As Black History Month comes to an end, we are featuring the testimony of a workshop participant, Kristin, and the way that the training has allowed her to grow as an ally for racial justice.
Guest Blog by Kristin Keller Daus
I first learned of Service Never Sleeps (SNS) in the Fall of 2017, while attending an Allyship workshop at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington. One of the church’s missions is a pledge to end racism, and offer opportunities to examine our areas of privilege and marginalization in order to continue our growth in social justice issues.
I have sensed in my heart, for some time, a yearning to grow myself while simultaneously delving into something that mattered. Something that would benefit others. Allyship was the answer. And SNS was and is the one that is not only educating and inspiring me, but our community and beyond, on this collective journey of shared humanity to end all social and racial injustices.
SNS’ Allyship workshop is truly transformative. It is educational. Thought provoking. In your face but gentle and respectful. Reflective. It not only makes you do the work, it INSPIRES you to work on yourself so you can continue to stand up and do what is right for others.
Participants examine their areas of privilege and, most importantly, their own implicit bias. This journey cannot start, and will not sustain, until we start getting real with ourselves. Knowing we are human. Knowing we are all inherently good but that we have faults. Knowing we can all change and move towards a world of inter-connectedness, respect, kindness and love.
Some of the most beneficial aspects of the Allyship workshop are recognizing situations in which you may be a bystander to a situation in which someone is being targeted, and learning practical tools to apply to not only provide safety to victims, but for a chance to actively practice your Allyship to make a positive impact and plant that seed that you hope will continue to grow in others.
In the past, I used to freeze in situations where someone was targeted or a racist joke was made. I felt I couldn’t make a difference. I felt I didn’t want to be involved. Silence and inaction are destructive. Silence and inaction risk lives. Silence and inaction are furthering one’s complicit tendencies. I learned how to effectively and compassionately use the Allyship workshop tools to build proximity with others that may or may not share my same views, so I can use my areas of privilege to engage in these conversations that hopefully begin to change one heart and one mind at a time toward a more socially and racially just world.
The work is hard. The work and the risk are a necessity. The work is RIGHT! It is time for those in their areas of privilege, specifically their white privilege, to: Listen. Amplify. Follow.
SNS is moving mountains of racial justice one little rock at a time. I am honored to know them, learn from them, follow them, and continue this work!
Kristin Keller Daus