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.

Better comebacks for *-ist jokes: Ally Skills Workshop in NYC

Wish you had a better comeback whenever someone makes a sexist joke at work? Tired of reading racist comments on your community’s mailing list and not knowing how to respond without getting in a flame war? The first ever public Ally Skills Workshop in the New York City area is on Saturday, March 5th, from 1pm to 4pm at the Recurse Center in Manhattan (register here). In this workshop, participants spend most of the time in small discussion groups talking about real-world situations and sharing their knowledge and experience with each other.

We welcome and encourage people of all genders, races, sexualities, and ages to attend, with tickets available on a sliding scale from $25 to $150 (and free tickets for folks from the Recurse Center – DM @frameshiftllc for details). The workshop works best with a wide variety of people who can share their personal experiences as both an ally and the target of systemic oppression. Some of the scenarios we talk about include:

A woman is standing alone at an event that is mostly men. What can men do to make her feel included and welcome, without coming across as a creep?

A black person in your community is frequently criticized for being too “angry,” “aggressive,” and “abrasive” while white people who are far ruder and more aggressive are accepted. What can white people do to reverse this dynamic?

An email on your project’s mailing list starts, “Imagine you are explaining this to your girlfriend,” – and you’re pretty sure they aren’t thinking of the one out lesbian on the project. What can straight men say to stop this behavior without getting the point lost in a flame war?

Here are some things people have said about the Ally Skills Workshop:

Loved the format, it was super interactive and didn’t feel like a drag, 3 hours just flew by. — Anonymous participant

Valerie was awesome! It was interesting seeing situations many of us have encountered, and seeing hearing the right/appropriate ways to react. Being in groups and hearing peoples thoughts about the situations was cool too – there were lots of things that were brought up that I probably wouldn’t have thought of myself. — Anonymous participant

It’s kind of strange thing to say, but my favorite part about the workshop was the structure. I’ve been in a bunch of conversations and/or workshops about inclusiveness and I find that they often don’t have enough direction. – Jesse Pollak

Join us on Saturday March 5th!

Click here for a list of upcoming classes from Frame Shift Consulting.