Rewriting the Future: Using Science Fiction to Re-envision Justice

Originally posted at Bitch Media1

When I tell people I am a prison abolitionist and that I believe in ending all prisons, they often look at me like I rode in on a unicorn sliding down a rainbow. Even people engaged in social movements, people who concede that the current prison system is flawed, voice their critiques but always seem to add, “But it’s all we have.”

For all of our ability to analyze and critique, the left has become rooted in what is. We often forget to envision what could be. We forget to mine the past for solutions that show us how we can exist in other forms in the future.

That is why I believe our justice movements desperately need science fiction. Stay with me on this one. I am the co-editor, along with visionary movement strategist adrienne maree brown, of the anthology Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements, which comes out this spring from AK Press. Octavia’s Brood, named in honor of Black feminist sci-fi writer and MacArthur “Genius” grant winner Octavia Butler, is a collection of radical science fiction written by organizers, change makers, and visionaries.

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School of Hard NOCs: Freedom – The Underground Railroad

Freedom: The Underground RailroadVitals:  Freedom – The Underground Railroad is a cooperative board game for 1 to 4 players, ages 10 and up, with a playing time of about 1 to 2 hours. Designed by Brian Mayer, a Library Technology Specialist, and published by Academy Games, Freedom allows players to work together as a group of abolitionists in the 1800’s. The goal is to attempt to end slavery in the United States by raising support for the Abolitionist Movement and helping slaves move through the Underground Railroad to freedom in Canada. The goal is difficult to accomplish and people and events can have negative impacts. There are also slave catchers roaming and reacting to movements of slaves on the board, hoping to catch runaway slaves to send back to the plantations.

Thoughts:  Before becoming a parent, I organized game nights with friends frequently. Now while still regularly getting together with a gaming group to socialize, eat food, and be merry, my children and I also play games quite often. Beyond the social interaction, games are a great way to teach children different skills such as spacial reasoning, reading, math, dexterity, and logic. Games can also be a great way to teach history.

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