Ally Week: What Does It Mean To Be An Ally?
Ally Week was originally created as a week of celebration of the LGBTQ community, but it’s also about celebrating allyship with other minorities, whether it be racial, religious, or otherwise. It’s a time where all can feel welcome, hopefully setting a standard of acceptance through education. The Rainbow Alliance club is generally focused on issues in the LGBTQ community, but they want to emphasize that this week should be dedicated to understanding the challenges people face while celebrating diversity in and of ourselves.
While brainstorming and planning for the events set to take place, the Rainbow Alliance Club’s discussion came down to one essential question: What does it mean to be an ally? It’s a complex question with no direct answer, but the basic principles of allyship are all part of simple human nature.
An ally is someone who’s willing to learn, empathetic, and willing to stand next to someone in a difficult time, even if the issue doesn’t directly affect them. Amy Good, one of the advisors of the Rainbow Alliance, says, “It’s important to understand a variety of ways people experience the world, and as an ally work to understand the difficulties they may face.” An ally doesn’t have to be an expert on all minorities. In fact, an ally doesn’t need to have any previous knowledge; all they have to know how to do is listen.
Throughout the world, millions of students in high schools everywhere are bullied for their differences. Ally Week is a time to stress the importance of open mindedness and work as a community to make our school safe for everyone. Audrey Lee, a member of Rainbow Alliance, says, “A lot of people see minorities as exclusive, but Ally Week is a chance to recognize and celebrate identity differences, a way to share what’s in common and bridge boundaries.” The Rainbow Alliance Club hopes to spread awareness about the importance of acceptance in all minorities, and be able to educate students in an enjoyable and engaging way over the course of the week.
Hanover High School will be having its Ally Week from October 23-27. There will be a station set up all week in the atrium with stickers, baked goods, and information on allyship. Finally, everyone who considers themselves to be an ally will culminate under the bridge for a photo, holding up a flag with the reasons why they are allies. For more information on Ally Week, go to www.glsen.org.