Lawyer, organiser and writer Derecka Purnell was initially skeptical about abolishing the police, until the things she saw and the people she spoke to changed her mind. Calling them when you are in crisis can feel like everything when the other option is nothing. In Becoming Abolitionists, Derecka details how multi-racial social movements rooted in rebellion, risk taking and revolutionary love pushed her and a generation of activists towards abolition. She speaks with acclaimed author and founding member of Sisters Inside, Melissa Lucashenko, about how abolition is not solely about getting rid of police, but a commitment to reducing and eliminating the problem of harm in society.

Derecka will be appearing live in person.

This event will be open captioned. 

Derecka Purnell (International)

Derecka Purnell

Derecka Purnell is a human rights lawyer, writer, and organizer. She received her JD from Harvard Law School, and works to end police and prison violence by providing legal assistance, research, and training to community-based organizations through an abolitionist framework. She has been featured on NPR and published in the New York Times, the Atlantic, the Boston Globe, Teen Vogue, and more. Derecka is currently a columnist at the Guardian and cofounder of the National Museum of Social Justice and Contemporary Activism.

Melissa Lucashenko (Australian)

Melissa Lucashenko

Melissa Lucashenko is a Goorie author of Bundjalung and European heritage. She has written six novels, including Too Much Lip which won the 2019 Miles Franklin Literary Award and Queensland Premier’s Award for a Work of State Significance. Melissa is a Walkley Award winner for her non-fiction and founding member of human rights organisation Sisters Inside. She writes about ordinary Australians and the extraordinary lives they lead. Melissa’s next novel Edenglassie will be published in 2023.