In early June, DASIG identified Ally training for UT Libraries staff as a priority for the summer semester, as support for the Libraries’ commitment to inclusivity and diversity. The Orlando shooting on June 12 spurred us to provide the training as soon as possible, as a means of positive action in the wake of profound tragedy and to help raise our visibility as Allies on campus. Melanie Cofield and Jessica Trelogan volunteered to coordinate, and the Education Team at UT-Austin’s Gender and Sexuality Center provided the on-site Allies in Action training for our staff on July 11th, 13th, and 21st. Each of the sessions in the two-part series was well-attended, and we had almost 40 people complete the full program.
The interactive sessions included group activities and ample opportunities to practice using language to create more welcoming and inclusive spaces in our daily lives and workplaces. On completion of both parts, participants received an Ally Card to display at work and were added to the Allies in Action network, a diverse community of staff, faculty, and students committed to learning and advocating for affirmation of LGBTQA+ people. Our new Allies in Action members were also able to opt in to being listed on the Allies in Action directory. As a result, UT Libraries’ listing jumped from one to 35!
Feedback from participants has been overwhelmingly positive, and we continue to hear requests for another round of offerings from people who were unable to attend.