When considered through a critical lens, it is difficult to not see law as a tool of oppression, surveillance, and violence upon anyone deemed an “other” by the hegemonic power structures of our time. As far back as 1856 in the Dred Scott v. Sandford decision where the United States Supreme Court held that free Black people could not be considered citizens and therefore not entitled to any rights and protections under the law, to as recent as a few weeks ago in 2022 when the Supreme Court in the same week it overturned Roe v. Wade refused to give states the ability to regulate guns, essentially asserting that weapons of mass destruction have more rights than women and other birthing people.
It is also true that within communities who have been relegated to the margins, people have found ways to live creative, full, and interesting lives bonded by codes and frameworks that govern them and the relationships around them.
The goal of this workshop is to look to those communities for a fresh lens through which laws can be used as a tool of restoration, repair, well-being and accountability. This is important because abolition requires us to build new frameworks for being that can be operationalized in the micro and expansive enough to work in the mainstream.
When the moral arc of the universe is finally steeped in justice, how will we maintain beloved community? How do we deal with the harm that will inevitably come from humans being in relationship with each other? How do we hold leaders accountable? How do we create boundaries between the self and the community?
Using queer theory, a critical race lens, and a decolonial framework, we will look to how Indigenious, Queer, and Black communities have been answering the questions of leadership, equity, world building, and accountability and how these structures can be built out in more robust ways to help us construct a legal system that works for the flourishing of all.