Draft syllabus statement on Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter: a statement on this course and its relation to the protests

As our course topic [James Baldwin] should make clear, I believe that Black lives matter. I am a prison and police abolitionist; that is, I believe that our entire criminal justice system should be dismantled immediately, including eliminating the police and closing all prisons, in favor of alternative models of community safety and care.

I include this statement because I want you to know immediately, before our course begins, where I stand. I do not believe there is any benefit to pretending to be ideologically neutral in this space or in this moment.

If you or your friends plan to engage this summer in the protests currently underway, I support you wholeheartedly and I am here for you as a resource. I will be your emergency contact, if you need one; if you are detained, I will be your advocate (including helping you get bailed out of jail); if you need advice or emotional support, I will provide it or get you in touch with a trained professional. If you are in Atlanta, I can pick you up from any protest and get you home safely. 

If, in your capacity as a student, you disagree with me about police and prison abolition, that is okay. You will not be punished for holding different beliefs about the police in this class. 

Finally, review the non-discrimination statement. As it states, statements that are racist will not be tolerated here.

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