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A Lesson in Allyship

By: Lindsay Stawick, Director of Programs, Domestic Violence Network

As part of our Consolidated Youth grant through the Office of Violence Against Women, I had the opportunity to travel to Tucson, AZ for their summer institute to learn from past and present grantees. I spent three days learning about various topics related to effective and responsive youth programming, and it was a great feeling to be surrounded by passionate youth workers from across the country who strive everyday, like me, to create a safe and inclusive environment for all youth.

All of the information presented over the three days had one common theme: Allyship.  Our work MUST be grounded with this concept in mind.  I had baseline knowledge of what being an ally meant, but I never took the time to learn the meaning of being an effective and authentic steward of allyship.  As I took a deeper dive into what true allyship is, here is what I learned:

Allyship is not an identity, nor is it self identified. It involves listening more than speaking and supporting a cause not because you feel sorry for someone, but because you value a just society.  As an ally, your role is to constantly acknowledge your privilege, and work like hell to not perpetuate systems of oppression from which you benefit. True allyship does not seek recognition or praise – you are not doing this to beef up your resume or get likes on social media, you are practicing allyship because every human deserves safety and equity.

Learning about allyship has brought a fresh perspective to my work with youth as I move forward with the Consolidated Youth grant.  Intentionally practicing allyship will be at the forefront of my mind as we create and implement strategies to increase safety and equity in our Central Indiana community.  I hope you will join me!

Want to learn more about allyship?  Check out The Anti-Oppression Network.