March 2, 2022

Black Lives Matter Founder Patrisse Cullors to speak on abolition, art and social justice

Patriss Cullors

New York Times bestselling author, educator, artist, abolitionist and co-founder of the Black Lives Matter Global Network Patrisse Cullors will join the Wayne State University community Thursday, March 31, at 2 p.m. on for a virtual dialogue on her work around social justice, art and community organization.

“We need innovation, creativity and action to build a climate of justice and equity — and these are precisely the ideologies that Patrisse Cullors promotes in her activism,” said Jon E. Cawthorne, dean of the Wayne State University Library System. “The libraries are a safe space to have these challenging and critical conversations that can contribute to a more informed and just society.”

The author of the New York Times bestseller When They Call You a Terrorist and the recently released An Abolitionist’s Handbook: 12 Steps to Changing Yourself and the World, Cullors is an established community leader, social activist and performance artist who raises awareness through a unique blend of activism and politically expressive theatre. A queer Black woman, she delivers perspective on the adversities inflicted by social injustice, discrimination and the lack of accountability in law enforcement and discusses her commitment to being the voice for those who can’t be heard, educating and inspiring audiences to organize and stand together to transform society into a world where the lives and contributions of all individuals are recognized equally. 

In her interactive conversation with Wayne State students, faculty, staff and community members, Cullors will discuss the new administration and how activists hold them accountable through the collective power as a movement, abolition and the role it plays on local and national levels, and the use of creativity and art and how it helps activists stay resilient in moments of grief and despair. An Abolitionist’s Handbook shares personal anecdotes of Cullors’ own lived experiences, including how the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement informed her work and the struggles she has experienced — including death threats and doxxing. Based on her book, Cullors will also explain how to foster an abolitionist culture.

“These 12 principles or steps are about goal setting. They are about understanding who you are and how to bring the idea of abolition to the forefront in your life and in the lives of others,” said Cullors in An Abolitionist’s Handbook.

TIME 100 named Cullors as one of the 100 most influential people in 2020. Cullors has led multiple Los Angeles-based organizations, including Dignity and Power Now, JusticeLA and Reform LA Jails. These organizations have won progressive ballot measures, fought and won against a $3.5 billion jail plan, and implemented the first Civilian Oversight Commission of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. She is also the faculty director of the new social and environmental arts practice M.F.A. program at Arizona’s Prescott College, where she developed a curriculum focused on the intersection of art, social justice and community organizing. In 2020, Cullors signed a production deal with Warner Bros., where she intends to continue to uplift Black stories, talent and creators that are transforming the world of art and culture.

This event is free and open to the public. To RSVP and submit questions for the Q&A portion of the program, visit


The Wayne State University Library System consists of the university's five libraries: The David Adamany Undergraduate Library, the Purdy/Kresge Library, the Shiffman Medical Library, the Arthur Neef Law Library and the Reuther Library as well as the School of Information Sciences.

Wayne State University is a premier institution offering nearly 350 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to nearly 25,000 students.


Jill Wurm
Phone: (313) 577-4149

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