Creative Interventions.


Dean Spade’s essays, as well as the video clip discussions between Dean Spade and Reina Gossett create a vision and plan for a  “utopian” society. To me, many of their goals seemed out of reach and nearly impossible to achieve. The notion that prison systems and law-enforcement agencies should be completely abolished took me by surprise to say the least. If these institutions were brought down, what would be the punishment? Where would “dangerous” people go? As I read more and did some of my own researching, their tactic of “repairing” rather than “exiling” began to develop itself as a more concrete method.

The idea of being “Indisposable” is a constant theme throughout the discussions Spade and Gossett have. This simply put, means that everyone, regardless of race, gender, sexuality is “vital” to the community and to the world. Rather than exile people who have inflicted harm, their aim is to recover these vital individuals and create a space without the need for a formal prison system and police intervention. CREATIVE INTERVENTIONS, based out of Oakland, Ca. is a community program that aims to Shift the anti-violence movement away from individualized social services and criminalization towards community-based responses to violence. Creative Interventions provides tools, knowledge and PUTS THE POWER BACK IN THE INDIVIDUAL in preventing violence among many different communities. Creative interventions takes into account different realities and resources of each individual community and situation.

As recalled from the video’s, Gossett elaborates on the point that everyone should practice “ABOLITION” in everyday life. What abolition means is to prevent harm, intervenes upon and repairs harm that has been inflicted, and aims at transforming communities and relationships and stops harm and violence from passing down through generations. Practicing abolition in our daily lives will move us to a safer community and will lead us to a time when prisons and law enforcement agencies are no longer operating and inflicting harm.

Once the police are called situations shift dramatically. Gossett argues, alongside with Creative Interventions that those who are closest to you should be the ones intervening, not law enforcement or social services. Creative Interventions insists that friends and family that are closest to the individual inflicting harm have more power and impact than those (law enforcement) that are on the outside do to safely resolve the situation.

Spade laid out an important message when he claimed people look upon others as being disposable. Rather than want to help them, one usually thinks “make this get out of my sight, I don’t want to deal with this alone, I want the police to deal with this”. This is exactly what Creative Interventions is aiming to change. You do not have to go through this alone, this person is worth the time needed to heal and the police are not the ones who should be intervening, you are. You have  far more power and a greater impact in repairing this individual.


“Embracing the values of social justice and liberation, Creative Interventions is a space to re/envision solutions to domestic or intimate partner, sexual, family and other forms of interpersonal violence.

Creative Interventions assumes that the relationships, families and communities in which violence occurs are also the very locations for long-term change and transformation. It assumes that those most impacted by violence are the most motivated to challenge violence. It assumes that friends, family, and community know most intimately the conditions that lead to violence as well as the values and strengths which can lead to its transformation.”



Hear and read stories from everyday people who have taken courageous and creative action to end violence. Stories range from ones from the point of view of the individual who inflicted harm and their willingness to participate in a recovery program, breaking cycles of abuse, why some rely on themselves and their community of friends before calling the police in a situation, creating and spreading the word about community outreach programs.


Creative Interventions ToolKit is guide to: help us figure out what steps we can take to address, reduce, end or even prevent violence—what we call violence intervention.



One thought on “Creative Interventions.

  1. Blog Comment #2

    I think it’s pretty profound that you were open and able to take in some the critique and alternative approaches that Spade and Gossett have to offer, despite your initial skepticism and doubt. Spade and Gossett outline and give insight to an alternative, transformative approaches to issues related to criminalization and the (institutional) oppression of marginalized that, as you said, involves the “‘repairing rather than ‘exiling’” of underprivileged folks. I feel like Spade and Gossett’s work is very significant in its critique and that their perspective is very innovative. The abolitionist perspective is important to think about, as it restores the value of human life to individuals who are often devalued because of their social status. Spade and Gossett recognize how systems of oppression negatively impact and victimize marginalized, intersectional identities, and assert the need for spaces where people still have agency and the opportunity for uplift and growth. Their perspective seems to come from a place of sensitivity and solidarity as they examine ways that communities can embrace and offer the most sincere and nonjudgmental support for those individuals who are often victimized, criminalized, marginalized, excluded, and exiled.

    I think the community program you found, Creative Interventions, does well to exemplify some of Spade and Gossett’s beliefs into practice (and I think it’s especially cool that it’s established in Oakland because the criminalization of oppressed people is known, or at least thought of to be particularly high in the east bay). I appreciate you sharing the program with us because I had never heard of anything like it. Well, I’ve heard of things like, restorative justice- which, I feel, kind of relates to Spade and Gosset’s view. Restorative or reparative justice, like Spade and Gossett from my understanding, also offers an alternative to institutional criminalization and takes into account the need for support through guidance rather than punishment and penalty. This also seeks to avoid injustices of police brutality, or the school-to-prison pipeline, for instance. Both of these methods seem to critique and challenge the dominantly approved idea of locking the “bad” people away from the “good” people for the safety of the “good” people. Instead they work towards a more transformative and healing kind of a process. Creative Interventions, to me, represents a restorative and abolitionist model. I’m interested in what their actual tools and knowledge production actually consists of. How do they conduct and present their work?

    I like that Creative Interventions shift the responsibility to the community, rather than law enforcement, to nurture and intervene in detrimental circumstances because I feel that it is important for people to have a sense of humility, empathy, and maybe even sympathy for those less privileged people of marginalized communities, often victimized and criminalized. Feeling connected to the community is extremely important, while a lack of support in the community can reveal dynamics of hostility and oppression. Spade and Gossett as well as Create Interventions assert a new, anti-oppressive way of looking at the big picture so as to recognize the humanity in individuals in that we all come from different realities with varying access to resources and support from our communities.

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