Shaping a racial justice approach at Dane County TimeBank

Northside News
Date Published: 
May. 27, 2020

Shaping a racial justice approach at Dane County TimeBank

by Dane County TimeBank


Over the past 15 years, Dane County TimeBank has been involved in creating a dedicated space where people can share ideas, trade skills and build the bonds that sustain community resilience and celebrate interdependence. Even after all this time in the Madison community, we can humbly say that we are still finding our footing within the racial justice landscape. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, with its strain on existing resources and its deepening of racial disparities, it is becoming even more clear how we still have a lot of work to do to divest from systems that make it harder for black and brown people to get their basic needs met. Segregation operates in this city by denying communities of color the freedom to walk through their neighborhoods without over-surveillance, policing and violence. TimeBank Director Lorrie Hurckes Dwyer and Restorative Justice Director Damita Brown are leading a process of reflection about our history as a predominantly white organization that has benefited from systems of inequality, and investing in collaborations that can challenge these dynamics. 

We are exploring how timebanking can be a restorative justice practice. Our Abolitionist Circle Keeping emphasizes how claiming an anti-racist stance as an organization means being wholly committed to abolishing practices, structures and systems that perpetuate racist disparities. We invite the whole Madison community to join in an active response to the things that separate us and that distract us from the natural brilliance, beauty and power of working together. We want the focus of our exertion to be on our highest human qualities and to celebrate those.

One way we do this is by developing leadership in black youth. When children lack access to culturally relevant education with adequate numbers of black and brown educators, their humanity goes unrecognized. Our youth coordinators Kayasia Blake and Alexis Gardner work with young people every day, using restorative conversations, circles and social events that respect them for who they are. We are also facilitating Community Labs for Intentional Practice (CLIP) that help people break free from the routine participation in exploitative racist practice.

We need the diverse voices of this community to inform this journey toward a liberated narrative. We want to collaborate with community-based projects and organizations to honor how community voices drive collaboration. We are looking for ways to hear
you better.

To learn more about the TimeBank’s Restorative Justice work, email Damita Brown ( To learn more about the TimeBank’s Gardening Project and food justice efforts, email Lorrie Hurckes Dwyer ( To learn more about the TimeBank in general, visit