To acquire wisdom, one must observe

Inclusivity to be theme of allies training

The Brandeis Allies Training Program was established in order to train people to be allies to the LGBT community. To be a part of this group of Brandeis allies, one must participate in the program and sign the Allies Pledge. Operated through the Intercultural Center (ICC), there will be two training sessions this semester, on Nov. 15 and Dec. 4.

The Brandeis Allies Training began in 2009, but throughout the years has taken on different names and forms. The training exists at almost every university in the country, and the training itself is altered based on the needs and interests of its leaders, participants and the environment it is taught in. At Brandeis, the training focuses on teaching participants what it means to be an ally in addition to discussing various ways to support members of the LGBT community and make Brandeis’ campus safe from prejudices.

It is a three-hour long session consisting of both an interactive component and a presentation both presented in a way that makes people interested and eager to learn more about sexuality and gender diversity. Felix Tunador, the program coordinator for sexuality and gender diversity at the ICC, said that goal of the program is to “create a visible allied community,” and “provide resources and support for Brandeis LGBTQIA+ students, staff and faculty, and to encourage the Brandeis community to learn and grow with the receipt of this knowledge.”

This program is relevant in today’s world because the plight of the LGBT community is often overlooked, according to Tunador. With the help of mainstream media, he explained people are becoming aware of these struggles and that this group of people exists, so he believes the Allies Program will serve as a way to learn more.

With the large number of LGBT students, faculty and staff at Brandeis, Tunador said it is important for all members of the Brandeis community to be well informed and inclusive of everyone they meet. The benefits of the Allies Training, according to Tunador, “will be felt by everyone on campus.” The first benefit he noted is that the LGBT community and their experiences will be both accepted and validated by the rest of the campus. Additionally, because of Brandeis’ overall emphasis on social justice, the Allies Program will be putting social justice into action, he explained. By participating in this program, attendees will realize that that the Brandeis community is interconnected will be able to grow and expand our way of thinking about the world, Tunador said.

To illustrate that point, Tunador quoted Audre Lorde, who wrote, “I cannot afford to believe that freedom from intolerance is the right of only one particular group. And I cannot afford to choose between the fronts upon which I must battle these forces of discrimination, wherever they appear to destroy me. And when they appear to destroy me, it will not be long before they appear to destroy you.”

Tunador hopes that people and their friends will begin talking about this program and the positive experiences they had while participating in it. He hopes that this will allow the program to thrive and remain a positive source of knowledge and inclusion on campus while also being able change and keep up with the ever-evolving world.

“Nothing in this world is static, and for this program to be successful, it needs to change and be updated as often as necessary,” Tunador said.
Allies Training sessions will be located in the ICC. Prior registration is required but the program is free and open to the entire Brandeis community.

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