A Lannan Cultural Freedom Fellowship is awarded to Mariame Kaba for her work as a leading voice in the Mutual Aid movement since the outbreak of the deadly COVID-19 coronavirus this year.
Mariame Kaba is an organizer, educator, curator, and prison industrial complex (PIC) abolitionist who is active in movements for racial, gender, and transformative justice. Kaba is the founder and director of Project NIA, a grassroots abolitionist organization with a vision to end youth incarceration. Mariame is currently a researcher at Interrupting Criminalization: Research in Action at the Barnard Center for Research on Women, a project she co-founded with Andrea Ritchie in 2018. Mariame has co-founded multiple other organizations and projects over the years including We Charge Genocide, the Chicago Freedom School, the Chicago Taskforce on Violence against Girls and Young Women, Love & Protect, the Just Practice Collaborative, and Survived & Punished. Mariame’s leadership, organizing, and influence extend widely as she offers a radical analysis that influences how people think and respond to how violence, prisons, and policing affect the lives of people of color. A long-time advocate and practitioner of Mutual Aid as an essential part of organizing, Kaba used her platform during the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus this year to raise extensive funds and awareness.