Stacey Abrams on board of foundation awarding millions to woke professors pushing prison abolition, CRT

By Jessica Chasmar

Stacey Abrams serves as a board member of a UPS family foundation that awards millions of dollars to professors and scholars who advocate anti-capitalist and prison abolitionist views, Fox News Digital has learned.

Abrams, who is taking another shot at running for Georgia governor, is currently listed as a board member at the Seattle-based Marguerite Casey Foundation, a private grant-making foundation named after Marguerite Casey, the sister of UPS founder Jim Casey. 

The far-left foundation has repeatedly voiced support for defunding and abolishing the police.

Abrams, who has tried to distance herself from the hardline rhetoric of the #DefundThePolice movement in the past, has received at least $52,500 in income from the foundation, according to her financial disclosures. 

Abrams’ campaign told Fox News Digital last week that Abrams, who joined the foundation’s board in May 2021, does not hold the same views as the foundation.

In December, the Marguerite Casey Foundation and Group Health Foundation announced the recipients of the 2021 Freedom Scholars Awards, which gave $250,000 to each of six professors who are “leading research in critical fields including abolitionist, Black, feminist, queer, radical, and anti-colonialist studies.”

The $1.5 million annual award, established in 2020, “counters the limited financial resources and research constraints frequently faced by scholars whose work supports social movements,” the foundation said.

One of the professors who received an award was Robin D. G. Kelley, who teaches African American history at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and has argued that capitalism is inherently racist.

In a February NPR segment, Kelley said, “The secret to capitalism’s survival is racism.”

“So any true liberation has to be anti-capitalist,” he said. “There’s no way capitalism can save us. And even if you could create a capitalism that’s somehow non-racial, which of course, is impossible – but let’s say in theory you can do that. We still have deep exploitation and inequality produced by it.”

During the same NPR interview, Kelley said his “goal” growing up was to be a “communist for life.”

“I was involved in a study group organized by the All-African People’s Revolutionary Party, AAPRP, and we’d study Walter Rodney, Frantz Fanon, C.L.R. James, Angela Davis, I mean, Kwame Nkrumah. So this was outside the classroom. This is where I got the real education,” Kelley said.

“I wanted to be a communist for life. I wanted to make revolution,” he continued. “And it’s like, of course, you’ve got to be a historian to be a real good communist, not the other way around.” 

During another segment of the NPR interview titled, “There are no utopias,” Kelley argued that a truly communist country has never existed throughout history. 

“I’m the first to say that what we think of as state socialism or communism has been a disaster,” he said. “I’m the last one to defend what actually becomes, in the case of Soviet Union, for example, not socialism at all, but state capitalism that’s redistributive. That’s what the Soviet Union became. And China’s the same thing. China did amazing things in terms of being able to raise the basic standard of living. But China is a state capitalist neoliberal society. We don’t have a communist country anywhere in the world. We’ve never actually had one. It has never happened.”

Another professor awarded $250,000 by the Marguerite Casey Foundation was Lorgia García Peña, a former Latinx-studies professor at Harvard University whose tenure was rejected in 2019, sparking weeks of protests at the Ivy League school. According to the New Yorker, some members had complained that García Peña’s work amounted to activism rather than scholarship. 

García Peña, who is now a professor in Tufts University’s Department of Studies in Race, Colonialism, and Diaspora, argued in June 2020 that ethnic studies is an “urgent” area of study “from elementary schools up to college,” because it is “charged with filling in the immense gap left by our Eurocentric education systems.”

“What we teach at every school right now—what we consider to be the standard humanities and social science curriculum—is actually grounded in white supremacy, but is masked as objectivity,” she told Boston Review at the time.

During the same interview, García Peña said she “was part of a program” called “Freedom University” at the University of Georgia, which supported “undocumented students when the governor banned their enrollment.”

“I was part of a program, Freedom University—which created a parallel university system to support University of Georgia’s undocumented students when the governor banned their enrollment—and because we had students and we had teachers we had a school,” García Peña said. “Literally, that is all you need, and then everything else is extra. So it’s critical to support students and support their demands.”

‍Other recipients of the 2021 Freedom Scholars Awards included Angélica Cházaro, a Critical Race Theory (CRT) professor at the University of Washington School of Law who advocates for prison abolition, and Amna Akbar, an Ohio State University professor and proponent of “movement law,” which she describes as the “approach to legal scholarship grounded in solidarity, accountability, and engagement with grassroots organizing and left social movements.”

In 2020, the Marguerite Casey Foundation awarded $3 million to its Freedom Scholars. Those recipients included Alisa Bierria, a gender studies professor at UCLA who recently argued that the possible overturning of Roe v. Wade signaled “a broader attitude by this government that treats women’s lives as disposable and trans people’s lives as disposable.”

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