Introduction to the Volume 69 Symposium


Alanna Kane, Editor-in-Chief and Hope Bentley, Symposium Editor

“What does it look like to build a city, state, or nation invested in
communities thriving ratherthan their death and destruction? To ask this
question is the first act of an abolitionist.”
- Patrisse Cullors[1]

We are honored to welcome you to our 2022 annual Symposium: Toward
an Abolitionist Future. This year’s virtual format brings together academics,
activists, organizers, and change makers for a conversation about how we might
envision, progress, and move toward a future where prisons and policing are
obsolete. In 2015, the UCLA Law Review published Professor Allegra McLeod’s
transformative article, Prison Abolition and Grounded Justice, introducing to
legal academia the first sustained discussion of prison abolition and a prison
abolitionist ethic. Now, seven years later, we convene a collective of some of the
most influential abolitionists to return to Professor McLeod’s call to action, that
abolition should occupy a central place in legal scholarship. Our hope is that this
Symposium continues to bridge the silos between academia and activism,
foregrounds abolition as a bigger idea than firing cops and closing prisons, and
as Derecka Purnell suggests, helps to eliminate the reasons people think they
need cops and prisons in the first place.

Abolition is a topic grounded in our lived realities, both within and
outside of legal academia. Our goal is to cultivate discourse across all of our
communities. To be a member of the Law Review is to wield an
immeasurable amount of privilege and power. Law school students across
the country control legal academia in a way that is distinct from every other
profession. We choose which thoughts should be shared with the world,
whose knowledge should be valued, and whose perspectives should shape our
understanding of the law. We decide if structural inequality will continue to
be embedded in legal scholarship. We bear the weight of delegitimizing and
dismantling white supremacy, heteropatriarchy, classism, imperialism, and
ableism. Our duty is to disrupt power and to transform these systems—to
decolonize and demarginalize the intersections across the terrain of legal

As leaders of the UCLA Law Review, we hope that this Symposium will
inspire you to act, and that this will be the beginning of many conversations to
come. Legal academia is too often detached from the lives affected by our
scholarship. We call on our peers to center the community organizers,
abolitionists, and activists who are doing the critical work every day to build a
world where freedom dreams are fully realized.

[1] Patrisse Cullors, Opinion, Abolitionists Still Have Work to Do in America, Guardian, July 30, 2017, still-have-work-to-do-in-america [].