2021 Colloquium: Defund to Abolish


Defund to Abolish brought together community organizers, legal practitioners, and activist scholars to unpack and explore strategies to defund and abolish the police, and engage with the imaginative possibilities of a police-free world.

Para leer más sobre el Coloquio Desfinanciar Para Abolir en espańol, ¡haga clic aquí!

Learn more about our panels below, and more about our panelists here. You can find our brochure here in English and Spanish, and a Take Action resource here in English and Spanish.

Organized by NYU Review of Law and Social Change Colloquia Editors Aiesha Krause-Lee, Claire Lowinger-Iverson, and Lauren Wilfong, with the support of the RLSC Colloquium Committee, in partnership with NYU Black Allied Law Student Association and Latinx Law Students Association, with the co-sponsorship of 40+ NYU Law organizations, and the generous fiscal support of the NYU Law Student Bar Association.

Video: Day 1 (Panels I & II)

ASL interpretation is available on the Spanish language recording.

Video: Day 2 (Panels III & IV)

American Sign Language simultaneous interpretation provided by All Hands In Motion. Contact them at: http://www.allhandsinmotion.com/contact.

Panel I: Defund Means Defund

February 9, 2021 5:30-6:45pm ET

Panelists contextualized the current moment, discussed the divide between reformist and abolitionist strategies, and laid out a vision for the future of the movements to defund and abolish the police.

Jamelia Morgan (moderator) | University of Connecticut School of Law
Andrea Ritchie | Interrupting Criminalization
CeCe McDonald | The Black Excellence Collective, Black Excellence Tour, and Black Youth Support Network
Kempis “Ghani” Songster | Amistad Law Project and Abolitionist Law Center
Mimi Kim | Creative Interventions
Mon Mohapatra | 8 to Abolition

Read the full transcript of the panel here, and highlights from the panel here.

Panel II: Abolishing Police Across Intersecting Systems

February 9, 2021 6:45 – 8:00pm ET 

This panel highlighted examples of how policing and criminalization show up in major institutions and industries as varied as technology, education, immigration enforcement, and sex work, and strategies organizers are using to remove police from these systems and spaces.

Deborah Archer (Moderator) | NYU School of Law, Center on Race Inequality and the Law
Jeanette Orellana | Girls for Gender Equity
Jared Trujillo | Decrim NYC
Sarah Hamid | The Carceral Tech Resistance Network
Tsion Gurmu | Black Alliance for Just Immigration

Read the full transcript of the panel here, and highlights from the panel here.

Panel III: Communities Without Police – We Keep Our Communities Safe

February 10 5:30- 6:45pm ET

Panelists shared concrete examples of abolitionist strategies for community safety and discussed their vision for community safety systems that do not rely on policing. 

Zach Norris (moderator) | Ella Baker Center for Human Rights
Danielle Sered | Common Justice
Kelly Savage-Rodriguez | Survived and Punished
Kerbie Joseph | Audre Lorde Project, Safe OUTside the System
Lilac Maldonado | The Fireweed Collective

Read the full transcript of the panel here, and highlights from the panel here.

Panel IV: Defunding the Police in Practice

February 10 6:45-8:00pm ET

Organizers waging campaigns to defund the police in cities across the U.S. reflected on different strategies and tactics to defund the police, what barriers they have faced, and what strategies have proved most effective.

Amna Akbar (moderator) | Ohio State University Moritz College of Law
Anthonine Pierre | Communities United for Police Reform and Brooklyn Movement Center
Chas Moore | Austin Justice Coalition
D’atra Jackson | Durham Beyond Policing and BYP100
James Burch | Anti Police-Terror Project
Truth Maze | Reclaim the Block

Read the full transcript of the panel here, and highlights from the panel here.


This event would not have been possible without our partners, NYU Black Allied Law Student Association and Latinx Law Students Association, the Student Bar Association, and our 40+ co-sponsors:
NYU Center on Race, Inequality, and the Law
Alternative Breaks
American Constitution Society
Asia Law Society (ALS)
Black Allied Law Student Association (BALSA)
CannaLaw Society
Christian Legal Fellowship (CLF)
Coalition on Law and Representation (CoLR)
Defender Collective
Disability Allied Law Students Association (DALSA)
Domestic Violence Advocacy Project (DVAP)
Education Law and Policy Society
Ending the Prison Industrial Complex (EPIC)
Environmental Law Society (ELS)
Health Law & Policy Society (HLPS)
HIV Law Society (HIVLS)
Latinx Law Students Association (LaLSA)
Law & Government Society
Law Dems
Law Students for Economic Justice (LawSEJ)
Law Students for Justice in Palestine (LSJP)
Law Women
Mental Health Law and Justice Association (MHLJA)
Middle Eastern Law Students Association (MELSA)
Midwestern Law Society
National Lawyers’ Guild – NYU Chapter
National Security Law Society
NYU Law & Political Economy Association
NYU Law Immigrant Rights Project
NYU Mediation Organization (NMO)
Public Interest Law Student Association (PILSA)
Research, Education and Advocacy to Combat Homelessness (REACH)
Resisting Injustice and Standing for Equality (RISE) Indivisible
Rights Over Tech
Social Enterprise & Startup Law Group (SE-SL)
South Asian Law Students Association (SALSA)
Sports Law Association
Student Advocates for Empowerment Through Harm Reduction (SAFER)
Student Animal Legal Defense Fund (SALDF)
Student Bar Association (SBA)
Suspension Representation Project (SRP)
Unemployment Action Center (UAC)
West Coast Connection (WCC)
Women of Color Collective (WoCC)