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The break-out sessions revealed the many ways the anti-violence industry weakened a community’s ability to intervene in all forms of violence by featuring an interdependent set of organized responses that included criminalization, medicalization and nonprofitization. (Rojas, 2006, 2007). These “official” responses displaced the community’s power to intervene and transform violence, making it an uncomfortable stretch to assume responsibility to dream of ways to autonomously act and intervene in violence. ...
A momentous innovation emerged at the New York Activist Institute. During a discussion of alternatives to the violence of criminality and potential organizing strategies, a 12-year-old sista stood with her hand in the air and exclaimed, “Why don’t we make Bushwick a liberation zone for women?” The room became quiet, but the deep, meditative pause was then interrupted by an enlivening set of questions: How would we do that? What would that look like? Where would we start? What would need to be in place? No one doubted its possibility. This young sista’s phrase swiftly illuminated minds that had been clouded by years of state maneuvers to disempower communities. After this moment, members of the group addressed one another differently. We spoke as if we could attain that goal, as a collective ‘we.’ That question sparked our imaginations to think as a community and to imagine solutions and responses not offered by the mainstream anti-violence movement.
Community Accountability: Emerging Movements to Transform Violence - Introduction