As a Southern, abolitionist media outlet, Scalawag deeply honors and centers those who take on the work of dismantling any structure in the way of liberation. We're excited to continue that tradition by welcoming Da'Shaun Harrison to the Scalawag team as our first-ever Editor-at-Large. In this expansive new role, Harrison will pair their incisive writing with their experience as a queer and trans abolitionist, theorist, and educator to help guide our journalism and introduce our work to new readers, collaborators, and changemakers.  

Da'Shaun, who is based in Atlanta, comes to us from Wear Your Voice Magazine, where they served initially as Associate Editor and later as Managing Editor. Their debut book, Belly of the Beast: The Politics of Anti-Fatness as Anti-Blackness, is the first text in the fat studies canon (and Black Fat studies canon, as they affectionately refer to it) to come from a  trans/masculine perspective. It's work I'm personally so thankful for, as it has given me the language and courage to engage with the politics of fatness instead of leading with shame. (Read our September interview with Da'Shaun and join us at our virtual jubilee tomorrow night to witness the transformative power of their work for yourself).

I've known Da'Shaun's work for years. I was a senior at Spelman College when they entered Morehouse College and jumped into powerful student-led organizing that held our schools to account for sexual violence happening on our campuses and zeroed-in on the violence of city police and rampant gentrification. It is this exact fearlessness Da'Shaun exhibits in all of their offerings that makes me so honored to now call them a colleague. 

In Belly of the Beast, Da'Shaun urges us to move beyond abolition, clarifying that destroying harmful institutional structures and hierarchies—and the anti-Blackness at their nucleus—doesn't mark the end of the work, but rather the beginning.

"We sit on graves of dreams not yet seen," Da'Shaun writes. "In those dreams, which may never resurrect, there's a place—not the World—where we live and breathe as beings not bound by identifiers and qualifiers predicated on anti-Blackness. Where we are not Black or white, not thin or fat, not cis or trans, not queer or straight, not bound or unbound. In that place, the caged bird is not freed from its cage; in that place, the cage never existed for the bird to ever be bound by." 

Join us in welcoming Da'Shaun into the Scalawag family, as they help us build a more just South together. 

Ko is a reporter and editor with a focus on justice and the criminal-legal system in the Deep South. She also writes and edits Scalawag's bi-weekly newsletter, pop justice. Ko is based in New Orleans, where she is always on the hunt for oysters, but will always consider Mississippi home.