@liora
Liora H
@liora · 1:11

Students Making Change: Nadia Narnor on Reforming Our Justice System

Nadia, thank you so much for coming to chat with me today. I know this will be your first time on Swell as well, and I know it will be worth a listen. Nadia is a senior at the University of Pittsburgh majoring in administration of justice. She's also a member of Students Conquering Cold Cases and an intern at the Abolitionist Law Center. This leads me to my first question. I can't imagine that this work is particularly easy going, especially in our current political climate

#justicereform #policereform #currentevents #blm #abolition @tea155

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@tea155
Nadia Narnor
@tea155 · 5:00

Modern isn’t the right word

Hi Liora, thanks for having me here. I really appreciate the chance to speak about these kind of things and that I'm considered someone who should speak about these things, which is very nice. Nice to know. So the question of whether or not I'm inspired by anything today regarding whether or not the criminal justice system is progressing. I am inspired today by all of the people who are protesting and all of the people who are trying to put these issues in the forefront of the media
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@tea155
Nadia Narnor
@tea155 · 0:35
Who claims it is for the land of the free and for modern living and for modern progression in society. It really doesn't even give certain people the chance sense to live humanely in the first place. And so because of this perpetuation among generations and generations of specific groups of people, I don't think modern living is the right question to ask. I think humane living is the question to ask
@Swell
Swell Team
@Swell · 0:15

Welcome to Swell!

@liora
Liora H
@liora · 1:04

What change needs to take place?

That's interesting that you're focusing on the word modern, because if I'm being honest, I was struggling to decide what term would accurately convey my meaning. By modern, I refer less to technological advances and 21st century luxuries. Instead. I mean to refer to a diverse, inclusive society. From my understanding, the only ways in which we can enact change that's built to last is for us to create change that suits our society rather than those that existed decades or centuries ago
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@tea155
Nadia Narnor
@tea155 · 5:00

Individualism in America

A lot of people need to realize that when you have access to belong to a certain group, you have to realize what power that group has and for us to actually make the justice system human. You have to think about those people that we never think about
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@tea155
Nadia Narnor
@tea155 · 3:27

No other option

The people who get charged and get punished are continually getting charged and getting punished, and there is no way that they can, even in the eyes of the law, be seen as someone who should get humane treatment when that is the world they live in constantly. It's hard to see people as someone who is deserving of a lot when their record tells you that they're not, and that is not completely their fault
@liora
Liora H
@liora · 0:59

What does 'abolition' really mean?

I definitely agree that these are phenomena that are often overlooked and yet continuously affect the everyday lives of many Americans, especially those with lower socioeconomic statuses. We've been relying on a system, as you you said, that continues to perpetuate this cycle that confines people by their circumstances. And it's a system that makes it very difficult for you to escape your circumstances, and that absolutely needs to be addressed. We need to abandon systems that rely on white privilege and the systemic racism interwoven within their structure
@tea155
Nadia Narnor
@tea155 · 5:00

Abolition challenges this nation’s view of equality

But then when people do get educated, once it challenges the hierarchies that are created in the socio economic status of people in this country, once we challenge that, once we challenge the fact that certain people aren't equal and that we need to be more of a community that is not focused on individuals. Often, we are seen as threats to this nation because we noticed that the Declaration of Independence really did not make it so that we have equality of opportunity or equality of outcome
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@liora
Liora H
@liora · 1:02

What can WE do?

Thank you for sharing that I didn't realize that evolution is such a multi faceted effort. But now that you've explained that, it makes a lot of sense, I think this speaks to what we talked about earlier in reference to what, quote, unquote modern American society looks like Americans are diverse and very dramatically in their ideals, faiths and identities. And it's only fitting that abolitionist work is very, just the same
@tea155
Nadia Narnor
@tea155 · 4:58

Notice that we can never escape "it"

So when you talk about threats to the nation and how we can have allies, notice that the way things are and the way things have been run needs to be changed and how exactly we can change it. It starts by talking about privilege and white supremacy and noticing that abolition really is the only way to change these things. Reforming simply means that you are trying to make changes to something that has originated in a suppressing manner, and that has originated from something in itself that is oppressive
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@tea155
Nadia Narnor
@tea155 · 5:00

Get uncomfortable and get up.

So when it comes to concrete things that allies can do to help progress this nation, to be a more just one and a more understanding one and more of a community that notices its role in suppression and injustice and in just letting things continue to be the way they are allies. You need to notice your existence in the system of white supremacy. When it comes to white people or non black people or black people, everybody has a position in the system of white supremacy
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@liora
Liora H
@liora · 0:48

Thank you

That's a very helpful answer. Thank you so much. Just to clarify from my understanding, the first priority for anyone who aspires to be a good ally should be acknowledging the need for change. And along those same lines, a good ally is aware of what's going on in their community and puts in the work to broaden their perspective
@tea155
Nadia Narnor
@tea155 · 0:40

Keep fighting!!!

Thank you for having me. It's a lot to articulate, so I hope I did it well enough. And yeah, it's a very important conversation. I also wanted to advertise for jailbreak and Per. There are two organizations in Pittsburgh that really help with helping incarcerated people in the criminal justice system. So if you can volunteer with them or you're even the Abolitionist Law Center. And thank you for having me. Please stay safe and remember to keep fighting for what you believe in
@bowie
Bowie Rowan
@bowie · 0:50

@tea155 @l1ora How do you stay hopeful & energized?

Thank you both so much for this really thoughtful and complex conversation. I found it really fulfilling to listen to, and it also gave me a lot to think about as I continue to educate myself, especially around the history of abolition and all the abolitionists who have been doing this work for a very long time. So a question I had for you both is being people who are involved in activism and actively trying to make the world a more equitable place
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@liora
Liora H
@liora · 1:11

Find coping skills that work for you

Writing in general is a great way to just get your thoughts out, get them on paper, and figure out how you're feeling. Also, just art in general is an amazing way to express yourself and get your feelings out of your head and somewhere else where you can look at them and process them. And something else I rely on is my spirituality, which obviously looks different for everybody
@tea155
Nadia Narnor
@tea155 · 1:35

Everything you do is worth something.

And you may or may not be able to see it firsthand. But people hear you and everything you do, whether you're advocating being an activist, volunteering, protesting, simply talking about things on the internet, sharing things, donating money, literally, anything you do to help the cause does do something helpful, and you're putting out something good in the universe. And you should be proud of it because your actions do have results on other people, on their lives, on how they think
@DBPardes
Deborah Pardes
@DBPardes · 1:35

Curriculum for middle school minds

And I want to ask you both about something that has to do with sort of curriculum development around, I guess, middle school, when kids are not yet driven by their hormones and they're still sort of soaking up what's going on for them academically, and they're really influenced by what their teachers say and when it comes to learning about the power of the people and history of movements that you both ascribe to so much and really believe are the shoulders on which you stand?
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@tea155
Nadia Narnor
@tea155 · 4:45

YES to middle school (school in general) education reform!

You feel that the struggles your family is going through that were directly affected by the actions of this government for generations. It doesn't matter, and everything is fine because America is focusing on the right things that is just not accurate all the time. For example, I remember in my middle school years when we learned about civil rights movement of the 960s in America. Instead of talking about Malcolm X and Martin Luther King as separate people with maybe separate issues, they were always compared
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@liora
Liora H
@liora · 2:03

I LOVE this question

And by discussing these events, I mean with each other. And these discussions would involve reflecting on ways that they can spread awareness or get involved if that was necessary. And maybe their homework would involve talking about something that they read that day with their parents. I haven't planned it all out yet, but that would be the essence of the curriculum
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@liora
Liora H
@liora · 2:50

Information is preparation

Our students, our kids are people who haven't started paying taxes, and the only way to prepare them for that is to give them a better education system
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@liora
Liora H
@liora · 4:59

Some counter arguments

Then they make an assumption about them and they react. And often that results in people getting hurt or arrested or punished when they didn't deserve to be. At this time, we simply don't provide enough resources for people from lower income communities and homeless people as well. Many of the systems that we currently have in place put specific people at a disadvantage that involve facing discrimination in most aspects of their life
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