Queen’s Student Diversity Project creates safe space to learn about allyship

Allyship in Academics event to look at how to be an ally and practice anti-oppression on campus

The event will open with a panel discussion.

Queen’s Student Diversity Project (QSDP) is hoping to teach students and community members how to be an ally and practice anti-racism in academic settings at its Allyship in Academics event.

According to Fatoumata Tounkara, co-president of QSDP, the event was initially created for high school students after they’d educated themselves on BLM and systematic oppressions faced by the Black community.  

“From this movement, we realized that in order to be an ally to the Black community, we had to extend our mission beyond increasing and promoting diversity on Queen's campus,” Tounkara wrote in a statement to The Journal.

The event was then planned and organized for Queen’s campus by the QSDP external team, including Gursharan Deogan, Yara Hussein, Ayden Adeyanju-Jackson, Alianna Kanji-Lalani, and Solyana Geldu.

Tounkara explained that the event will be split up into three sections. 

The first will be a panel of individuals who are experts on the subjects of anti-oppression and ally-ship, including Vanessa Yzaguirre, equity advisor at the Humans Rights and Equity Office, Dr. Scott Morgensen, associate professor in the Department of Gender Studies, Dr. Anita Jack-Davies, research advisor in the Diversity and Inclusion Office, and Omar Baboolal, a representative from the Smith Black Business Association. 

“Panelists will discuss topics such as micro-aggressions, privilege, intersectionality, westernized academia, and overall, how to be an ally and actively practice anti-oppression on campus,” Tounkara wrote. 

The next part of the event will have attendees separate into breakout rooms and participate in scenarios where they can apply what they’ve learned. 

The event will conclude with a question and answer period for attendees to have the opportunity to reflect and ask follow-up questions about the content.

“Through this event, we hope that the attendees will learn how to be an ally,” Tounkara wrote. 

According to Tounkara, being an ally includes figuring out how to call people into a discussion rather than call them out when they witness micro-aggressions, as well as recognizing and addressing subconscious actions that perpetuate oppression.

“I would like to emphasize that this event is a safe space created for students to feel comfortable to make mistakes in order to learn how to be an ally,” she wrote. 

The event will take place on Sept. 19 through Zoom. Interested attendees can sign up through the QSDP Instagram page.

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