This week’s theme: Welcome to Transformation

Ray Filar, Associate Editor of our new section Transformation, walks us through its first week

Welcome to Transformation. This week sees the launch of openDemocracy's new section dealing with love, equality and social justice. Throughout the week we will be posting articles which span the range of our section's major themes, giving our readers a taste of what to expect.

Transformation tells the stories of people who are combining personal and social change in order to re-imagine their societies. We believe that radical changes in our relationships and institutions are essential to challenge today's predominant ethics of competition, growth and power. Transformation therefore provides a forum to explore what this might mean in practice.

On Monday, we lead with editor Mike Edwards’ official introduction to the section. “All great stories are love stories in one form or another, but the story of love and justice has not yet been told”, he writes, opening up the ground for writers, activists and academics to debate not just what transformation means, but what can be actively done to create it. In “Romantic love: an agent of change?” Niki Seth-Smith is the first to take on this transformative challenge, examining whether love can be a positive force for change when it is so constrained by modern romantic ideals.

Social justice activist Scot Nakagawa kicks off Tuesday with a call for greater realism about racism in the United States. Comparing North American society to a "broken mirror" divided by racism, he says that honest dialogue is the only way to pull the fragments together. We also feature the first instalment in Olof Söebech's "Everyday Stories" series, introducing Sandra Kinnaman Nordström's work creating an alternative community in Stockholm.  

Our top story on Wednesday is editor Mike Edwards' interview with US Congressman Tim Ryan. In his book A Mindful Nation, Ryan calls for a "quiet revolution" - a wave of mindfulness to sweep through the corridors of power. What does that mean? Read the interview to find out! 

Thursday sees the publication of two short films by New York-based queer filmmaker mónica enríquez-enríquez. The clips presented - entre nos and reclamados espacios - deal with the experiences of queer migrants to the United States, and raise themes of loss, belonging, surviving violence and claiming identity in marginal spaces. 

We bring our launch week to a close with Breakfast in Detroit, a feel-good article uncovering one Detroit-based initiative to bring communities together at a difficult economic and social time for the city. Authors Caitlin Endyke and Sean Thomas-Breitfeld discuss how they have created solidarity through the simple provision of a hot breakfast. 

For more, see my introductory teaser blog, posted last week

About the author

Ray Filar is a freelance journalist and an editor at openDemocracy, working on the Transformation section. Their writing has been published in The Guardian, The Times, and the New Statesman, among others. Ray is interested in feminist and queer politics, (sub)culture, and other political struggles. They tweet, @rayfilar, their website is here.