Ally Skills Workshop Train-the-trainers January 8 & 12 2018

A collage of people's faces of many different ages, genders, and races, painted on walls in rainbow colors.

Do you want to teach people how to use their power and influence to support people of color, women of all races, LGBTQ+ folks, and members of other marginalized groups? Then the Ally Skills Workshop Train-the-trainers is for you! In this five hour class, you will learn to lead (or co-lead) the Ally Skills Workshop, which teaches people ally skills – tips and techniques for using their advantages to fight inequality and oppression with simple, everyday actions.

The session was fun, welcoming, and intuitive. The experience of the trainer and depth of information provided in the materials gave me confidence that I could, with practice, also offer this training. — Amy Sawyer

Register here:

Monday, January 8, 12:00pm – 6:00pm, via online video (Pacific Standard Time -0800 UTC)

Friday, January 12, 6:00am – 12:00pm, via online video (Pacific Standard Time -0800 UTC)

This is an online event using the Zoom.us video conferencing software. We will break for one hour about halfway through, with additional short breaks throughout.

Tickets are priced on a sliding scale. You can request a free ticket or ask questions about which ticket price is right for you by emailing contact@frameshiftconsulting.com.

If this date does not work for you, please add your name and information to the train-the-trainers expression of interest list.

More about the Ally Skills Workshop

The Ally Skills Workshop is an intensive 3 hour-long discussion oriented workshop. The workshop leader (or co-leaders) begin with a 30 minute introduction that teaches people the basics about ally skills and how to have inclusive, respectful, productive discussions. Then the participants split up into groups of 4-6 people to discuss specific real-world scenarios in which an ally could take action. After a 4-7 minute group discussion, each group reports out what they discussed and what questions they have. The leader guides this discussion, answers questions, and suggests more ideas.

Facilitating this workshop is easiest for people comfortable with speaking extemporaneously in public, feeling and expressing compassion for people with different experiences than their own, and kindly but firmly disagreeing with people in front of others. Having significant experience as a member of a marginalized group is recommended but not required, especially if you are co-facilitating with another person who does have this experience. You can learn more about the workshop here, including the workshop slides and the full facilitator’s guide.

[The train-the-trainers] was intimate and hands-on. I got to practice the skills I’d need to teach while benefitting from Valerie’s and others’ experience with presenting. I also made connections that I hope may mature into opportunities for collaboration in the future. — Dr. Sheila Addison

A collage of people's faces of many different ages, genders, and races, painted on walls in rainbow colors.
CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 Ade Bradshaw on Flickr, composition by Frame Shift Consulting. Commercial use by permission.

The Intolerable Speech Rule: the Paradox of Tolerance for tech companies

A woman dressed in 19th century European black clothing sits in a defiant pose with a sword across her lap. Letters at the top say in Latin
Use the sword on behalf of justice only

On Monday, I’ll be giving a talk at Airbnb about the Paradox of Tolerance and how tech companies can use it to decide whether or not to allow white supremacists to use their products. Here’s the TL;DW version:

The Paradox of Tolerance says that a tolerant society should be intolerant of one thing: intolerance itself. This is because if a tolerant society allows intolerance to take over, it will destroy the tolerant society and there will be no tolerance left anywhere. What this means for tech companies is that they should not support intolerant speech when it endangers the existence of tolerant society itself.

I propose the following rule for tech companies to use in deciding which content to host or clients to support.

The Intolerable Speech Rule

If the content or the client is:

  1. Advocating for the removal of human rights
  2. From people based on an aspect of their identity
  3. In the context of systemic oppression primarily harming that group
  4. In a way that overall increases the danger to that group

Then don’t allow them to use your products.

This isn’t the only rule you should use – you should use this rule in addition to all your existing rules against spam, fraud, illegal activity, etc. Implementation is key. Be proactive in seeking out violations, have a diverse empowered decision making team, and collaborate with outside experts.

Learn more:

Slides (Google Slides) (PDF) (PPTX)

Video [FORTHCOMING]

Examples of tech companies implementing the Paradox of Tolerance

Tech company terms of service relating to the Paradox of Tolerance

Article on the Paradox of Tolerance as it applies to white supremacists in the U.S.

Wikipedia entry for the Paradox of Tolerance

Talk on legal talismans (misuse of “free speech” and similar legal terms) by Kendra Albert (transcript)

How to organize tech workers to change company policy by Liz Fong-Jones

Policy and code of conduct consulting from ReadySet and Y-Vonne Hutchinson

Freeze peach comic by Naoise Dolan

Freeze peach pendant by Gretchen Koch

Freeze peach graphic by Stephanie Zvan

Ally Skills Workshop Train-the-trainers June 17, 2017

A collage of people's faces of many different ages, genders, and races, painted on walls in rainbow colors.

Do you want to teach people how to use their power and influence to support people of color, women of all races, LGBTQ+ folks, and members of other marginalized groups? Then the Ally Skills Workshop Train-the-trainers is for you! In this all-day class on June 17, you will learn to lead (or co-lead) the Ally Skills Workshop, which teaches people ally skills – tips and techniques for using their advantages to fight inequality and oppression with simple, everyday actions.

The session was fun, welcoming, and intuitive. The experience of the trainer and depth of information provided in the materials gave me confidence that I could, with practice, also offer this training. — Amy Sawyer

Register here: Saturday, June 17, 1:00pm – 7:00pm, via online video (Pacific Daylight Time)

This is an online event using the Zoom.us video conferencing software. We will break for one hour about halfway through, with additional short breaks throughout.

Tickets are priced on a sliding scale. You can request a free ticket or ask questions about which ticket price is right for you by emailing contact@frameshiftconsulting.com.

If this date does not work for you, please add your name and information to the train-the-trainers expression of interest list.

More about the Ally Skills Workshop

The Ally Skills Workshop is an intensive 3 hour-long discussion oriented workshop. The workshop leader (or co-leaders) begin with a 30 minute introduction that teaches people the basics about ally skills and how to have inclusive, respectful, productive discussions. Then the participants split up into groups of 4-6 people to discuss specific real-world scenarios in which an ally could take action. After a 3-5 minute group discussion, each group reports out what they discussed and what questions they have. The leader guides this discussion, answers questions, and suggests more ideas.

Facilitating this workshop is easiest for people comfortable with speaking extemporaneously in public, feeling and expressing compassion for people with different experiences than their own, and kindly but firmly disagreeing with people in front of others. Having significant experience as a member of a marginalized group is recommended but not required, especially if you are co-facilitating with another person who does have this experience. You can learn more about the workshop here, including the workshop slides and the full facilitator’s guide.

[The train-the-trainers] was intimate and hands-on. I got to practice the skills I’d need to teach while benefitting from Valerie’s and others’ experience with presenting. I also made connections that I hope may mature into opportunities for collaboration in the future. — Dr. Sheila Addison

A collage of people's faces of many different ages, genders, and races, painted on walls in rainbow colors.
CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 Ade Bradshaw on Flickr, composition by Frame Shift Consulting. Commercial use by permission.

How to organize tech workers to change company policy

Tech workers are uniquely positioned to fight for equality and justice in the United States and around the world. Because tech workers are critical to many business’s operations, and there are more tech jobs than tech workers to feel them, management is often eager to listen to and make changes at the request of the tech workers they employ. However, often there is no simple or easy way for tech workers to communicate with their management as a group.

Liz Fong-Jones is a tech worker and activist with 7 years of experience organizing her fellow tech workers to change company policies at the highest levels. In this video, she shares what she has learned about how tech workers can effectively organize themselves to clearly communicate their values and needs to management. Organizing and acting as a group is an important ally skill worth learning!

Human-edited English captions are available for the entire talk, as are extensive notes from a previous version of the talk given at a meeting of Tech Solidarity (@techsolidarity).

Updated 12 February 2017: This talk is now available in tweet form.

Thank you, Liz, for sharing this valuable experience and knowledge with us!

New: post-election Ally Skills Workshop by Kendra Albert

Looking for ally skills training to help you stand up to hateful opinions and actions in the wake of the 2016 U.S. election? Internet researcher, Harvard Law graduate, and activist Kendra Albert created a version of the Ally Skills Workshop that does exactly this. From their web page describing the workshop:

The post-election ally skills workshop teaches three different intervention styles with different goals. Participants practice basic ally responses, which aim primarily to set norms about acceptable behavior; bystander intervention strategies, which aim to intervene to assist targets of harassment directly; and strategies for talking to defensive people about hard topics, which aim to change minds.

This workshop draws on the techniques from this recent Frame Shift guest post on the Captain Awkward blog about when and how to talk to people who support Trump. Thank you to the San Francisco feminist makerspace Double Union for hosting this workshop (membership applications currently open).

How to get the post-election Ally Skills Workshop

You can ask Kendra to come teach the workshop for your organization (San Francisco Bay Area and Boston preferred). You can also teach the workshop yourself by downloading the freely reusable slides linked to on this page. If you want formal training on teaching an Ally Skills Workshop, Frame Shift Consulting is offering a train-the-trainers for the workshop in January, one in-person in the San Francisco Bay Area and one online, and registration is open now. Frame Shift Consulting can also teach the workshop or recommend other workshop facilitators.

About the workshop creator

Kendra Albert currently works at the legal firm Zeitgeist Law with Marcia Hofmann, and was a research associate at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society for two years. They also teach a trans-focused Ally Skills Workshop and are the founder of the Trans Documentation Funding Project which helps trans people get correct passports.

Kendra Albert teaching the workshop at Double Union

Ally Skills Workshop Train-the-trainers in January 2017

Do you want to teach people how to use their power and influence to support people of color, women of all races, LGBTQ+ folks, and members of other marginalized groups? Then the Ally Skills Workshop Train-the-trainers is for you! In this all-day class, you will learn to lead (or co-lead) the Ally Skills Workshop, which teaches people ally skills – tips and techniques for using their advantages to fight inequality and oppression with simple, everyday actions.

Two train-the-trainers options are available, one in person and one online. Click on the links below to register:

Space is extremely limited – sign up now to reserve your place! Each train-the-trainers is priced on a sliding scale according to ability to pay. If neither of these dates works for you, please add your name and information to the train-the-trainers expression of interest list.

More about the Ally Skills Workshop

The Ally Skills Workshop is an intensive 3 hour-long discussion oriented workshop. The workshop leader (or co-leaders) begin with a 30 minute introduction that teaches people the basics about ally skills and how to have inclusive, respectful, productive discussions. Then the participants split up into groups of 4-6 people to discuss specific real-world scenarios in which an ally could take action. After a 3-5 minute group discussion, each group reports out what they discussed and what questions they have. The leader guides this discussion, answers questions, and suggests more ideas.

Facilitating this workshop is easiest for people comfortable with speaking extemporaneously in public, feeling and expressing compassion for people with different experiences than their own, and kindly but firmly disagreeing with people in front of others. Having significant experience as a member of a marginalized group is recommended but not required, especially if you are co-facilitating with another person who does have this experience. You can learn more about the workshop here, including the workshop slides and the full facilitator’s guide.

A post-election guide to changing hearts and minds

Please take a moment to read the guide we wrote about standing up for your values firmly, compassionately, and persuasively, whether you are speaking to family, friends, or colleagues:

A post-election guide to changing hearts and minds

On November 8th, the cost of allowing everyday acts of cruelty and oppression to go unchallenged became clear with the election of Donald Trump to the presidency of the United States. Ally skills are now a crucial part of the fight to prevent a massive expansion of state-sponsored oppression around the world, and the rolling back of 50 years of progress in the U.S. towards equality and justice for people of color, women of all races, religious minorities, disabled people, LBTQ+ folks, and many others.

If you can act as an ally, part of the work ahead is to take every opportunity you have to influence and persuade the people who respect and trust you the most. We hope this guide will help you recognize and take advantage of opportunities to change the hearts and minds of people who currently support oppression of any kind.