What is the Transformative Action Network (TAN)?
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 Flywheel Skillshare 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 Flywheel Skillshare 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
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.Flywheel [email protected]
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!
James Washington is an inmate currently incarcerated in Columbia Correctional Institution. Over the course of the past four years, James has filed dozens of complaints related to being given the wrong medication, being denied access to dental and other health related services, and denial of care related to hip treatment. James recently underwent a thirty day hunger strike in an effort to meet his demands for adequate care. (If you would like to learn more about his list of demands from the hunger strike please click here.)
Medical attention and preventative care within prisons is notoriously horrible. People that are incarcerated are more likely to have chronic health problems like diabetes, high blood pressure and HIV (source). Even though people are more likely to have health conditions, correctional health care is difficult to access and of very low quality (source). For every year that an individual is incarcerated, their life expectancy drops by two years. (source).
The Transformative Action Network and 100 Strong are looking to support and amplify James’ calls for better and more humane medical treatment for himself as well as other folks within Columbia Correctional. We are inviting you to join us on May 13th from 5:30 to 7 pm in a collective letter writing action to support James and work to end medical violence. 100 Strong will be providing a template and a space to develop a letter to send to individuals within this institution and to demand action.