Over a year has passed since the murder of George Floyd, an incident that sparked a global protest in favor of in the already established Black Lives Matter movement. Since then, organizations and BIPOC leaders have worked relentlessly to protect and bring justice for Black Lives by reshaping the flow of the political process: demanding to defund the police and investing in life-affirming systems.
Here in San Luis Obispo, one such organization arose during the roar of protesting: the Abolitionist Action of the Central Coast (AACCS). Comprised of students and community members from Cal Poly Students for Quality Education, Cal Poly Black Student Union, and other BIPOC community members of SLO, AACCS is a project that started as a way to dismantle the oppressive and violent systems that harm marginalized communities while at the same time working towards creating new systems that actually serve these communities.
AACCS rejects any kind of reform to these systems because they know that history has proven reform does not work; it does not address systemic issues, it only reinvents the harm they are causing. AACCS holds that abolition, complete dissolution of violent systems such as the police and prisons, is the only path towards collective liberation.
AACCS recently celebrated their one year anniversary, and it has been almost two years since the George Floyd protests arose. Although various groups across the nation have held onto their organizing stability, I think it’s safe to say that the energy revolving around social justice has significantly dwindled.
Protesting just isn’t trendy anymore for the masses. We’ve moved onto mining NFTs and are waiting for the next pizza date night pictures of Kim Kardashian and Pete Davidson. Unfortunately, the ebb and flow of caring about social justice weakens the pull towards any substantial change.
This article is meant to pay homage to AACCS, and organization that has survived through the burnout and updates readers on what has been happening since the San Luis Obispo City Council voted to increase the police budget back in June. This decision was not a surprise, however, considering the conservative and neoliberal standpoints of its members.
In response to this damaging news, AACCS organized an in-person protest in downtown SLO specifically highlighting businesses and property owners that help uphold the carceral state. For example, Italian restaurant Giuseppe’s donated a lot of their money to sheriff Ian Parkinson’s election campaign. This protest was reaffirming for AACCS’s base, and they plan to hold more escalated and targeted protests in the coming months.
Along with this, AACCS intends to ground itself in more long-term, sustainable goals in effort to not expend people’s energy. This intentionality is vital to actually transferring the balance of power to the people. Currently, AACCS is composed of around 30 to 40 people, but plans are reaching into the thousands over the coming years.
Split into six committees — mutual aid, outreach, political education, strategy and tactics, graphics, and community care— there are various facets to participate in. They aspire to remain strong and numerous in the county to work toward a future of revolution. This revolution will require AACCS to establish networks and connections around the country to figure out the next steps. One of these next steps is spreading the word of abolition everywhere like in the music, art, and social justice spaces.
Political education and mutual aid are other key components in AACCS’s mission. Within the organization itself, members are continually expanding their knowledge by studying other revolutionary movements, especially the organizations from the 1960s. Alongside internal educational efforts, AACCS intends to host public political education events like a People’s Breakfast, which happens to coincide with mutual aid efforts. Mutual aid also involves the People’s Revolutionary Garden Network, which is an organization that connects with AACCS’s food distribution efforts. In the past, AACCS has organized and hosted weekly food drops, but it is now outlining a plan to create a grocery box system where people can request specific food items each week to be delivered.
Although much energy has dwindled since the George Floyd protests and subsequent Black Lives Matter efforts, AACCS is sustainably holding onto their ambition to work toward building a just and livable world for everyone. If you are interested in joining in on AACCS’s efforts, you can check out their Instagram and website here.
Desert Rose writes for .WAV’s Content Team. They wrote the article. The art used in this graphic is the AACCS logo.