Abolition in the Legal Field: A Discussion About Abolitionism in the Classroom and Beyond

April 1, 2021 12:15 PM - 1:45 PM
This panel seeks to challenge the idea that abolition is “too radical” for the law school classroom, or irrelevant to the project of learning legal doctrine. Instead, we present abolition thinking and praxis as a way to promote a deep understanding of the law, and to approach both scholarly and advocacy work. In conversation with panelists from a variety of scholarly and practice backgrounds, this panel will  share a vision about the importance, practicality, and relevance of abolition, in the law school classroom and beyond. 
Please register for the Zoom webinar here: https://ucla.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_8hgoBwY-Tmue777lzamOsA

Alicia Virani is the Gilbert Foundation Director of the Criminal Justice Program at UCLA School of Law and is an alumni of UCLA Law. Upon graduation, Alicia served as an Equal Justice Works Fellow and staff attorney at the California Conference for Equality and Justice where she created and directed a Restorative Justice Community Conferencing program as an alternative to the juvenile justice system. She went on to serve as a Deputy Public Defender in the Orange County Public Defender’s Office . At UCLA School of Law, Alicia directs a robust research and policy agenda focused on issues of pretrial incarceration, policing, COVID-19’s impact on people incarcerated, and alternatives to the criminal and juvenile legal system such as restorative and transformative justice. She also teaches a clinical course where students represent clients in felony bail hearings as well as an intensive course on trauma informed lawyering and restorative and transformative justice.

Ivette Ale is a grassroots organizer, LGBTQ community leader, and artist with 15 years of community organizing and advocacy experience. Her experiences growing up in Southern California as an undocumented person and as the child of an incarcerated person have informed her activism throughout her career. Most recently, she served as Statewide Coordinator for Californians United for a Responsible Budget, a statewide coalition of over 85 grassroots organizations successfully shifting state and local spending from corrections and policing to human services. 
Titilayo Rasaki is a Policy Associate at the Essie Justice Group, where she works to advance meaningful criminal justice systems change in California. She works in coalition with local, statewide, and national partners to drive change, most notably with JusticeLA and the National Bail Out collective. Prior to joining Essie, she worked as an attorney in Washington, D.C., representing multinational corporations and providing pro bono counsel in a variety of cases, including criminal defense and civil rights litigation.

Stephanie Lumsden (Hupa) is a scholar and teacher. She received her B.A. in Women's Studies from Portland State University in 2011 and her M.A. in Native American Studies from the University of California, Davis in 2014. She earned her second M.A. in Gender Studies from UCLA in 2018. She is currently a PhD student in the Gender Studies Department at UCLA and a lecturer in Ethnic Studies at Mills College. Her recent scholarship explores the intersection between Indigenous freedom and abolition politics.

India Thusi is an Associate Professor of Law at Delaware Law School. Her research examines racial and sexual hierarchies as they relate to policing, race, and gender, and is inextricably connected to her previous legal experience at organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union, Human Rights Watch, the Center for Constitutional Rights, and—most recently—The Opportunity Agenda, a social justice communication lab that collaborates to effect lasting policy and culture change. 
Grace Carson is a 2L at UCLA. She is involved in NLG-UCLA, the Criminal Justice Society, NALSA, UCLA Law Review, the El Centro Re-Entry Clinic, among many other contributions to the UCLA community. She is in PILP and CRS, and committed to abolitionist learning and advocacy.
This event is co-sponsored by the Criminal Justice Society, the Criminal Justice Program, the Prison Law and Policy Program, Critical Race Studies, the David Epstein Program in Public Interest Law and Policy, the Prison Education Program and Abolition Curriculum, the Promise Institute for Human Rights, and National Lawyers Guild-UCLA.