From Michelle Hensley

Defunding, Dismantling, Re-Organizing, Re-imagining

I would first tell people to stop worrying about semantics and start focusing on what needs to change!  As activists have said, it really isn’t their job to come up with word choices that will make white people feel comfortable. ; )

I would also emphasize that defunding is a gradual process, one that we will all be creating together.  So it is their job to educate themselves and start to help with this process of reimagining and creating.

but that basically—

– The police have utterly failed at their job of making most people in our community feel safe.  Most POC communties are TERRIFIED of police, rather than feel safe around them

-The MPD has already adopted most of the progressive reforms being advocated by Congress now — and it JUST HASN”T WORKED.  The culture of violence and punishment in the MPD has proven to be absolutely beyond reform, no matter how

The idea is to shift resources away from those who are primarily punitive (Police and Prisons) to those who are preventative (social workers, health care workers, education, housing).  It is a GRADUAL process, it will happen over a longer time period.  Tell them to start listening to what POC are saying those first steps should be.

Here are a few resources I have found helpful.  But please understand that many of the artists and activists on the list are POC and already familiar with the reasoning behind these actions, so my main job is to give them simple actions, not to educate white people about why.  Though I’ll certainly try to occasionally provide progressive white people with some tools to help educate their white friends!  That is important work for white activists — and I thank you for trying to do it!

Simple Daily Action

Our world is overwhelming with possibilities for action!  The idea here is to send out, once a day, four times a week, one simple local political action you can do that day — a phone call to make, a petition to sign, an issue to learn more about and act on simply.  Most of them will take less than five minutes.

But political action, as well as artistic action, is important.  We hope you feel like committing to doing these simple actions.

And thank you all for your energetic, passionate and generous work in our community.

Send your email to Michelle Hensley:

This one might be really good in helping white people to educate themselves:  Justice in June:*UMG0kyoSDK-0vj6mYxIFGg

FAQ about defunding:


How CAMDEN New Jersey abolished and restructured the police (though they still have police):


History of MPLS racism:


Here is a good resource for explaining what “abolition” may entail.  I know that word scares people, so just tell them to think of Defunding, Dismantling and Reimagining:

There is a spectrum of ideas about how to change policing now, ranging from REFORM at one end to ABOLITION at the other.  Here are short readings/videos to help you figure out where you are on this spectrum.  But we are especially holding up the voices of black and POCI activists who have been fighting to change policing for years, honoring their hard experiences, hard work and struggle. (If you haven’t already, follow Black Visions Collective, ReClaim The Block and MPD 150 on Social Media)


  1.  Choose 2 of the 10 short readings/videos below.   One for today, one for tomorrow. (Of course, read more if you want, but I’m really trying to stick to the 5 minutes a day here.  (adding in driving time some days!))


  1.  Extra action for White Allies: This weekend talk to a white friend who has questions and help them understand what’s behind calls for defunding and abolishing the police. Share these resources — and demand they take the time to educate themselves.  It is up to us as white people to do this work!

(Check out this article on “How To Talk To Relatives Who Care More About Looting Than Black Lives” — )


  1.  Protest Marches: See the bottom of this email for protests Friday and Saturday!



Ten Resources for Deepening Your Understanding, Clarifying Your Ideas and Positions (Choose 2) (And yes okay I cheated a little, there are more than 10 here, but there is SO MUCH GOOD STUFF TO READ!)


1A.  History of Racism in Minneapolis:  This article is good!


1B: A Personal Account of Growing Up on Lake Street in The Atlantic:


  1. Reforming The Police:  The main proponent is the data-driven group 8CantWait, which proposed 8 immediate, emergency measures to reduce excessive use of force.  You can read about them here:

(It is important to note though, that 8Can’tWait has issued an apology for their reform initiative distracting from those calling for systemic overhauls.)


  1.  Defunding The Police:


  1. 4. Abolishing the Police:  8 to Abolitionexplains all the different pieces that are part of the process of abolishing the police:


****5.  Awesome Video Overview of EVERYTHING:  Excellent (and entertaining!) video by John Oliver of Last Week Tonight.  (Thank you Michelle Woster!)  History of American policing (starting with slave patrols), police unions, qualified immunity and what can be done.  It’s a well-worthwhile 30 minutes!  But the part on Defunding starts around minute 24.


6A.  Where Minneapolis is right now on Defunding The Police:

6B. Where St Paul is right now on Defunding the Police:

(if you don’t have access to the Star Tribune, let me know and I will copy and paste and send the article to you.  I’d like to add though that journalists are both under siege and working there butts off right now, so if you have the resources, do an on-line subscription for at least the next three months.  We need fierce journalists right now!)


  1. Camden, NJ:  The only PD in the country to be abolished — and then rebuilt.  Read about the successes and failures here:



  1.  Minneapolis Police Union and Bob Kroll:


  1.  Ten Action Ideas Towards Building a Police-Free Future:


  1.  Prison Abolition:  (If you cannot access this New York Times Article, let me know and I will try to copy and paste and send to you by email.)


Bonus to Forward to White People with Questions: Daily Plan for White People to Educate Themselves about Racism:  Justice in June.  (Thanks to Tessa Lasswell!)  Each day on the calendar has a link to a short reading:.*UMG0kyoSDK-0vj6mYxIFGg#heading=h.8gtktu39kgle