January 21, 2022

Becoming Abolitionists– A History of Failed Police Reforms & Vision for True Public Safety

Join Us for Our First Book Event of 2022, Becoming Abolitionists– A History of Failed Police Reforms & Vision for True Public Safety.

Marguerite Casey Foundation (MCF), in partnership with Seattle Arts and Lectures, invites you to our first book event of the year. 

Tune in virtually on February 3rd at 4 p.m. PST for a conversation with Derecka Purnell, author of Becoming Abolitionists: Police, Protests, and the Pursuit of Freedom and Dr. Robin D. G. Kelley, a widely published American historian and one of MCF’s 2021 Freedom Scholars

MCF Book Club: Reading for a Liberated Future

Throughout this series, authors, scholars, and organizers examine the most pressing issues of our time. The MCF Book Club shares the ideas of leaders who encourage us to imagine how we can radically transform our democracy, economy, and society to include all of our dreams, hopes, and aspirations. Together they offer a course toward a liberated future.


Derecka Purnell is a lawyer, organizer, and author of Becoming Abolitionists: Police, Protests, and the Pursuit of Freedom. She works to end police and prison violence by providing legal assistance, research, and training in grassroots organizations through an abolitionist framework. In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, Purnell co-created the COVID-19 Policing Project at the Community Resource Hub for Safety Accountability to track police arrests, harassment, citations and other enforcement through public health orders related to the pandemic. Her writing has been published widely, including in The New York Times, The Atlantic, Boston Review, Teen Vogue, and Harper's Bazaar. Purnell has lectured, studied, and strategized around social movements across the United States, The Netherlands, Belgium, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and Australia. She is currently a columnist at The Guardian, a Margaret Burroughs Fellow for the Social Justice Initiative’s Portal Project at the University of Illinois-Chicago, and a Scholar-in-Residence at Columbia Law School.

Robin D. G. Kelley was selected by Marguerite Casey Foundation and Group Health Foundation as a 2021 Freedom Scholar. Dr. Kelley is a widely published scholar, teacher, and Guggenheim Fellow. His work explores the history of social movements in the U.S., the African diaspora, and Africa, extending into research on Black intellectuals, music and visual culture, and surrealism and Marxism. Kelley’s most recent books include Africa Speaks, America Answers: Modern Jazz in Revolutionary Times and Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original. He is also co-editor of numerous books, including Walter Rodney, The Russian Revolution: A View from the Third World, and The Other Special Relationship: Race, Rights, and Riots in Britain and the United States. He is currently completing three book projects

Dr. Carmen Rojas (she/her) is the president and CEO of the Marguerite Casey Foundation. Prior to joining Marguerite Casey Foundation, Dr. Carmen Rojas was the co-founder and former CEO of The Workers Lab, an innovation lab that invests in entrepreneurs, community organizers, and government leaders to create replicable and revenue-generating solutions that improve conditions for low-wage workers. For more than 20 years, Carmen has worked with foundations, financial institutions, and nonprofits to improve the lives of working people across the United States.

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