BrownTown links up with organizer, activist, and facilitator Timmy Châu to discuss how to work towards an abolitionist future within and outside of the criminal legal system. In this second installment, the fam reflects on legal cases from the summer uprisings and their impact, the current political terrain, and shaping difficult conversations with loved ones. Originally recorded December 3, 2020.
Timmy Châu is an organizer, lawyer, and facilitator based in Chicago. He’s a co-founder of Dissenters, a new youth-led anti-war organization and a Co-director of the Prison and Neighborhood Arts and Education project (PNAP), an inside/outside arts and organizing effort operating in and out of Stateville prison. Above all, he believes in fighting for a world without prisons and police.
Fitness Against Fascism alum Timmy Châu brings his knowledge and experience in movement and legal work to the conversation around using the law for liberatory means. Building upon the first installment, episode 32 with Tia Haywood and Jesús Vargas, BrownTown and Timmy discuss how to work towards an abolitionist future within and outside of the criminal legal system.
Timmy shares his experience coming into movement work in Chicago (shoutout We Charge Genocide) and learning how the the legal field can support grassroots movements, noting the work of the People's Law Office. After reflecting on legal cases in recent years and from the summer uprisings (see "Protestors for Black Lives v. City of Chicago" , No Cop Academy FOIA Lawsuit, Paris uprising over film the police law: 1, 2), BrownTown and Timmy talk about the nuances of working within institutions with problematic origins or practices. As the conversation turns to a more sharpened critique of the Prison Industrial Complex (PIC) (see The Boondocks), the gang discusses the "progressive prosecutor" phenomenon, Obama's comments on #DefundPolice, reactionary responses to colonial violence (both in drill rap and Vietnam), and more.
As Timmy states, “If we’re explicit about white supremacy and capitalism and authoritarianism then that means we have to be clear about what the law is in relationship to those systems [...] really the laws are the set of regulations — the formalization of these systems that are really to control and regulate social, political, and economic life.”
Considering it all, BrownTown and Timmy filter these larger dialogues into personal relationships, grappling with how to appropriately build upon the support and work of their ancestors while simultaneously challenge them. Originally recorded December 3, 2020.
Follow Timmy on Instagram; Dissenters at wearedissenters.org and @wearedissenters on all social media; and PNAP on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
CREDITS: Intro audio from "Protestors for Black Lives v. City of Chicago" video by Sensitive Visuals; outro song OLD WAYS by Black Rainbow Ray ft. Davion. Audio engineered by Genta Tamashiro. Episode photo by Mercedes Zapata.
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