Allyship in Action has been waiting for collective community action and it has finally arrived. Our company was born as a labor of love to change the dialogue around the value of the equity and social justice work we were constantly being asked to do for free. Until recently, the requests would trickle in and we were excited to engage with the few folks who were ready to dive into the work.
As our community works through multiple layers of trauma from the pandemic, from the fight for Black lives, and from protecting the rights of our immigrant neighbors, we’ve watched our community transform and engage in social justice in a way we have never seen in Central Oregon before. Our hope is that our community works towards an equitable world through active allyship that is rooted in place and seeks our collective liberation.
We are being flooded with requests for DEI workshops, facilitated conversations, consulting services, and long range support. While this is really exciting, it also means that we have to turn many requests for work away due to our capacity. Our capacity is limited not just by the fact that most of us have full time “other” jobs, but it is also limited by the exhaustion of having identities that are directly impacted by social injustice and oppression.
The common themes we see in these requests are:
- Will someone from Allyship in Action come talk to our organization for an hour about [Black Lives Matter |allyship | DEI]?
- We would like a board or staff training on DEI.
- How do we diversify our organization/board/staff?
- How do we create an inclusive workplace?
- We aren’t sure what we need or want but know we need to do something!
While we all have different approaches to this work, the folks who work with Allyship in Action share the same foundational approach of rooting our services in an iterative process of personal self reflection and transformational change.
That means folks start their journey by understanding their own identity and how that impacts the way they experience and interact with the world. Then, it is an ongoing process of learning about systems of oppression and how our actions either reinforce or dismantle those systems. It is essential for our community to acknowledge our history, understand how that manifests itself in the present, and move forward with the goal of liberating those who have been — and continue to be — oppressed. It is a long arduous process to dismantle systems of oppression, which requires sharing power and engaging in transformational capacity building.
We also acknowledge that we need to meet people where they are. We all come from different knowledge bases, experiences, and resources. This means creating a learning environment where it is not only okay to make mistakes, but to embrace that we are absolutely going to make mistakes, and that is okay so long as we learn from them and do better the next time.
In light of Central Oregon’s burgeoning community activism, we ask organizations and companies seeking to engage Allyship in Action’s services to do some deep thinking about what their goals are prior to reaching out and consider following resources:
- Urgently Looking for Anti-Racism Training for Your Company? Start Here. Medium.com (June 2020)
- So You’re Ready to Invest in DEI? Medium.com (July 2020)
- Don’t Do Unconscious Bias Training, Tidal Equality (July 2020)
- Transformational Capacity Building, Stanford Social Innovation Review (Fall 2020)
While we may not be able to work with every organization or company that reaches out to us, something that everyone can do is to start at the beginning and take some time to learn about the history of oppression of BIPOC, LGBTQ+ people, and people with disabilities in our own community. These timelines are an introduction to the often untold histories in our community and they are an ongoing work in progress as we learn more.
- Snapshot of the history of Black, Indigenous, and people of color, LGBTQ+ people, and people with disabilities in the United States, Oregon, and Central Oregon.
- Snapshot of the history of our Latinx and immigrant communities in the United States, Oregon, and Central Oregon.
In support of our collective liberation,
LeeAnn, Erin, and Kerani
Allyship in Action