Tawana "Honeycomb" Petty is a mother, social justice organizer, author, poet and youth advocate. She is intricately involved in water rights advocacy and data and digital justice.
Tawana is a data justice community researcher and Director of the Data Justice Program for Detroit Community Technology Project (DCTP). As a researcher for DCTP, she co-led a three city participatory research project called Our Data Bodies (ODB), which identified through interviews and focus groups, the ways that our communities' digital information is collected, stored, and shared by government and corporations. Following the research, Tawana co-produced with ODB, the "Digital Defense Playbook," a workbook of popular education activities focused on data, surveillance, and community safety.
She also co-produced a report called, "A Critical Summary of Detroit's Project Green Light and It's Greater Context," looking at the history of Detroit's recent real-time crime surveillance program and its relationship to facial recognition.
Tawana is a member of the Detroit Digital Justice Coalition (DDJC), which organizes Data Discotechs (discovering technology) fairs in various neighborhoods throughout Detroit, to increase digital, data and media literacy. She is also co-founder of Riverwise Magazine, which recently produced a special surveillance issue, "Detroiters Want to be Seen, Not Watched," on Project Green Light and Detroit's use of facial recognition.
Tawana is the author of several books, Introducing Honeycomb, Coming Out My Box, Petty Propolis Reader: My Personal and Political Evolution, and Towards Humanity: Shifting the Culture of Antiracism Organizing.
She recently co-curated an exhibition called DEPTH with Science Gallery Detroit, on the ways that people and all living beings have, and will experience water in the future. The exhibition was seen by over 30,000 people in a three month period.
Tawana is the organizer of the annual Petty Propolis Art Festival and Artist Retreat, in historic Idlewild, Michigan, which boasts hundreds of participants each year and convenes over 30 artists, organizers, herbalists and innovators to create art, share healing practices and re-spirit each other and the communities they serve.
She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Spirit of Detroit Award, the Woman of Substance Award, Women Creating Caring Communities Award, Detroit Awesome Award, University of Michigan Black Law Student Association's Justice Honoree Award, was recognized as one of Who’s Who in Black Detroit in 2013 and 2015, Wayne State Center for Peace and Conflict Studies' Peacemaker Award, and a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition in 2018.
Visit pettypropolis.org for more details.