Rise is developing this glossary as a tool to support our shared understanding of terms as we begin to dive deeper into learning about abolition and community care together. We recognize that language is always changing and that many terms are defined in a variety of ways, and that this glossary is not comprehensive. This is a “living” webpage, and we will continue to update and expand it over time.
We have drawn from a wide variety of sources in creating this glossary. In some cases, we have referenced more than one source in offering a definition or explanation of a term. We have provided direct links to sources wherever possible.
Carceral: Carceral is defined most simply as relating to jails or prisons. The carceral state is rooted in slavery. A deeper and more expansive understanding of carceral networks includes the ways social programs operate in low-income communities/communities of color to impose various forms of supervision and surveillance, and how contact with these programs can lead to police contact and incarceration.
Healing Justice: From TransformHarm: “According to Cara Page, Healing Justice is a framework that identifies how we can holistically respond to and intervene on generational trauma and violence and to bring collective practices that can impact and transform the consequences of oppression on our bodies, hearts and minds. Through this framework we continue to build political and philosophical convergences of healing inside of liberation movements and organizations.
Healing Justice means we all deserve to heal on our terms and we confront oppressive systems that get in our way. We honor the trauma and resilience of generations that came before us and use interactive, daily practices that anyone can do. Healing Justice is a reminder to social movements that the concept of action should be expanded to support the self-determination, interdependence, resilience & resistance of those most impacted by oppression. Healing Justice is revolutionary in confronting the capitalist, colonial, individualistic paradigms that tell us we are alone when we seek out healing. – Young Women’s Empowerment Project and the Chicago Healing Justice Learning Circle”
Intersectionality: Intersectionality is a term coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw. She discussed the concept in an interview with TIME in 2020. Intersectionality describes the way in which “various forms of inequality operate together and exacerbate each other. We tend to talk about race inequality as separate from inequality based on gender, class, sexuality or immigration status.” What’s often missing is that people have multiple social identities that overlap and are interconnected. [People experience privilege and oppression in different ways based on many aspects of identity and experience.] The “experience is not just the sum of its parts.”
LGBTQ: The Center explains that LGBTQ is an acronym for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer or questioning. These terms are used to describe a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. LGBTQIA Resource Center and Human Rights Campaign provide more expansive glossaries of terms related to sexual orientation and gender identity.
Participatory action research (PAR): PAR is research led by those directly impacted by an issue. TakeRoot Justice explains that PAR helps us to analyze and document the problems that we see in our communities; allows us to generate data and evidence that strengthens our social justice work and ensures that we are the experts about the issues that face our communities. In PAR, research is an action-oriented organizing and community-building tool that brings people together around shared problems and helps build power.
Restorative justice: Amplify RJ defines restorative justice as “a philosophy and set of practices, rooted in Indigenous teachings, that emphasize our interconnection by repairing relationships when harm occurs while proactively building and maintaining relationships to prevent future harm.”
Transformative justice: TransformHarm.org shares the following descriptions of transformative justice: “(1) According to Philly Stands Up!, Transformative Justice is a way of practicing alternative justice that acknowledges individual experiences and identities and works to actively resist the state’s criminal injustice system. Transformative Justice recognizes that oppression is at the root of all forms of harm, abuse and assault. As a practice, it therefore aims to address and confront those oppressions on all levels and treats this concept as an integral part to accountability and healing. (2) From Generation 5: Transformative justice [is] a liberatory approach to violence… [which] seeks safety and accountability without relying on alienation, punishment, or State or systemic violence, including incarceration or policing.”
Worker Cooperatives: In Cosmic Possibilities: An Intergalactic Youth Guide to Abolition, Ayo, NYC! offers the following definition of worker cooperatives: “People-centered enterprises owned, controlled and run by and for their members to realise their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations. Cooperatives bring people together in a democratic and equal way. Whether the members are the customers, employees, users or residents, cooperatives are democratically managed by the ‘one member, one vote’ rule.”