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Our Work

Ab·o·li·tion

/ˌabəˈliSH(ə)n/

1 : the act of officially ending or stopping something : the act of abolishing something

abolition of the death penalty

2 : the act of officially ending slavery

a proponent of abolition

Our solutions are accomplished through implementing our theory of change. We believe change is horizontal and combines legislation, litigation, education, advocacy training, and direct action. We also believe in direct democracy which shifts power from elected officials and governmental institutions directly into the hands of the people. Change only happens when the people who are the most directly affected are creating and implementing solutions.

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Life Sentence Reduction

Our campaign to reduce Tennessee’s 51 year life sentence to 25 years has been ongoing since our inception.  Tennessee is the only state where a life sentence with parole is 51 calendar years, resulting in three de facto death penalties in Tennessee.  We have sponsored bills to end these life sentences with increasing support through political education and collaboration with partner organizations. In 2021, our bill passed the State Senate but we were unable to pass it through the House. We also spearheaded a lawsuit that went to the State Supreme Court challenging this life sentence. 

We are in support of the most recent life sentence reduction bill, HB2821(Camper)/SB2768(Bowling) which is currently making its way through the 113th Legislative Session. Stay tuned on ways to support it!

Slavery Abolition

In 2022, we successfully amended Article 1 Section 33 of the Tennessee State Constitution amended the criminality exception which allowed for slavery to remain legal in Tennessee. We continue to work with our national coalition partners to expand abolition to other states and grow the movement to abolish the exception clause in the 13th amendment of the United States Constitution. We are also working with our partners behind prison walls and in the free world to implement the changes which would change the conditions for everyone who has been legally classified as a slave.

We are still working in coalition with the Abolish Slavery National Network to spread the slavery abolition movement across the country.

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Abolition of Private Prisons

We believe that the abolition of private prisons is an obvious first step to comprehensive abolition of all prisons.  In the past, we have organized direct actions targeting CoreCivic, and through community organizing with RTTC (Rotten To The Core Coalition) ended CoreCivic’s multi decade jail contract with Nashville. 

However, the work continues. We continue to provide supportive spaces to families who have loved ones incarcerated in CoreCivic facilities which facilities their ability to advocate for their loved ones.

Community Coalitions

We could not do the work that we do without our community partners. In addition to the coalitions we have convened and are part of which are involved in grassroot legislative and electoral organizing, we are active in collaborations which directly address the harm the carceral system causes to our families and communities.

To this end, we have convened Nashville Community Crisis Response which is a group of organizations and individuals who are working to build a completely community based mental health crisis response which does not rely on police. 

We are also giving support to organizations established behind the walls by insiders who are banding together to improve their conditions while in prison. One of our sponsored organizations is Be the Change LGBTQ+ Community

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Abolition in Action

Abolition is not just an abstract ideal. While it is inspirational and aspirational, we do not have the luxury of waiting until conditions are perfect to begin transforming our society. We can start that work now.

We believe abolition is the answer to so many of the most intractable problems facing us today. The core of abolition is relationship-building: healing fractured family and community relationships and creating new relationships between people and groups which did not exist before. In building these relationships, we create the networks which hold our society together and strengthen our democracy.

We have long worked in partnership with the Abolish Slavery National Network in changing state laws that uphold the practice of slavery across the nation and will eventually build the movement to remove the exception from the 13th Amendment.

Our Lead Organizer is also a member of the first cohort of the Women of Democracy Transformation Summit which is a selected group of women of color across the country who are working in their cities and states to challenge the forces which are working to undermine democracy nationally. This organization believes that women of color, who have been marginalized and ignored, hold the key to keeping our democracy alive. 

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