Story at a glance

  • Colin Kaepernick is an activist and former football player who is known for his kneeling protest against racism and police brutality.
  • Kaepernick Publishing has partnered with LEVEL to publish a new series calling for the abolition of the police.
  • Contributors include Dr. Angela Davis, Dr. Simone Brown and Gwendolyn Woods.

"Abolition is the answer for a failed police and prison system," proclaims "Abolition for the People," a new project by Colin Kaepernick's publishing company and LEVEL, a Medium publication for men on sex, culture, race and identity. 

The series of 30 essays and conversations touches on nearly all of those subjects in its exploration of a future without police and without prisons. 

"Not only do police and prisons fail to make us safer, but reform has only strengthened their most toxic ingrained practices. The only answer is abolition, a full dismantling of the carceral state and the institutions that support it," reads the introduction, which is followed by an essay by Kaepernick himself on "The Demand for Abolition."


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Protesters' demands to "defund the police" have taken hold in some cities since police killed George Floyd earlier this year. But Kaepernick, whose own views have changed since he first began kneeling during the national anthem as a form of protest, says "f--- reform."

"Ultimately, I realized that seeking reform would make me an active participant in reforming, reshaping, and rebranding institutional white supremacy, oppression, and death," he writes. 


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In each installation in the series, seven of which have been published so far, various authors discuss the subjects of police, prisons, reform or abolition. 

"Both policing and punishment are firmly rooted in racism," writes scholar Angela Davis in her essay, "Why Arguments Against Abolition Inevitably Fail." The acclaimed activist continues, “For those who recognize that racism feeds the proliferation of police violence and the decades-old surge of prison populations but who still insist that these institutions are simply in need of deliberate reform, it might be helpful to reflect on the fact that similar logic was used about slavery.”

In another article, Kiese Laymon speaks to Gwendolyn Woods, the mother of Mario Woods, who was killed by San Francisco police officers on Dec. 2, 2015. Kaepernick has cited his death as one of the reasons he began kneeling during NFL games in 2016. 

"Colin’s integrity outweighs everything popular. When you see that integrity, you must stand up. You must fight. Colin Kaepernick’s story is the story of what happens to integrity and love of Black folks in the United States. This country hates integrity. I’m gonna be honest. They don’t hate Colin. They think they do. They hate integrity. He told them they are responsible for a history of brutality. Telling the truth should not be a risk. But it is for us," Gwendolyn Woods said. 


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Published on Oct 07, 2020