I am not searching for perfection: Maisha Jahzara on Abolition

Abolition has brought me to become involved in helping those who are unable to defend themselves against those who by choice oppress individuals for their own fulfillment. Slavery and mass incarceration are examples of such oppression which is done whether a person is guilty or not. In some cases, those who were convicted of a crime they did not commit serve more time in prison than the people who are actually guilty. This system is extremely imperfect and I am not searching for perfection but what I am seeking is a system that follows every possible means to do the right thing and not always rely on what others may think or say. In addition, I am seeking a system that does not fabricate the truth to make a name for themselves without considering a person’s life. We have witnessed how that has happened from the examples of innocent people being finally set free after spending most of their lives in bondage.

Today, abolition means still advocating for those who are unable to help themselves by taking a look at the laws or practices that can be deemed harmful to people. For instance, there are laws in place that are supposed to protect victims of rape, molestation and incest only to have some kind of twist in that law to cause them to fight for the right to have charges brought against the accuser without the stigma of ridicule. Also, any laws in force that protect the accused against any false accusations of the latter. Abolition means ending the unjustifiable laws, acts or bills that are in effect that take away an individual’s personal freedom from confinement, servitude and oppression.

—Maisha Jahzara [a pseudonym]

[This post is part of a series of “Abolition Statements” from members of the Abolition Journal Collective and Editorial Review Board. See here for a brief introduction to these posts.]