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Conversation with Desmond Cole

Carding, Copaganda, and Creating Change:

Last month at The Combine, we hosted Desmond Cole, social justice activist and author of the number one bestseller, The Skin We’re In, for a candid discussion on the nuanced meaning behind the call to defund the police.

For all those that couldn’t make it, you’ll find below a quick recap of the actions that Desmond asked us to consider:


Starting with a definition is a good way to build engagement, especially during difficult or uncomfortable discussions. Desmond began the conversation by leading us through an exploration of the differences between what the police say they do and what they actually do, which created rich fodder for reflection, learning and discussion.

Dig deeper:

Desmond encouraged us to resist the urge to blindly support the safety narrative when it comes to defining the need for police in its current context. He described how every situation does not warrant a cop with a gun, and explained why crisis responses need to prioritize care and support.

Change the narrative:

Real change is borne out of a collective social desire for change. When Desmond brought everyone around to see that the status quo is untenable, the idea of abolishing the police – in its current form – became less abstract and more urgent.

For those who made it in person, thanks for coming with an open mind and participating actively.

Written By:Rohini Mukherji

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