Abolition = Freedom; #CareNotCages
For this Spotlight, we caught up with Liz Blum, co-founder of Decarcerate Sac, a coalition working to end jail expansions, decrease jail populations, and shift county funds away from policing and incarceration towards community-based systems of care that actually keep the public safe.
What does social justice mean to you?
For me social justice means building structures of care that prevent harm and center human needs. It means building community and healing together. It means mutual aid; holding each other through the everyday crisis of racial capitalism. It means prioritizing the decision-making of Black and Brown communities. It means abolition; because policing and prisons cannot be reformed. It requires the end of human caging as a catch-all solution to social problems.
Why are you involved in social justice?
I am inspired and motivated every day by the resilience of my loved ones, and all people, currently locked inside jails and prisons. I’ve found myself in this lifelong fight for abolition as someone who understands that our current systems are failing all of us: they do not prevent harm to ourselves or our loved ones.
Losing family to violence and incarceration has driven my own reimagining of what public safety looks like, and has deepened my commitment to building systems that address harm through accountability, not disposability.
This includes the budgetary violence that we are experiencing by Sacramento County government, as the things we need most are continuously defunded, and voices of those most impacted are not prioritized.
How do you self care to keep fighting for social justice?
Learning that rest is radical. Celebrating small wins, and remembering that liberation must include joy. While this work is often heavy, I remember that prioritizing pleasure and fun helps us heal, and also makes this movement irresistible. As Adrienne Marie Brown says; “Feeling good is not frivolous, it’s freedom”.
[To that we say, Amen Sister!]