The Root Institute 2021: Defund, Abolish or Reform? What to Do About Police and Prisons

September 21, 2021
Vanessa De Luca
The Root

Say what you want, but here’s what we know to be true: the current state of over-policing in our communities combined with the prison industrial complex have created an existential crisis that needs to be sorted out, sorted through and resolved. The two women Michael Harriot spoke with in this episode of The Root Institute are unapologetic about their stances on this subject.

Brittany Packnett Cunningham is vice president of social impact at BET, an NBC News and MSNBC contributor, and host of UNDISTRACTED, a news and justice podcast with an intersectional lens on the world. A lifelong activist and proud member of the Ferguson Uprising, Brittany focuses her work on freedom.

With more than a decade of civic engagement organizing, Monica Bandele sits on the steering committee for Communities United for Police Reform and is an activist with the Black Lives Matter Movement. She helped launch two successful legal cases against police misconduct (Daniels v. NYC and Floyd v. NYC); conducted Know Your Right workshops for thousands of community members; and worked to pass landmark police reform legislation in New York City (Community Safety Act 2013).

During the course of their conversation, these activists give us much to consider as we try to discern the best course of action in dealing with police and prisons. Brittany Packnett Cunningham raises the point that first we may need to reimagine what a world could be like without over-policing:

If we consider that systemic racism is ingrained into the very fissures of this country, it can be hard to imagine a world where are not seen as a threat. Packnett Cunningham and Bandele encourage us to try.

Topics: NYC Budget Justice