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Ally Advent Calendar 2016

Ally Advent Calendar 2016

Crowdsourced by you. Compiled by Cassandra Voss Center, St. Norbert College 

Full Printable PDF: CLICK

This calendar was crowdsourced as a response to a need. People asked: What can we do RIGHT NOW to be an ally to those marginalized, fearful, oppressed? And what can we do to teach love and acceptance to those who aren’t there yet? This calendar is a joyful launching point, a place to start. We all know of resources and actions beyond this list, which is not comprehensive. This is a living, breathing document created by you. Visit facebook.com/snc.cvc to add additional calendar resources in the comments.

A note on naming: This is called an “Ally Advent Calendar” because the Cassandra Voss Center is at St. Norbert College, a Catholic college, where Advent is important and “expectant waiting” is not passive but active. Please use this calendar as it is useful to you, whatever your belief system.

DEC 1//LISTEN & LEARN Active allyship starts with doing the work to listen & learn about histories, experiences, and identities that are unfamiliar to you. View “organizations” list below to start learning.

DEC 2//START WHERE YOU ARE Jot down an inventory: Where are your natural affinities and skills/gifts? What organizations/people are already doing social justice work in your community that you could support further through participation, volunteers, money? Do you feel called to causes that exist? Don’t replicate work that is happening; support what’s already going on and bring others along.

DEC 3//WRITE A REP Write your representative – local, state, or national – to express concerns, suggestions, and opinions on social justice legislative causes. Ex) Immigration, environment, health care reform, LGBTQ support, women’s rights. Find reps: http://act.commoncause.org/site/PageServer?pagename=sunlight_advocacy_list_page

DEC 4//#BLM SYLLABUS Read, watch, and share a leading compilation of sources by activist, writer, and New York University professor Frank Leon Roberts in his course unraveling one of the most important social movements of our time, #blacklivesmatter.www.blacklivesmattersyllabus.com/fall2016/

DEC 5//CHILDREN OFFER HOPE Have an age-appropriate conversation with the children in your life (nieces, nephews, grandkids, neighbors, your own!) about being not just kind to everyone – especially those who seem “different”– but deeply inclusive. Talk about how you and they can connect with those who others ostracize (like bullies, the differently-abled, the new kid in class, etc).

DEC 6//HOTLINE RING Save a number or two of local services for vulnerable groups in your phone. Have that info ready at all times, if called upon to serve someone in need, like an assault hotline or free legal counsel.

DEC 7//VOLUNTEER Make a list of your free hours in a week, and add volunteer time to your calendar. Look around your town and in your community: What organizations need some dedicated help, however small. Any volunteer task saves the professional staff time to do more good work for their community.

DEC 8//TAKE THE PLEDGE Take the “Speak Up for Civility” Pledge from Teaching for Tolerance. Share and ask friends to sign with you. www.tolerance.org/civility

DEC 9//SHOW UP “Adopt a program” by finding a workshop or social-justice program on something you know nothing about or have never experienced, like undocumented work, biracial identity, LGBTQ voices, and go in person. Find an area business, school, community center or non-profit offering ally trainings and workshops. Bring a friend (or two) along. In-person attendance – actual bodies in chairs – justifies program existence for planners.

DEC 10 //BE MINDFUL Mindfulness meditations help to develop empathy, focus, and inner-resolve while reducing stress levels, so you can stay healthy to do justice for the long haul. Meditate with compassion on those with whom you most struggle; what do you understand anew afterwards? Try www.headspace.com.

DEC 11//PHONE-A-THON Get trained at your nearest phone bank and spend an hour making calls on behalf of a cause you believe in. Calls force people to stop and take notice in the offices receiving them.

DEC 12//SURVEY ACTIVISM Fill out Stay Woke’s anti-violence survey to find out how you can get involved with policy solutions to end systematic police violence in your community. staywoke.typeform.com/to/yernqh

DEC 13//LESSON PLAN Share or teach a lesson plan on racial justice, gender inclusion, immigration and/or disability with K-12 students. Consider additions to your own lessons. www.tolerance.org/classroom-resources

DEC 14//BOOK IT Work with your library or start a small book group to do a community read on a book about inclusion and justice, and invite new faces.

DEC 15//SPEAK UP Brainstorm a go-to line to intervene when you hear offensive or inappropriate jokes or microaggressions used in your proximity, and actually practice it with a friend.

DEC 16//START A PETITION Sign or start your own online petition to have causes heard. www.care2.com

DEC 17//MONEY TALKS Research and donate what you can to the hundreds of social-justice oriented non-profits who operate largely from private donations. Donate in your own community with organizations you can follow, nurture, support, and build relationships with. View “organizations” list below to start.

DEC 18//BE INFORMED Tune in to accredited, fact-driven news sources that you might not usually follow. Consider news sources that may differ from your belief system. Pew Research study on trusted sources: www.businessinsider.com/here-are-the-most-and-least-trusted-news-outlets-in-america-2014-10

DEC 19//AMPLIFY VOICES Like, share, follow, and retweet underrepresented and marginalized voices, writers, thinkers, and activists, as well as follow social media pages specifically written and edited by black, brown, and indigenous people focusing on intersectional justice.

DEC 20//SIT WITH SOMEONE NEW Whether in the school cafeteria or the corner bus stop, sit and talk with strangers you wouldn’t normally be with.  

DEC 21//ATTEND LOCAL MEETINGS Town, city, and county board meetings happen regularly and are open to the public. For instance, check out listings for Brown County and De Pere.    www.co.brown.wi.us/county_board_calendar/ www.de-pere.org/department/board.php?structureid=45

DEC 22//KNOCK ON DOORS Volunteer to canvas in upcoming elections.  

DEC 23//MESSAGE YOUR SUPPORT Like, share, comment, and rate social-justice media. Text or message a friend, colleague or acquaintance directly affected by the election. Offer empathy, offer to listen, offer to learn. Start a blog to reach immediate circles, pitch an op-ed, or write a letter to the editor for a publication airing community concerns, calling for action and pointing to diverse leaders in the community.

DEC 24//MEDIA LITERACY Be aware and critical of the media you consume. For example, read up on the difference between racial unity and racial equity.


DEC 25//INTERFAITH DIALOGUE Explore the connections across religions in inspiring texts like Thich Nhat Hahn's Living Buddha, Living Christ, Paul Knitter's Without Buddha, I Could Not Be A Christian, or John Kaltner's Ishmael Instructs Isaac.

DEC 26//DISPLAY JUSTICE Hang signs in your window, on your lawn, or in your workspace that indicate your support for social-justice causes, such as a Black Lives Matter sign or a LGBTQ Safe Zone plaque.

DEC 27//EMPATHIZE Initiate a conversation today with someone whose views are different from your own. Be patient; actively and empathetically listen without interruption or accusations. For example, look people of color in the eye and smile when walking down the street to make it clear you acknowledge and connect with them, suggests social justice writer, Dr. bell hooks. www.bellhooksinstitute.com

DEC 28//INTERVENE Speak up and/or record when you observe any form of intimidation, harassment, or violence against a marginalized individual. This helps orgs make a case for funding. www.splcenter.org/reporthate

DEC 29//SEND A PRAYER Ask your religious leaders to read prayers for justice during your service. Say the prayer with your family or friends at meals, work to make the prayer a reality. www.ucc.org/justice_ejcp_ef_prayers

DEC 30//FORM A GROUP Invite and meet regularly with friends to discuss issues that matter to you, holding each other accountable and raising consciousness. Do all ally actions above, but this time, together!

DEC 31//GIVE THANKS Write letters, online reviews, and comments (either public or direct message) expressing gratitude and support for individuals and orgs doing justice work. It boosts the people and also can be used as testimonial to ask for more resources.

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