Transformative Action Network

What is the Transformative Action Network (TAN)?

Purpose:

By learning to relate effectively with racism and interrupt patterns of white supremacist culture, TAN members become allies and co-conspirators to Black and Brown community members. Using restorative justice work, TAN is helping Timebank build resilience instead of fragility, action instead of silence and solidarity instead of hierarchy. Abolitionist restorative practices become powerful tools that enhance mutuality and respect across gender, race and class lines. They lead to the kind of collaboration that can move Madison beyond anemic liberalism to real progressive alternatives. Anti-racist restorative practice among Timebankers is leading to racial justice.  

As James Baldwin wrote, “Any citizen of this country who figures himself as responsible – and particularly those of you who deal with the minds and hearts of young people – must be prepared to “go for broke”. As a network, we are striving to give racial justice everything we have. 

What Is It?

Getting involved with TAN means first taking an orientation that explores diaspora identity and racial disparities. The diaspora activity gives participants an opportunity to examine elements of entitlement and dispossession connected to identity, history, and perceptions of belonging. At the core of this introduction to diaspora identity is the question: ‘how does one’s personal investment in narratives of domination perpetuate white supremacist culture?’ In any given moment, we have a choice about which narrative we’re going to subscribe to. That choice is enacted in our every day actions. By examining our own cultural identities, we create the possibility of dismantling hierarchies grounded in privilege, racism, and ignorance.

Approaching racial disparities from the perspective that we all inherited the social conditions and inequities that we’re experiencing provides further opportunity to change the way we act. We can transform the cultural practices that we have inherited. Transformative Action Network takes this as its first priority. Within this context, ‘action’ is not grounded in guilt or shame or blame. Rather, it emerges from a self-awareness and conviction about personal power to make change. We engage in this work through Community Lab for Intentional Practice (CLIP) and other opportunities to build collaborations and to seek out co-conspirator alliances that end racial disparities.

Our CLIP labs are loosely guided by the work of Dr. Bettina Love and her book ‘We Want to Do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom’. The abolitionist approach is valuable because it is committed to the idea of replacing institutional harm. The educational survival complex is something that is replicated in all of our institutions. We use that premise in building collaborations with other organizations and groups that seek to do similar abolitionist and anti-racist work in other institutions.

How This Helps

  • Builds community for people who want to do anti-racism work
  • Encourages the transformation of silence into action
  • You can learn practical ways to interrupt, dismantle, and replace white supremacist ways

How to Get Involved

Getting involved with TAN means first taking an orientation that explores diaspora identity and racial disparities. We also encourage you to attend our Open House to learn about restorative justice and our current projects.

For More Information

Please contact Mariah at tan.timebank@gmail.com

Cost

The cost of participating in TAN is free, however, we ask for contributions of whatever you can afford that will be used for scholarship funds for Black students.

Who Can Be Involved?

Whether you are a seasoned anti-racist or just starting out your input is needed and welcomed!

Ending Violence Against Black Children: an interview with Dr. Damita Brown

  • Posted on: 7 April 2020
  • By: Ryan Eykholt

 

 

 

Freedom Inc and the Transformative Action Network is collaborating on a letter writing campaign to demand the end of violence against black children in Madison. This coordinated abolitionist effort will bring together members of the community to make sure injustices against children do not go unseen, unchallenged, or met with silence. Community members will write letters directed to media outlets, school administrators, city officials and community based organizations to urge them to address the the structural and physical violence Black youth face and to take anti-racist action. 
 

To further explain the goals of the letter writing campaign, here is an interview between Ryan Eykholt, member of the Transformative Action Network Coordinating Committee, and Dr. Damita Brown, Restorative Justice Director at the Dane County TimeBank. Damita is a community based educator with experience in restorative justice circles and anti-racism workshop facilitation using creative process and contemplative self awareness practices. 
 

RE: How did the letter writing campaign emerge, and what inspired it? 
 

DB: I think there are a couple of sources of inspiration for it. One was the ongoing work that Freedom, Inc. is doing around getting police-free schools. They have been looking at the dangers that our kids face with respect to that in the schools for a lot of years now. So I knew that that resource was there, and it’s always in the back of my mind, like how to work with them. And the other direct impetus was that I was mentoring a kid that got arrested at gunpoint in December. He was a kid with special needs, he had an IEP. He was already kind of limited in his social environment because he didn’t go to school all day. I think he was in school for like three hours a day. And so, he was already experiencing some isolation. But after he got arrested, I reached out to his mom about showing up for the hearings and supporting her in whatever way we could. She was afraid that the judge might look at our presence in the courtroom unfavorably. And we couldn’t publish any information about the arrest. I felt like my hands were tied, and I also heard a lot of other stories, that young black kids are facing a lot of violence. Structural, physical, and cultural violence in Madison. So, we wanted to do something around ending that violence, and the letter campaign came out of that. 
 

RE: In your piece ‘Choosing Liberation’, you talk about ‘unpacking white dominated identity structures’ and rewriting ourselves within a racial/black liberation narrative. How do you see the letter writing campaign as an individual and collective action that helps to make the liberation narrative thrive? 
 

DB: That’s a great question. Because I think, at any given moment, we all have an opportunity to start fresh. Whatever we haven’t done in the past or we’ve done poorly, or maybe we haven’t responded at all, all those things go out the window the minute we take the new act. Every moment is an opportunity to do something differently, or do the same thing you did before but do it again. So, we need to keep giving ourselves opportunities to act. The question isn’t whether we ever did it right in the past or if we don’t know how to do it now, but to create so many opportunities to practice ending this violence. The actual practice of ending this violence, and speaking about it is an incredibly powerful way to transform this narrative. If we are worried about what to say, or afraid that we’ll be considered too radical or maybe a race traitor – I’m not sure what internal dialogue people are dealing with, but whatever that is, let’s air it out. 
 

RE: What are the strengths of restorative justice for responding to crisis? How does the mission of restorative justice overlap with the letter writing campaign? 
 

DB: One of the interesting things about restorative justice, especially as it’s being implemented in the Madison community, is that it already is experiencing a lot of co-optation. We’re looking at how it’s being implemented into the school district. It’s been going on at different capacities for many years. Recently, because of the alternatives to ticketing initiatives that have changed the dynamic somewhat, we’re getting a much more defined picture of how the disparities have been getting created in terms of incarceration and police contact with our communities and our youth. People like to talk about how the numbers are going down in terms of citations, because of restorative justice. And that’s good. But we need to be asking ourselves if the outcomes are also changing in terms of what black communities look like. Are incarceration rates changing? Are our children getting the kind of skills and academic resources that allow them to show up in their communities as leaders, to be able to understand and experience their own sense of power and to thrive? Are they getting that sense of being valued members of their community? Are they still experiencing the level of white rage and hostility in their schools that they did before these numbers started to change? With police contact that they’re having in schools, they’re being pretty much surveilled. Every moment they’re in school, there’s a cop there. Are we changing their level of contact with police? Or, are we creating school environments in which kids are being policed all day? The school-to-prison pipeline, is that changing? 
 

If we can look at the numbers in Dane County and see how they compare to the rest of the country, we’re one of the worst. We’re one of the worst, and other Midwestern states are also horrible, disproportionate compared to the rest of the country. I like the fact that people are thinking about alternatives to ticketing, but officer discretion has not been removed, and it is still very much a matter of normalizing this kind of structural violence in the lives of our kids. 
 

We can’t forget the kid who had a bag put over his head when he was being arrested. We can’t forget the 8- and 9-year-olds who have had the law enforcement called on them by their principals. What principal in this school district does not know how to handle an 8-year-old? If you do not have enough trust and respect with your 8-year-olds that you can’t resolve a conflict without calling the police, should you be in that job? I don’t think so. I think if there’s enough white rage in our schools to where 8- and 9-year-olds are having the police called on them, that’s a crisis right there. This is not an isolated incident. We started this interview talking about the 14-year-old who was arrested in December. It goes on all the time. Let’s look at the crisis of that. I don’t want us to always be feeling like we’re in crisis mode. But if there’s one that needs to be handled, let’s not pretend like it’s not there. 
 

RE: What are the best ways for people to get involved with this letter writing campaign?
 

DB: Upcoming this week, we have a session people are welcome to join – Friday, April 10  from 7-8pm – where people can come and learn what the campaign is about, and figure out how to set up a letter writing Zoom session with their peers. There will be a template of the letter. The campaign launches for the broader community, April 24th. We’ll talk about different forms of the template because some letters will go to editors, some letters will go to the school board, some letters will go to the city council, so how to target the community you want to address the letter to. This week we’re just starting with the people who signed up during our Open House to get them to know how to host a letter writing meeting on Zoom. Then, the idea is to expand out from there and the people who come to those initial instructional meetings can learn how to set up their own letter writing gathering online. Exponentially, we’ll have more and more of these meetings. Over time, we’ll generate hopefully hundreds of millions of letters.

Open House

  • Posted on: 1 January 2020
  • By: Dane County TimeBank

The Restorative Justice Open House at the Timebank is a gathering intended to offer the general public music and other entertainment and refreshments to provide a easy going, activity based and fun environment in which to  exchange ideas and learn from each other about restorative justice and current projects.

The Open Houses are currentlly on hold due to COVID-19. The next date for an Open House will be announced in the future. 

Excellent Co-Conspirator Checklist

  • Posted on: 1 January 2020
  • By: Dane County TimeBank

 

Consistently Working to Be:

  • Anti-Racist & Action-Oriented
  • Preferential to Co-Conspiracy over Allyship
  • Liberation-Focused & Reflective
  • Actively Developing Self-Awareness
  • Deeply Curious
  • Creative & Collaborative
  • Empathetic & Humble

To Act: 

  • Honor All Forms of Life
  • Transform Silence Into Action
  • Understand Impact Matters Over Intent
  • Trust & Accept Others' Lived Experiences 
  • Commit to Safety, Healing, and Agency for All
  • Open to Receiving Feedback & Being Challenged
  • Maintain a Sense of Accountability and Blamelessness
  • Invest in Black and Brown Youth and Community Self-Determination
  • Practice Restorative Justice to Achieve Transformative Justice
  • Interrupt Organizational Practices that Maintain Oppression
  • Address Violence at its Roots, at both Individual and Collective Levels
  • Dismantle White Supremacy and Reassemble Black Liberation Consciousness and Autonomy 

 

Co-Conspiracy is integral to our work with restorative justice. This is the definition we operate by. 

Restorative Justice is a theory and practice of community-based approach to doing community building, responding when harm is caused or healing damaged relationships. This work is based on 360-degree accountability, mutual concern, dignity and respect.  

Grounded in the view that all members of a community are worthy and interdependent, the practice promotes community building, self-awareness, and empathy to create justice, equity and freedom. Through the creation of collective agreements people work to resolve conflict and respond to deep patterns of harm which are often grounded in historical, structural and physical racism and violence. 

Vision

  • Posted on: 1 January 2020
  • By: Dane County TimeBank

Getting involved with TAN means first taking an orientation that explores diaspora identity and racial disparities. The diaspora activity gives participants an opportunity to examine elements of entitlement and dispossession connected to identity, history, and perceptions of belonging. At the core of this introduction to diaspora identity is the question: ‘how does one’s personal investment in narratives of domination perpetuate white supremacist culture?’ In any given moment, we have a choice about which narrative we’re going to subscribe to. That choice is enacted in our every day actions. By examining our own cultural identities, we create the possibility of dismantling hierarchies grounded in privilege, racism, and ignorance.

 

Approaching racial disparities from the perspective that we all inherited the social conditions and inequities that we’re experiencing provides further opportunity to change the way we act. We can transform the cultural practices that we have inherited. Transformative Action Network takes this as its first priority. Within this context, ‘action’ is not grounded in guilt or shame or blame. Rather, it emerges from a self-awareness and conviction about personal power to make change. We engage in this work through Community Lab for Intentional Practice (CLIP) and other opportunities to build collaborations and to seek out co-conspirator alliances that end racial disparities. 

 

Our CLIP labs are loosely guided by the work of Dr. Bettina Love and her book ‘We Want to Do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom’. The abolitionist approach is valuable because it is committed to the idea of replacing institutional harm. The educational survival complex is something that is replicated in all of our institutions. We use that premise in building collaborations with other organizations and groups that seek to do similar abolitionist and anti-racist work in other institutions.

 

Abolitionist / Co-Conspirator Restorative Justice Training

  • Posted on: 1 January 2020
  • By: Dane County TimeBank

The Timebank Tranformative Action Network hosts Abolitionist Restorative Justice workshops that meet people where they are on the journey of creating collaborative, sustainable change. 

  • Learn how to engage in liberated narratives
  • Learn how to identify and reject scripted complicity in white supremacist culture
  • Learn how to trust your heart and those of others in our ability to manifest justice on the spot
  • Build solidarity within and across communities of color

This intensive will challenge you, support your existing liberation practice, and help connect you with other like minded folx.

To register for an upcoming workshop, please email tan.timebank@gmail.com

Donations accepted and go to the Timebank's Black Leaders Scholarship Fund. Participants can earn Timebank hours for investing their time in this work.

Community Lab for Intentional Practice (CLIP)

  • Posted on: 1 January 2020
  • By: Dane County TimeBank

The Lab is focused on providing an alternative community space for developing abolitionist, co-conspirator and restorative justice practices that eliminate racial disparities in Dane County and empower the voices of those most impacted. CLIP prioritizes expanding self-awareness and the ability to offer transformative practice at interpersonal and institutional levels of engagement. Recognizing that unlearning the ways we participate in white supremacist culture are deeply ingrained, members are committed to consistent and long term work.

CLIP offers ongoing restorative circle opportunities, anti-racism, institutional harm, and practice that builds capacity to relate to real life and hypothetical scenarios. Our work in the lab also includes opportunities to engage in creative, contemplative and collaborative projects that dismantle institutional injustice and develops alternative infrastructure.

Organizations are welcome to request lab sessions that respond to their specific needs.

Currently labs are meeting on the third Monday of every month from 2:30-3:30pm. 

This meeting will be held over Zoom. You can RSVP for CLIP with this link

The TimeBank Community Helpline

  • Posted on: 1 January 2020
  • By: Dane County TimeBank

The Timebank Community Helpline

Using the power of restorative justice practices to offer open minded listening, practical support and referrals for COVID-19 resources

 

What does the Helpline do:

  • Continuity for youth currently involved with restorative justice
  • Referrals to much needed COVID-19 resources like rent, mortgage and utilities relief, food, transportation and more
  • One-to-one conversations that allow callers to vent, destress, reconnect.
  • A place to report racist abuses and violence experienced or witnessed in the community, in school or other places.
  • An alternative to calling 911 on Black people when that’s not needed.

MediaWatch

  • Posted on: 1 January 2020
  • By: Dane County TimeBank

The objectives of MediaWatch team are to:

1) Respond to the need for independent media that is diversified and at all levels

2) Create opportunities for independent media to collaborate with grassroots communities

3) Encourage people to respond to racism in the media and,

4)Interrupt how info is shared that perpetuates white supremacist culture

End Violence Against Black People Campaign

  • Posted on: 1 January 2020
  • By: Dane County TimeBank

The (Taskforce) Campaign to End Violence Against Black People began as a response to the arrest of black children. In December of 2019 a 14 year-old was arrested at his middle school. Lincoln HiIls is full of Black children. Why is it acceptable for Black children to be locked behind bars? The task force asks, what kinds of institutional violence is taking place in our schools and other institutions that normalize this kind of violence? 

This is a collaboration between the TimeBank Transformative Action Network and Freedom Inc. The goal of this Taskforce is to create greater visibility of this problem and decriminalize Black youth. The focus is on broadening the conversation about this violence and compelling white allies to address the role of hypersegregation as a form of structural violence that bolsters and normalizes violence against Black children. The reason for this letter writing campaign is to lay pressure on the system, to break silence, make the violence visible, and do everything we can to stop this violence. We must all be responsible for ending violence against our Black neighbors.

Our goal is to send 2000 letters by November 3, 2020.

Coordinating Committee

  • Posted on: 1 January 2020
  • By: Dane County TimeBank

The TAN Coordinating committee is modeled after the SNCC in the sense that it seeks to engage in participatory democracy and build alliances on the basis of co-conspirator, abolitionist and racial justice principles. This work is guided by the writing of Bettina Love and Ella Baker. The purpose of thie committee is to coordinate the work of the Transformative Action Network. 

The current members of the TAN Coordinating Team are: 

  • Damita Brown, Director of the TimeBank Restorative Justice Program
  • Gretchen Trast
  • Marin Smith
  • Ryan Eykholt
  • Shayne Gerberding  

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