The Kings Ain’t Playin’ No One Tonight: Black Lives Matter Sacramento’s abolition work and the de-sanctifying of property

Authors: Mia Dawson*,
Topics: Ethnic Geography
Keywords: Black Lives Matter, abolition, black geographies, racial capitalism, queer/femme geographies
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: Washington 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


On March 19, 2018, Black Lives Matter Sacramento held a rapid response to mourn the loss of Stephon Clark, who had been killed by police outside his home in Meadowview the night before. On March 22, hundreds of protesters responding to Stephon Clark’s death gathered downtown at City Hall before shutting down the 1-5 freeway and then an NBA game at the Golden 1 Arena. The movement of protesters through these publicly and privately owned places maps a history of racialized violence, property making/taking, and displacement in Sacramento. This paper will consider the landscape of Sacramento through this history and through the disruptions that Black Lives Matter Sacramento poses to it while fighting for prison and police abolition. The group’s direct actions in public places challenge dominant notions of liberal personhood that exclude black, queer/trans, femme, disabled, and unhoused people. Direct actions on private properties challenge the sacredness of property ownership, bring attention to the interconnectedness between local governance and corporations, and offer alternative ethics of collectivity and accountability. These disruptions point towards the building of Katherine McKittrick’s humanly workable geographies through an overhaul of regimes of ownership and authority.

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