ListenedHope is a discipline by Miriame Kaba in conversation with Brian Sonenstein and Kim Wilson from towardfreedom.org
In Episode 19 of Beyond Prisons, hosts Brian Sonenstein and Kim Wilson catch up with activist, writer, and educator Mariame Kaba.
Mariame shares her experiences advocating on behalf of Bresha Meadows, a teenage girl who killed her abusive father and was detained while facing the possibility of trial as an adult and a lifetime of incarceration. She recount’s Bresha’s story and explains how activists worked to make sure the family’s needs were met and help them navigate the collateral consequences of detention, including an enormous financial burden and the shame and stigma that makes people internalize their struggle.
The conversation continues with Mariame’s view of abolition as a collective project that embraces people who sense there is a problem with American institutions and are interested in figuring out what to do about it. She explains what she means when she says hope is a discipline, not an emotion or sense of optimism, and how this informs her organizing. Self care is examined as a community project. Finally, Mariame shares what books are on her shelf and what she’s reading right now.
In this interview, Mariame Kaba talks about the prison industrial complex and the requirement to have ‘hope as a discipline’ to maintain the effort for the long haul:
I don’t also take a short-time view, I take a long view, understanding full well that I’m just a tiny, little part of a story that already has a huge antecedent and has something that is going to come after that, that I’m definitely not going to be even close to around for seeing the end of. So, that also puts me in the right frame of mind, that my little friggin’ thing I’m doing, is actually pretty insignificant in world history, but [if] it’s significant to one or two people, I feel good about that.
Continuing the conversation around hope, Kaba suggests that the care starts from where you are.
You don’t have to go anywhere to care for yourself.