July 2022 IDEA Challenge

Abolitionist Futures in Coworking Spaces

July’s IDEA Challenge is facilitated by Dr. Syrus Marcus Ware.

The IDEA Project is a global initiative aimed at improving Inclusivity, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility (IDEA) within coworking and collaborative spaces. Each month, we will host a challenge that assists you in broadening your understanding of IDEA, while giving clear actions for you to take to expand IDEA practices within your community.

Challenge #18 – Abolitionist Futures in Coworking Spaces

In the summer uprisings of 2020, defund the police was on everyone’s consciousness and we were talking about abolition in new and exciting ways – building on a decades long history of abolitionist work stretching back to the times of slave labour camps. Indeed, many people turned towards abolition as a way to make better sense of our social world, as a way to ensure the safety and lives of marginalized people, and as a way to dream up a more just future. But how do you
live abolition, everyday?

What does it look like in our organizations, in the ways we work with each other? 

For this month’s challenge I’d like us to consider how to thread the seeds of abolition throughout our coworking spaces and organizations. What would it mean to embrace abolitionist principles in our workspaces?

Abolition offers us new ways of responding to conflict, crisis and harm when they happen and gives us possibilities for accountability, safety and care.

What are your policies like?

Do you have a conflict resolution policy- and does it involve calling the police at any point in the process?

Do you have a process of banning people or sending people away from the community either permanently or for a period of time?

What mental health training do you have onboard and what is your process for dealing with someone in crisis?

These are just a few of the questions I hope we can begin to tackle in coworking spaces to create the kinds of environments where folks who have been traditionally marginalized can come, join in and thrive.


You can find a checklist here to assist in taking this month’s challenge.

I look forward to hearing about how your inquiry goes – and suggest these resources to help you get started in a journey towards abolition:





And these books:

Policing Black Lives – Robyn Maynard

Until We Are Free – Rodney Diverlus, Sandy Hudson and Syrus Marcus Ware

We Will not Cancel Us – adrienne marie brown

We do this till were free – Miriam Kaba

Beyond Survival – Leah lakshmi Piepzna Samarasinha & Ejeris Dixon

Towards Braiding – Elwood Jimmy and Vanessa Andreotti 

Dr. Syrus Marcus Ware is a Vanier Scholar, visual artist, activist, curator, and educator. 

July 27th 2022
9:00 AM Pacific | 12:00 PM Eastern
5:00 PM UK | 6:00 PM CET

Dr. Syrus Marcus Ware

Dr. Syrus Marcus Ware

Assistant Professor, SOTA, McMaster University
Co-founder, Black Lives Matter - Canada

Connect with Syrus

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