Ananda Mirilli is a Madison Wisconsin activist. She is the Family, Youth and Community Engagement Coordinator for the Madison Metropolitan School District and former Director of the Restorative Justice Program Director at the YWCA. A native from Brazil, Ananda has worked in human resources, administration and program development and for the past 10 years has focused her attention on social justice, education and equity issues.
Ananda is a graduate student at University of Wisconsin, Madison, department of Education Leadership and Policy Analysis and has worked both in college and community settings with elementary, middle and high school youth. Her research is on strategies to address racial inequities, particularly in education. Ananda has dedicated the past 4 years to teaching and implementing Restorative Justice in the schools as a behavior intervention model as well as a conflict resolution strategy. She has been facilitating community building circles with educators, community members and youth and supporting strategies to sustainably transform the conditions of learning environments. Ananda strongly believes that by being in community and sharing our experiences we can co-create meaningful relationships, foster safe and empowered communities and enhance school climate.
Ananda is a former board member of Nuestro Mundo bilingual school in Madison, WI, where she co-facilitated a culturally relevant leadership program for parents. She is the Treasurer for the Latino Education Council, board member of Forward Community Investment, a local community development financial institution and Chair of Communities United, a grassroots social justice coalition.
- Studies Educational leadership at University of Wisconsin-Madison
- Studied Human Service at Madison Area Technical College
- Former Family and Community Engagement Coordinator at Madison Schools - MMSD
- Former Restorative Justice Director at YWCA Madison
- Director Center for Resilient Cities
School board victory
Ananda Mirilli, a Department of Public Instruction racial equity consultant, defeated incumbent school board member T.J. Mertz for School Board Seat 5. Mirilli ended up with 58 percent of the vote to Mertz’s 42 percent.
“I’m really grateful to everyone that went out and voted and participated in the campaign,” Mirilli told Madison365, speaking at her election party at Robinia Courtyard on Madison’s near east side. “I’m excited to serve our city and excited to engage with everyone in the city to get the change that we are inspiring everybody to make.”
- In Madison, the local Democratic Socialists of America chapter had its own reasons to celebrate this spring. The chapter's very first foray into local politics yielded success when DSA-endorsed school board candidate Ananda Mirilli won her race against sitting school board member TJ Mertz on April 2.
- Even members of the Madison Area DSA (MADSA) electoral politics working group are modest about these first steps and the impact their work might have had on the outcome of the election. Mirilli's campaign, after all, had plenty of momentum with or without the DSA's help. She made the unconventional but ultimately successful choice to run a collaborative campaign with another school board candidate, Ali Muldrow, who handily beat local racist David Blaska for her own spot on the Madison Metropolitan School District's board .
- Karl Locher, a member of MADSA’s Electoral Politics Working Group, was careful not to take too much credit. “I want to preface everything by saying that Ananda and Ali really did a phenomenal job of movement building on their own," Locher says. "I hope we contributed in some meaningful way but I don't want to overshadow anything they did themselves.”
- DSA did contribute, though, however modest it might have seemed. After endorsing Mirilli, the local chapter leveraged its social media channels to boost her campaign and called on its growing membership not just to support Mirilli at the polls but to knock doors for her in five or six DSA-led canvassing events. The electoral politics working group also created a voter guide, which not only explained in detail why the group chose to endorse Mirilli, but why other candidates, including now-mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway, did not get an endorsement from the group. Even if DSA’s involvement wasn’t the thing that tipped the scales in Mirilli’s favor, it did at least win the group one new member: Mirilli herself, who was attracted to DSA's political platform and its commitment to organizing to make the DSA platform vision Madison’s reality.
- Mirilli’s victory in her school board race is, by itself, worth celebrating. She and Muldrow put a big emphasis on achieving justice for students and addressing systemic problems with systemic solutions. Theirs was definitely a “change” platform, pushing for a break with a status quo that is very specifically not serving students of color in the Madison Metropolitan School District. “It was less about doing more, and more about doing different,” Mirilli explained to me when we spoke on the phone in April. 
Democratic Socialists of America - Madison April 2 at 7:49 PM.
Huge congrats to new MMSD school board member Ananda Mirilli! Thank you so much to all the volunteers who helped make this happen. Thanks to your efforts, a socialist now sits on the school board who will fight for the rights of minority students, defend public education and support teachers' unions!