Convergences: Mariame Kaba, Derecka Purnell, and Tongo Eisen-Martin

Please join the English and Creative Writing Department for the third iteration of Convergences.

On April 13 at 6 PM (ET) please join the English and Creative Writing Department for a conversation among Mariame Kaba, Derecka Purnell, and Tongo Eisen-Martin. The webinar will be moderated by Professor Joshua Bennett. The event is free and open to the public, but you must register at


Mariame Kaba is an organizer, educator, curator, and prison industrial complex (PIC) abolitionist who is active in movements for racial, gender, and transformative justice. Kaba is the founder and director of Project NIA, a grassroots abolitionist organization with a vision to end youth incarceration. Mariame is currently a researcher at Interrupting Criminalization: Research in Action at the Barnard Center for Research on Women, a project she co-founded with Andrea Ritchie in 2018.  

Mariame has co-founded multiple other organizations and projects over the years including We Charge Genocide, the Chicago Freedom School, the Chicago Taskforce on Violence against Girls and Young Women, Love & Protect, the Just Practice Collaborative and Survived & Punished. Kaba is a current Lannan Foundation Cultural Freedom fellow. Mariame's leadership, organizing and influence extend widely as she offers a radical analysis that influences how people think and respond to how violence, prisons and policing affect the lives of people of color. Kaba is the author of Missing Daddy (Haymarket 2019). Her current book, We Do This Til We Free Us: Abolitionist Organizing and Transforming Justice was published by Haymarket Press in February 2021.

Derecka Purnell is a human rights lawyer, writer, and organizer.  She works to end police and prison violence by providing legal assistance, research, and trainings to community based organizations through an abolitionist framework. Derecka received her JD from Harvard Law School, her BA from the University of Missouri- Kansas City, and studied public policy and economics at the University of California- Berkeley as a Public Policy and International Affairs Law Fellow. Her writing has been published in The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Guardian, Cosmopolitan, Harper's Bazaar, Teen Vogue, The Appeal, Truthout, Slate, Boston Review, Huffington Post, Vox, and In These Times.

Tongo Eisen-Martin was born in San Francisco, California, and received an MA from Columbia University. He is the author of Someone's Dead Already (Bootstrap Press, 2015), which was nominated for a California Book Award, and Heaven Is All Goodbyes (City Lights Publishers, 2017), which received the California Book Award and an American Book Award. A poet, movement worker, and educator, his latest curriculum on extrajudicial killing of Black people, We Charge Genocide Again, has been used as an educational and organizing tool throughout the country.