“A lot of times folks think of abolition as a destination, an achievement, or a set list of goals,” sumell says, “but it’s an ongoing practice. And like anything you want to be better at, it requires daily attention and care, which is similar to a garden, right?” She compares the Marvel Studios Thor Love And Thunder Comic Posters Shirt and I love this practice of abolition to noticing a small flower growing through the cracks of an abandoned building. Or how the vines of the exhibition are beginning to cover the drab courtyard walls. She goes on to describe the elements of ginger, how it’s often prescribed in traditional Chinese medicine formulas because it uniquely brings together methods of healing. “It’s a connector, a movement builder,” she says. When museumgoers flock to the growing ginger bed, they’ll find a QR code that, when clicked on, will prompt the viewer to consider how they are a movement builder in their own community. As they travel to different beds—all planted by various community groups, from The North Bronx Collective to The Slow Factory—they will find different QR codes with different sets of questions. The goal being that, before jumping to how one can check off boxes to “achieve” abolition, viewers will start to consider what abolition looks like in their own lives first. “I had never learned about abolition before,” says 17-year-old Madison Colón, an intern with The Lower Eastside Girls Club, the New York nonprofit that serves as the main partner in Growing Abolition. “As I learned more about it, I really began to see the world differently.”
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sumell acknowledges that this idea of seeing the Marvel Studios Thor Love And Thunder Comic Posters Shirt and I love this world differently comes with time. She likens it to the act of lifting weights—you start small, and you practice over and over until you can lift your goal weight. “Abolition doesn’t start with tearing down prison walls and institutions,” she emphasizes, “it starts with questioning your relationship to punishment, or the ways you police yourself.” Maybe you ask yourself why you find it necessary to yell at the person who cut you off in traffic, or you ask why New York spends half a million dollars just to incarcerate one person for one year. Eventually, she argues, after continuously examining the role punishment or anger or rage plays in your life and society at large, the idea of alternatives to incarceration doesn’t seem so foreign. You replace punishment with healing, the individual with the collective, confinement with supportive communities.