Welcome to the Abolition Classroom

June & July in Annex A 

Every Sunday before and after service, the classroom will be open for self learning and exploration with further date-specific events coming later.

Please also visit our Abolition Classroom website at phoenixuu.org/abolition for the latest updates and resources.

An Invitation to the Abolition Classroom from Mx. Jezz of UUCP Children’s Ministries

Welcome to the Abolition Classroom! For the months of June and July, there will be an ongoing classroom exhibit in Annex A on the subject of abolition. From the early abolition movement that confronted slavery to the current times of abolitionists still challenging legal slavery in ice detention centers and prisons, there is a need to look at life through an abolitionist lens. For our youth it may look like solving conflicts without relying on principals so they can avoid Student Resource Officers and the school to prison pipeline. Come explore the classroom and learn something new about abolition. 

For Unitarian Universalists the subject of abolition will look differently for everyone. While some of us may not know if they identify as an abolitionist, some UU’s are constantly reading about abolition while working to defund the police. Let’s face it though, learning to not rely on the police is part of being a UU. Across age groups, immigration status and race lines the relevancy for abolition will look different. Part of the goal of this exhibit is to help convey why we must all be abolitionists. 

Being an abolitionist helps uplift our 8th principle and supports antiracist efforts. One of the stations highlights the UU World article “A message to white Unitarian Universalists” from our past Reverend and current UU President Susan Frederick-Gray. This letter specifically challenges white UU’s to look at how they rely on police and challenge it. The resources in the Abolitionists Classroom can help everyone learn how to further their identity as an abolitionist or stretch themselves to lean into abolition more.

The classroom highlights many already existing abolitionist resources. This is a brief list of some of the current stations on display: 

PODER in Action and the Phoenix Futuro Safety and Policing Report 

This exhibit explains why especially people of color in Phoenix do not feel safe with police in their communities.

“Throughout 2018 – 2019 Poder in Action staff and community volunteers surveyed over 10,000 people, mostly in South Phoenix and Maryvale, about their experiences and perceptions of police. The survey asked residents about safety, police interactions, and perceptions of the Phoenix Police Department. The goal of the study was to better understand the complex relationship communities of color in Phoenix have with policing in our neighborhoods.“

Phoenix Futuro full report PDF.

What to Read about Abolition Station

Sundays there will be a reading section up with example books from Mx. Jezz’s library. There will always be a poster up and a few zines that help explain abolition more from the group Interrupting Criminalization and Project NIA.

Transformative Justice

This interactive space focuses on transformative justice using prompts and a resource from Project NIA called How To Share Space: Creating Community in Classrooms and Beyond.

Radical Roadmaps:

This station is a display of visual graphics from a group called Radical Roadmaps. The station provides visual maps for explaining different complex concepts regarding abolition. The concepts are explained in visual flowcharts instead of paragraphs and lengthy text. 

For more information, contact jezzputnam@phoenixuu.org .