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Tahanie Talks Back

Gigi Wong

I learned about how to advocate for yourself in the face of unjust authority and how to navigate power dynamics that are related to your identity. I also learned how to empower yourself with rhetorical strategies and the understanding of how the hierarchy aims to keep white supremacy and the positioning of “othering.” I engaged with conversations that involved interactions with the police and discussed media portrayals of recent mass movements of BlackLivesMatter and Defund the Police. We also discussed how to advocate for unheard and marginalized voices. Tahanie shared important strategies to respond to police interactions, even aggressive ones that involved knowing your rights and calling for your attorney. I was so impressed with the Youth for Tahanie members for sharing their stories about working as high school students to advocate for change in their communities and understanding the consequence of these hierarchical power dynamics.

My engagement was facilitating a discussion centered around interactions with the police and developing the questions and activities to share in each of the breakout rooms. We had three different themes for the breakout rooms to guide different discussions, interactions with the police, victim advocacy and identity based advocacy. We discussed alternatives solutions to police and investing in other social services that are more equipped to deal with a variety of situations than the police. I am a part of the Advocacy Project, so I would love to continue sharing their events to the brotherhood to learn about advocacy in different lenses and the different issues that pertain to advocacy. We continue to develop workshops, so maybe I could even have APO collaborating with the Advocacy Project on advocacy in terms of community service. How to advocate for a community that you actively work with and strive to assist.