Activist, story teller and dreamer
Ok lets get this over and done with right from the start…
I have a criminal conviction. I spent two years in jail and two years on home detention. I am still tethered to the system. I’ve made mistakes in my past, and some of them were despicable. My face was splashed across the TV and newspapers. My life became a magazine anyone could thumb through. My conviction is part of me, but not all that I am. The reason I am telling you this is not to offer myself up for your judgement, but because I am taking back control of my life and the narrative about me.
I am a Gunditjmara woman born and raised on Kaurna country. I am a mother, a daughter, an aunty, a niece. I am a student, an artist, a writer, a poet and a dreamer.
I've been really fortunate to have had a diverse career - I've been a primary school teacher, a cultural instructor, I worked in politics for a decade, managed Aboriginal health services, completed some work at the university... and now I'm writing again, because my story is not over, it has only just begun.
Tabitha Lean, Lived Experience Abolitionist
The day I walked out of those prison gates I became an abolitionist.
My activist work is centred on advocating for every single body that is criminalised in this country. I believe we are at a crucible moment in this country’s history. We are seeing a powerful, sustained condemnation of racism and carceral violence – I think it is an uprising, and the call to build a world in which the prison industrial complex is obsolete has never been louder.
My activism is focussed on making abolition of prisons a common sense goal. To this end, I’m raising my voice to make imagining a world without prisons irresistible, because the key to health, safety, stability and liberation has never and will never be found in punishment and imprisonment.
Through my work, I want to challenge the belief that caging and controlling people makes us safe. I want to invite people to imagine a different kind of world – a world free of punishment, imprisonment and exile, instead replaced with communities grounded in love and care and community.
I want to be a part of conceptualizing new forms of justice, real justice...because right now the pull to vengeance is an impulse of the state and a colonial impulse we have internalized.
I see abolition as an invitation to think about how we want to be in a relationship with each other, with property and with institutions. This is exciting work, stand with us, and join the fight for a better world.