Abolitionist Intimacies Symposium

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Abolitionist Intimacies by El Jones was published in November 2022, born from over a decade of work supporting and advocating for incarcerated people. We invite you to a national symposium to celebrate and grow the work of El and other activists and authors on this topic. We aim to bring together a group of people doing crucial organizing and thinking on various aspects of abolition and prison justice across so-called Canada. The events will be open to the public, with limited registration, centring the voices of people who are working on aspects of abolition from transformative justice to legal strategies to Indigenous-led grassroots mobilizations.


* As of June 24, 2024. Please note this program is subject to change.

. Saturday, June 29, 2024

Love and Freedom: A roundtable on policing and prison justice

7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. (doors open 6:30 p.m.)
Halifax Central Library, Paul O’Regan Hall
5440 Spring Garden Road

This event is free, open to the public, and will be livestreamed on our YouTube channel. No registration needed for this event.


Poetry by Damini Awoyiga. Music by DJ Tranzishen.

. Sunday, June 30, 2024

Workshop Day: Abolition and its Intimacies

9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (doors open 8:30 a.m.)
The Blue Building Gallery and Wonder’neath Art Society
2482 Maynard Street

This event is in-person by registration only. Breakfast and lunch provided.

#JusticeForJared and the Art of Resistance by Laura Holland, Meenakshi Mannoe, and Magín Payet

9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.

As part of the Abolitionist Intimacies Symposium, you're invited to learn about #JusticeForJared, an advocacy campaign led by the Wet'suwet'en family and supporters of Jared "Jay" Lowndes, who was murdered by the Campbell River RCMP on July 8, 2021. For nearly three years, Jared's family has tirelessly demanded systemic change in response to the devastating police killings of Indigenous people in Canada. In this workshop, Jared's mother, Alunaye Laura Holland, along with supporters Magín Payet and Meenakshi Mannoe, will share insights into our organizing efforts. From legal advocacy to artistic interventions and direct action, we won't back down in our quest for justice. Visit justiceforjared.org for more information and discover how you can be part of this crucial movement for change — for Jared and all Indigenous people killed by colonial Canada. 

In Our Own Hands: Talking TJ and Abolition with Young People, by Rania El Mugammar

10:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.

This session explores tools and strategies for co-learning about transformative justice and abolition with little ones. Focusing on everyday and organized resistance, the session empowers families, communities, youth, and children with some of the foundational questions and interventions that enable us to get closer to a just world. The workshop is grounded in imagination and possibility as core approaches to liberation. 

Coercive Control, Domestic Homicide and Mass Casualties: A Transformative Justice Approach by Ardath Whynacht

12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Black feminist and abolitionist responses to gender-based and sexual violence have given us a pathway to preventing and healing from these harms without police intervention. However, carceral feminism continues to assert a need for police and prisons on the basis of high-risk gender-based violence that ends in homicide and mass casualties such as the Desmond family tragedy and the Portapique killings. While carceral feminists push for the expansion of criminal law and police intervention in domestic violence to address coercive control, abolitionist movements struggle to respond to this expansion of criminal law without a clear pathway for responding to lethal violence in ways that support transformative justice and reduce the expansion of police powers. This workshop will provide some frameworks and resources to understand lethal family violence and mass casualties in our own communities, offering insight into what a transformative justice approach might look like for homicide and coercive control.

Lunch, 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. 

Incarcerated Workers and the Labour Movement: Asserting the Fundamental Rights of Prisoners by Asaf Rashid

2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Unionization can alter the power imbalance between prisoners and the administration. As part of a larger push to support captive and precarious worker organizing, the labour movement's involvement in prisoner struggles for labour rights and freedom is crucial. Any such organizing by prisoners can only be achieved with outside support, including from the labour movement. Prisoners' labour conditions are inseparable from their conditions of incarceration, so when prisoners organize as workers, they can address fundamental issues of liberty and decarceration as well. The workshop will discuss strategies for getting incarcerated workers on the labour movement's agenda and supporting ongoing efforts by prisoners to unionize.

Research, Resist, Abolish: Interrogating the RCMP’s Community Industry Response Group (C-IRG) by molly murphy and Jen Gobby

3:15 p.m. - 4:15 p.m.

This workshop will introduce the C-IRG — a violent police force carrying out the historical, colonial oppression of Indigenous Peoples for the purpose of land grab and resource extraction. There are serious concerns of the ballooning costs and the use of the C-IRG as a template, ‘a national best practice’ for subduing protests. Molly has personally witnessed and been subjected to their particular form of violence and abuse of processes and will share her experiences as well as her research investigation into the C-IRG and her work with the Abolish C-IRG coalition. 

The Takeover: Carceral Urbanism in North End Halifax by Ted Rutland and Aaliyah Arab-Smith

4:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.

North End Halifax is an historically working-class neighbourhood and the urban heart of the African Nova Scotian community. Over the last fifty years, city officials have repeatedly taken steps to "revitalize" the area, displacing working-class and Black residents in order to create a more attractive space for middle-class residents, tourists, and capital. This workshop traces the history of what many have called "the takeover" of the North End, and explores how two forms of state intervention were essential to it: urban planning policies and policing. Beginning in the 1970s, urban planning policies were continually used to support the upgrade/renovation of North End housing, restrict lower-income housing and services, and identify areas that required more intensive policing, like the Uniacke Square housing complex. While these police actions are often credited for making the North End safer, we turn to interviews with residents to show how it provided a feeling of safety for incoming residents at the expense of the community safety practiced by longtime African Nova Scotian residents.

. Monday, July 1, 2024

Over the course of the workshops on June 30th we invite you to use Wonder’neath’s studio space to make some art, banners, puppets, piñatas, etc. to use during events on July 1. Closer to the date, details of these events will be shared with registered participants. 

Register Waitlist

We’ve reached our registration capacity for the June 30th workshops. Please register to waitlist. We’ll let you know if a spot opens up. Please note that the program on June 29th is free, open to the public and will be livestreamed.


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