In our virtual all community chapel program on February 3, 2022, we discussed the origins of #BlackHistoryMonth, the importance of being an ally, and the best ways to approach allyship. With contributions from Ms. Brown (Director of Spiritual Wellness and Diversity), Ella ’22 (SIC of our Chapel program), Clea ’22 (SIC of our student-led DEI Club), and Ms. Doll, our community explored concepts, such as ‘positionality’ and ‘allyship.’
Associate Faculty Member, Shannon Doll explained the various meanings of allyship and offered her recommendations to those seeking out ways to be more involved throughout Black History Month and beyond.
Excerpts from her talk include:
“Allyship is something that is interpreted in many different ways. For me, the key terms that come to mind are education, awareness, and empowerment.”
“To be a positive ally means so much more than using hashtags on social media, or posting a black box and captioning it ‘Blackout Tuesday’ in relation to the Black Lives Matter movement.”
“One way to be a supportive ally is through education. We can educate ourselves on issues relating to Black History Month. Whether it be looking up the origins to the Black Lives Matter movement, researching the meanings and lingo behind Black culture, or simply asking questions about concepts/issues we may not understand.”
“Awareness ties into education. We can make ourselves aware of the Black contributions around us by taking the time to attend activities during the course of Black History Month, or even just acknowledging the people of colour who paved the way to make our world the space it is today.”
“Empowerment is also an important component of allyship. By empowering the people of colour around us, we give them the opportunity to have a voice and be heard. It doesn’t have to mean being loud ourselves, but instead listening to the stories of those around us—the triumphs, the tribulations, and everything in between.”
Ms. Doll concluded her talk by sharing a poem written by Dr. Maya Angelous—one of America’s leading contemporary female poets and a strong member and contributor to the civil rights movement—Still I Rise
We look forward to learning more about Black culture, history, and the achievements of Black and Brown people as a community this month. Through February and beyond, our students are continuing to explore resources together and engage in meaningful conversations on these topics.