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Julia Chaffers


My new perspective on prison abolition

Often in the movement for criminal justice reform the question is, “How do we reduce mass incarceration?” What if we asked, “How do we eliminate incarceration altogether?”

What we can learn from New Zealand

New Zealand’s response is both inspiring and instructive for us here in America. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern visited Christchurch and addressed the people, many of whom are Muslim refugees, whose communities had been targeted, assuring them and the rest of the country that “they are us.” It was an act of leadership, inclusion, and empathy that feels far removed from our own politics. 

Admitting to the inequality in our schools

The aspect of this case that is so infuriating to people is the fact that rich parents were able to literally buy their children spots at elite colleges, but even if these families cut the line to get into schools, there are plenty of other ways to get ahead in the process.

The problem with saying “I don’t see color”

The dangers of colorblindness reach beyond the presidential race, however; advocacy for colorblind policy threatens many civil rights advances—see the resegregation of schools or the gutting of the Voting Rights Act—by failing to recognize continuing racial inequality.

The media’s responsibility to call out racism

The failure to label these incidents racist, the choice to instead tiptoe around it, to hedge their language, effectively excuses the offenders. In doing so, the media gives cover to the offenders, failing to condemn their acts with the strength necessary to truly bring change.

What it means to live in Wilson

And herein lies the problem. The pervasiveness of Wilson’s legacy on campus forces me to associate myself with a legacy I wholeheartedly reject.