Abolish The Police To Bolster The Community, Says Raleigh Activist

Jul 27, 2020

When she's not teaching English at Louisburg College, Taari Coleman can often be found on the streets of Raleigh, megaphone in hand. She is a founding organizer with NC BORN, short for North Carolina Building Our Revolution Now, a group that advocates for defunding and dismantling current law enforcement structures in the state. 

The death of George Floyd propelled Coleman into the Black Lives Matter movement, and helped her come to terms with her own identity as a young Black woman.  In this installment of our series "Calling for Change," Coleman talks about what motivates her to raise her voice. 

Interview Highlights

Taari Coleman on how the Black Lives Matter movement forced her to confront her own identity:

After George Floyd's murder, I came to realize that I hated a part of myself. And the part of myself that I hated was the Black part. There was this part of myself that I inherently hated because I  thought it wasn't good enough.

My feelings about myself are slowly starting to change. This movement has been so beautiful because I've met so many people who are authentically themselves and I felt the freedom to be authentically myself for the first time, I think, in my life.  

Coleman on what it means to call for the abolishment of the police: 

Abolishing the police would be, making it so that police departments and precincts no longer exist and creating community safety programs that actually service the community.

Taari Coleman, a 27-year-old activist and teacher living in Raleigh, N.C., has become a prominent voice in the Black Lives Matter protest movement in the city.
Credit Kate Medley / For WUNC

Just imagining a world without policing and providing that for people, that's my biggest hope is to show people that these oppressive systems that we've been living under, that we see as the norm, can be broken down, and we can recognize how unorthodox they actually are and to build, something a lot more representative of what we all want and what we all need.

Coleman on strengthening community through protest: 

And my biggest hope is that the Raleigh community comes together for each other in the way that it came together for the occupation when we were outside of Roy Cooper's house. So many members of the community came by to just to make sure that we were okay, that you know, we had soft things to put our heads on, that our dietary needs were cared for, that we were hydrated and all of those different things. And it struck me as beautiful and lovely.