This installment of the Faith In the Valley Justice Interview Series is a conversation about political violence in California's Central Valley. Participants think through political violence as not reducible to white-nationalist protest violence, but rather political violence as constitutive to the structural reality of America itself.
This Faith In the Valley Justice Interview Series is a conversation with Faith In the Valley organizer Marcel Woodruff. We explore abolitionism as a tool to create a more just society and to provide clarification on what is meant by the term.
In our current social and political climate, there is much discussion regarding what constitutes abolitionism as a political orientation, and how is it connected to reimagining public safety and the allocation of public funds away from punishment and towards genuine safety.
Woodruff helps clarify some of the contours of abolitionism by providing a theological and philosophical engagement with the concept, as well as its practical applications in the arena of community organizing in creating a healthier Central Valley.
An example of the practical expression of abolitionism that Marcel highlights in this conversation is the passing of Advance Peace, a program that reduces urban gun violence without relying on police intervention. This conversation is a helpful tool for clergy persons and organizers alike.
Marcel Woodruff is a native of Fresno and graduate of Bullard High School. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in computer science from Xavier University and his master’s degree from Fresno Pacific University seminary. Marcel has served as a mentor, adviser and life coach for Fresno youth, primarily from the South West and South East areas of Fresno, for 15 years. During that time, he has worked with more than 3,000 young people. Marcel currently works as an organizer for Faith in the Valley, and he also sits on the boards of Fresno/Madera Youth for Christ, Neighborhood Industries and the ACLU Northern Foundation.