Derecka Purnell on Abolition and the Pursuit of Freedom
In Conversation with Alex Vitale on The Quarantine Tapes
Hosted by Paul Holdengräber, The Quarantine Tapes chronicles shifting paradigms in the age of social distancing. Each day, Paul calls a guest for a brief discussion about how they are experiencing the global pandemic.
On Episode 210 of The Quarantine Tapes, guest host Alex Vitale is joined by the brilliant Derecka Purnell. Derecka is the author of the newly-released Becoming Abolitionists: Police, Protests, and the Pursuit of Freedom.
Derecka and Alex have an incredible conversation about abolition and organizing. Derecka talks about her own background and how she came to the abolition movement. She celebrates the many incredible campaigns working for abolition and justice in her hometown of St. Louis. Derecka and Alex discuss the rhetoric of dehumanization, the myth of a progressive prosecutor, and their frustrations with some criticisms of the abolition movement in a fascinating and deeply informative episode.
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Derecka Purnell is a lawyer, writer, organizer, and author of forthcoming Becoming Abolitionists: Police, Protests, and the Pursuit of Freedom. She works to end police and prison violence by providing legal assistance, research, and trainings in community based organizations through an abolitionist framework.