Summer 2020. What a time, what a place. The only reason to be outdoors in the height of a pandemic was to fight against a broken correctional and policing system that’s cost too many lives to date. The street protests in Long Beach got extinguished quickly once the national guard flooded the area, leaving us to keep the momentum going online. Around this time my friend Sarah Akawa reached out to me about the potential to teach an online workshop for the Dane County Arts Commission in Wisconsin. As someone who’s been in protest circles and anti-racist movements since a teenager, I felt compelled to use the opportunity to galvanize folks that were sitting on the fence about whether to get involved or not. So I put together a workshop based on active allyship.
One of the biggest lessons of active allyship is that it’s a verb, not a destination. You’re bound to make mistakes and hurt people along the way. Because of that, I felt like the most honest and meaningful approach I could take to this workshop was to root it chronologically in my own experiences as an ally-in-training. Thankfully we were all trapped at home, so I took the time to comb through 10+ years of experiences, warts and all, into something that I hope provided some tools for other folks looking to get more involved. I then took my earnings and donated it to REDE Nami, an organization in Rio de Janeiro that provides art workshops and social services for young Black Femmes in the favelas of Rio.