Understanding Abolitionism and Transformative Justice: A conversation with Jason Sole

Dec 17, 2020

Bring your gifts to the work, dig in and enjoy it.

 Jason Sole

More information can be found at www.socialchangeleaders.net

“Defund the Police” has become a popular phrase used this past year and elicits strong reactions.  In this episode we move beyond this phrase to talk about what abolitionism and transformative justice truly means in a powerful conversation with Jason Sole.  Jason is the co-founder of the movement Humanzie My Hoodie, a criminal justice professor, author, activist and abolitionist.  Jason both talks about the ways that our current system does not work for all citizens and also paints a picture of what it could look like if we reimagined how our society addresses issues of housing, food, addiction, mental health and other key social issues often left to the police to handle. 

In the episode we:

  • Hear the story of Jason’s early life in Chicago and how he eventually ended up in Minnesota 
  • Learn the story of how the Humanize My Hoodie movement got started by a challenge Jason had for his college classes to understand the negative stigma of hoodies sweatshirts being work by people of color.
  • Be inspired by how Jason Sole and his business partner and friend Andre launched and the initial Humanize My Hoodie clothing line which has turned into a national brand and movement  
  • Understand the abolitionist education framework and its central theme of speaking truth and taking bold action
  • Hear Jason discuss current and historical abolishionists including Harriet Tubman who sought to abolish slavery, not trying to get nicer plantations for slaves
  • Hear how abolitionists are leading the way to eliminate systems that do not work and how they are pushing for reallocation of resources to improve communities 
  • Abolitionists can see a dream where all are healing from trauma and coming together to heal. Dream of a different world and putting resources to put these dreams into fruition
  • Hear a real-world examples of simple actions being taken to meeting needs can better solve problems
  • Be challenged to understand how white people can do a deeper dive and use privilege to have conversations and work to soften the hearts of those that support practices and policies that hurt people of color 
  • Hear Jason talk about the need to liberate yourself before you can liberate other people and how to be creative in the way you love other people
  • Learn about how you can get involved whether it is through the Allies workshop

In this episode we reference: 

Humanize My Hoodie

Humanize My Hoodie Ally Online Workshop

Humanize My Hoodie Documentary

Ava DuVernay’s Film “13

Jason Sole’s website

Prison By Any Other Name by Maya Schenwar

More about Jason Sole:

Jason Sole works with organizations and individuals who believe that there must be equity for there to be freedom and that there must be a radical redefining of criminality for there to be justice. 

Jason has been a criminal justice educator for a decade (served as an assistant professor at two academic institutions) and is currently an adjunct professor at Hamline University. He is a national keynote speaker and trainer. He’s the past president of the Minneapolis NAACP in which he launched several public safety initiatives (e.g., Warrant Forgiveness Day) that led to harm reduction in Hennepin County. Sole was a 2013 Bush Fellow who focused on juvenile delinquency and recidivism throughout the state of Minnesota. He helped launch Mayor Coleman’s Community Ambassadors Program, which led to a 63% reduction in juvenile crime in the first year. In 2014, he published his memoir, From Prison to Ph.D.: A Memoir of Hope, Resilience, and Second Chances. He recently served as the Community First Public Safety Initiatives Director for the City of Saint Paul. In addition, Jason is the co-founder of the Humanize My Hoodie Movement in which he’s challenging threat perceptions about Black men through clothing, art exhibitions, and workshops.

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