another. They dedicate their lives to studying the state of unfreedom, to learn the awful truth that undergirds America’s laws and culture.
Abolitionists commit their lives to the rigorous moral training required for liberation. They learn from oppressed people throughout history, whose artists, clergy, and leaders have inspired rights movements around the globe.
Abolitionists value Black and Brown experiences, savor their cultures, and celebrate their courage. They learn from and uplift the voices of the oppressed. Despite the horrendous conditions, the oppressed thought and spoke for themselves and refused to imprison their minds because the world around them imprisoned their bodies.
Blackness and Brownness are cultures rooted in ancestral movements of liberation. Abolitionists see their words and deeds as sacred, savoring the inspiration that arose when they spoke truth into being.
Abolitionists call upon all Americans to know that their expression is powerful and generative. What would liberation movements throughout history be without songs of the oppressed and their intellectual and cultural contributions to humanity?
The minds of the oppressed are free, so much so that their words even liberate the very people whose feet are on their necks.
Fellow Americans, where do you currently stand? Are your feet on moral ground, or are they pressing into the flesh of someone gasping for air? Are you truly free from the delusions of entitlement, privilege, and the sin of complacency? You won’t fully know until your character is morally aligned with the principles of Abolition, which bases its blueprint for liberation on the simple fact that every successful rights movement inspired people to defend the rights of people other than themselves.
Join us in making Abolition, not simply a political slogan but America’s new way of life.