ALLY Week Offers Hope, Tolerance, Education

Brittany Lovette, Reporter

ALLY members the group’s annual ALLY week April 15 to 19 to help educate students about the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, and questioning [LGBTQ] community, and address bullying and gender equality issues.

Ally week included seven different events to meet each member’s goal to “end oppression/discrimination of the LGBT population in his/her personal and professional life through support of and as an advocate with and for the LGBT population,” according to the Ally page on the university website.

“So ALLY week is a week that ALLY puts on to kind of bring awareness to LGBT issues in the United States and to bring awareness to some of the injustices that are happening [that impact] human dignity and the experiences of the community,” said Maria Cabrera, Multicultural Outreach Coordinator.

On Monday, ALLY created a tree of life in Banks Student Life Center to represent the diversity on campus and hosted the film “The Kids are All Right” with the Library Club and held a discussion on family dynamics. A coffee and conversation night took place Tuesday during which students heard personal stories about coming out.

Cosponsored with MU/ME, ALLY hosted a Truth Talks event in which gender equality in the workplace was discussed.

“We’re going to be talking about some of the legal and the work environment aspects of the workplace in the United States,” said Cabrera. “Some of it is going to the be the gender misrepresentations and also some of the injustices that kind of still happen today not only with females but also the LGBTQ community as well.”

On Tuesday , students watched the documentary “Youth out Loud,” which addressed LGBTQ issues and bullying in schools. Cabrera said the film focuses on the experiences of high school students from the LGBTQ community.

On Friday, ALLY hosted a day of silence to remember those who have been silenced due to bullying.  Hilary Hoover, ALLY student coordinator, said students participated in a silent lunch, which was followed by a breaking of the silence in Rosen Plaza. Later that evening, there was a peace vigil in the Wells Fargo Amphitheater for a memorial and reflection on those who have been silenced by bullying.

“ALLY week is just basically to showcase that there are still things happening in the U.S. that aren’t completely fair, if you say, as an institution that wants to be fair and has those charisms,” said Cabrera. “We respect human dignity, so I believe that regardless of the status we still have to respect humans in general and give them the quality of life they deserve.”

Another goal of ALLY week is to spread the visibility of ALLY on campus to get more students involved with the program.

“I think that most of us are trying to be part of a movement that maybe is more inclusive for them. So I think it’s slowly moving toward the positive place,” said Cabrera. “I don’t know how the reaction of the student population is going be up to this point. I’m thinking positive things for the club.”

Hoover said she wants to use ALLY week to create a safe space for people of the LGBTQ community.

“I think it’s just a fundamental human right that we all have the same rights and that you treat everyone with the same dignity and respect that they deserve,” said Hoover. “I think it is important to have ALLY on Misericordia’s campus because there are definitely those who adamantly do not believe in such a safe space environment for everyone.  So I want to make sure that someone can come here and feel safe.”

Cabrera said the university is Catholic, but it’s also institution that provides education.

“It is our duty to educate people about a group of people that they might work with in the future and to understand that these are the issues that are happening in the United States, whether you stand in for that lifestyle or you don’t, but you still have to be kind of conscious about what is going on in the world around you,” said Cabrera. “So we have to be very careful about the things that we do because we as an institution do not promote a certain group, but we do believe that education is a priority.”

 

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Facts

  • GLBT (gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered) persons are a part of every occupation, geographic region, economic class, ethnic group, race, religion, age and lifestyle.
  • A person’s sexual orientation can not be caught or taught.
  • A person’s sexual orientation is not a choice.
  • Homosexuality is not a mental or emotional disorder.
  • At least 10% of the general population are gay and lesbian; perhaps as many as 40% of the population have had gay, lesbian, or bisexual experiences.

From the ALLY page on Misericordia.edu

http://www.misericordia.edu/misericordia_pg.cfm?page_id=733&subcat_id=128