Over the last few years, when we talk about supporting a marginalized group, we call that support person an Ally. This is a person who advocates for the human rights of marginalized and vulnerable people by challenging discrimination and stereotypes. A few things to note:
- You do not get to call yourself an ally. You will be called in by the marginalized group.
- There is a difference between being an ally and being an accomplice. Check out this blog post for more.
- We all have a responsibility to be and become allies to equity-denied groups.
Often times we can get caught in the weeds with regard to definitions and what we should or should not do or should or should not say. Essentially, what we want to do is constantly and intentionally shift the way we think and the way we behave. This journey has no arrival point. We will constantly be growing, learning, reflecting, and relearning. That’s the beauty of this work.
I like to use acronyms to support learning. Together, let’s learn to be a K.I.N.G.S. ally. This means you will seek and be the following:
K – Knowledge – Learn your history and be mindful of where it’s coming from. My father is an educator and he told me once – “Jenny, history is written by the winners. Question everything.” King’s is one of the greatest Liberal Arts educational institutions in the country. We want you to question, critique, and learn. This will aid in history not repeating itself.
I – Inclusive – It’s not enough to say “I welcome everyone” – those are merely words. Ask yourself these questions: Do I spend time learning about other people’s experiences? What does my living/working space look like? Do I intentionally seek out voices that are not being heard? Am I curious about people that are not like me? Do I challenge stereotypes? Being inclusive is engaging in action – not just saying words. If you answer no to any of these questions – DO something about it.
N – Non-judgemental – Be mindful of your journey by intentionally reflecting on your own biases and discriminatory attitudes. Don’t judge yourself harshly when you learn things about yourself that aren’t pleasing to you. Also, don’t judge another person for where they are or are not on their journey. Live as the example. We are in this together.
G – Go deep - Be open to learning and relearning. How you understand the world can change with one event. Look at the year 2020 – COVID and the murder of George Floyd made us all pause and look at things differently. Be open to developing increased knowledge about yourself.
S – Seek support – You may think you are “woke” (a person who is very aware of social and political unfairness) but even the wokest person has a support team. Develop trusted relationships with people who are not like you and have discussions about discrimination, injustice, and racism. Do not get defensive, become aware. Listen more than you speak.
You can see a fun, educational video with regard to being an ally.
The Office of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Decolonization is here to support you along your journey. We are all here to learn together. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have further questions, want to co-develop workshops, or just want to chat.
Together we will be and become.
-- Jennifer Slay, Director of EDID
King’s demonstrated commitment to EDID
- In Fall 2021, King's established and dedicated the Reflection Circle - an inclusive space for private reflection or group gatherings. Accessible by King’s students, faculty, staff, community members, and people of all faiths and backgrounds, this space specifically supports the needs of the Indigenous community by providing an outdoor location for sacred gatherings and ceremonies.
- Fall 2021, established Indigenous Student Award with current balance: $38K endowed, $21K expendable. The first award was presented in 2021, two awards in 2022, and two or more annual awards will be presented this year and each year thereafter.
- Additional Indigenous student support offerings are available and can be found at: https://www.kings.uwo.ca/current-students/student-affairs/indigenous-students/financial-support/
- In the Fall of 2021, established the Master of Social Work Class of 2021 Black Student Award – one award at $1,000. Donations from various individual donors and members of the MSW Class of 2021 were received to support a Black student entering, or continuing, full-time or part-time study at King's in the School of Social Work.
- Fall 2021 – Diversified King's University College Alumni Association Board with the addition of an Indigenous Representative (Ian McCallum, '95) and an International Representative (Dalla Zhao '19). Ian is helping our team evaluate current offerings and create new programming and events for Indigenous alumni and current students. Dalla worked with us to create a new virtual event series for international alumni, which kicked off with an event for Chinese alumni (for those who have returned to China and those who've stayed abroad).
- Fall 2021 and Fall 2022 – Renewed CultureWorks International Student Award. One award for $1,000 is presented annually to a 2nd, 3rd, or 4th year international student who has achieved an overall average of at least 70% in their previous full-time Fall/Winter term and is in financial need.
- Fall 2022, established KPMG BIPOC Student Award – two awards at $2,500 each awarded annually. KPMG in London and The KPMG Foundation established this award to support and enable access to education for Black, Indigenous, Persons of Colour (BIPOC) students. One award will be granted to a King's student who during the Fall/Winter term is entering 1st year, and the other award will be granted to a student entering their 2nd, 3rd, or 4th year.
- In Fall 2022, established the CIBC MEM Inclusion Award – six awards at $2,100, continuing (the award will continue the following year if the minimum average is maintained and the successful recipient has shown commitment to award criteria). Also, CIBC MEM Inclusion Award recipients will get a first look at summer job opportunities and receive “white glove service” from CIBC. Therefore, there is a possibility to receive two annual awards and two summer employment opportunities if the award criteria are met and the student is selected by CIBC through their hiring process. This award was established to serve under-represented communities in their educational journey and support the next generation of leaders interested in pursuing a career in the financial industry. Preference will be given to students who identify as a member of the Black community, First Nations, Metis or Inuit, a person with a disability, a member of the LGBTQ+ community, or a person of Colour.