Abolition Democracy Initiative

Abolition Democracy Initiative

2) The Vèvè Clark Institute for Engaged Scholars of African American Studies prepares a small cadre of undergraduate students majoring in the discipline of African American Studies to meet the rigor and intellectual demands of top research university graduate programs, professional schools and postgraduate careers. Clark Institute scholars attend monthly seminar meetings and weekly workshops and gain access to a variety of resources to support their academic development, including working closely with African American Studies faculty and graduate students. More information HERE.
3) Research for Reimagining Community Safety provides research-based recommendations to organizers who are on the frontlines of building community-led visions of safety, well-being, and justice in the Bay Area. The project is led Nikki Jones and James Burch, Anti Police-Terror Project Policy Director and inaugural member of the City of Oakland’s “Reimagining Public Safety Task Force,” and supported by the Spencer Foundation and the William T. Grant Foundation, in addition to the ADI. At Berkeley, Professor Jones leads an interdisciplinary group of graduate and undergraduate students working to generate research-based recommendations on alternative responses to community safety and programs that address the root causes of violence in the Bay Area and across the country.
4) The Black Panther Party Elders Project, led by Professor Ula Taylor, will interview former members of the Black Panther Party and activist elders living in the Bay Area. Undergraduates will be trained to conduct interviews and create an archive of completed interviews, housed at Doe library. Professor Taylor, along with History Professor Waldo Martin, will also lead The Black at CAL Student, Faculty, and Staff Project, which will bring together the historical artifacts of Black life and culture at Berkeley. Contributing to the Chancellor’s commitment to researching the history of slavery and settler-colonialism at Cal, undergrad and graduate students will produce a pamphlet documenting and detailing the complexity of these histories and experiences.
5) The Abolition Democracy Reading Group brings together an interdisciplinary group of graduate students to discuss recent and canonical texts in the area of abolition democracy, led by Professors Nikki Jones and Tianna Paschel and supported by the Social Sciences Division’s Advancing Faculty Diversity Initiative. The group’s focus on abolition democracy stems from the canonical work of W.E.B. Du Bois, who identified the failure of Reconstruction as a failure of the nation to provide the types of social institutions post-emancipation that could actually guarantee equality, safety and security for all in a multi-racial democracy. More recent work from emerging scholars and activists helps us to identify the ways that Du Bois’ early critique of white supremacy connects with emerging scholarship on abolition, anti-blackness, and the afterlives of slavery.

Featured Event

Critical Conversations Spring 2022: Celebrating the Life and Legacy of June Jordon

The Department of African American Studies at UC Berkeley’s 2021-22 Critical Conversations speaker series is organized as a celebration of the life and legacy of June Jordan, a gifted and prolific writer, a powerful activist, an innovative teacher and a longtime member of our Department. Fall 2021 will be devoted to June’s activist work, her prose and her architectural imaginary. Spring 2022 will be devoted to her work as a poet and teacher. Building on our successful Spring 2021 series celebrating Dr. Barbara Christian and exploring the concept of abolition democracy, this series continues to ask: what are the lessons of the Black Feminist, Black Radical, and Black intellectual traditions for our moment and what is the role of Black Studies in building more just futures? 

Fall 2021

A Place of Rage: June Jordan and her Circle 

Monday, September 20, 2021 @noon PST

Angela Y. Davis and Pratibha Parmar 

BAMPFA will stream A Place of Rage (dir. Pratibha Parmar, 1991) September 10-October 10, 2021  free of charge https://bampfa.org/event/streaming-place-rage 

REGISTRATION: https://us7.list-manage.com/survey?u=575b89865df7f8112afce03f2&id=c7f8da0aad 


Skyrise: June Jordan’s Architectural Imaginary 

Monday, October 4, 2021 @noon PST

 Olalekan Jeyifous,  Brandi Summers, and  Mabel O. Wilson 

REGISTRATION: https://us7.list-manage.com/survey?u=575b89865df7f8112afce03f2&id=e5bafda3ad 


Black Girlhood, Truth and Transformation

Monday, November 15, 2021 @noon PST

Cat Brooks, Kenly Brown, and Holly Joshi 

REGISTRATION: https://us7.list-manage.com/survey?u=575b89865df7f8112afce03f2&id=9efd296e87 


Spring 2022


Learning from June Jordan: A Poetry for the People Conversation

Monday, February 28, 2022 @noon PST

Samiya Bashir and Solmaz Sharif  

REGISTRATION: https://us7.list-manage.com/survey?u=575b89865df7f8112afce03f2&id=1b4f41a309 


Black Writers and the Bay

Monday, March 7, 2022 @noon PST

Tongo Eisen-Martin and Tanea Lunsford Lynx 

REGISTRATION: https://us7.list-manage.com/survey?u=575b89865df7f8112afce03f2&id=594896749d 


Black Childhoods

Monday, April 4, 2022 @noon PST

Joshua Bennett and Chiyuma Elliott

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400 Years of African American History Symposium

This day-long symposium will kick off a year of events at UC Berkeley to mark the 400 year anniversary of the beginning of slavery in North America. The events are being co-organized by the Haas Institute, the African American studies and history departments, the African American Student Development Center, and the Black Staff & Faculty Organization.

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