Who We Are
Allies for Change is a network of anti-oppression educators who share a passion for social justice and a commitment to creating and sustaining life-giving ally relationships and communities. Resisting a hierarchy of oppressions and working as allies across difference, we seek to create new patterns of relating and transform unjust structures.
Allies for Change was founded by Melanie S. Morrison, who serves as Executive Director. Melanie’s organizing vision was to gather a diverse network of ally trainers committed to the life-long work of understanding where they stand in relation to privilege and oppression and to building authentic relationships across difference. Born of the conviction that personal and institutional change are inseparable, Allies for Change provides innovative programs that seek to address the whole person – body, mind, and spirit.
Action and reflection form the heart of every Allies for Change program with the goal of equipping participants to become effective, knowledgeable, and compassionate agents of structural change in their local communities. We invite participants to engage in rigorous social and historical analysis and to practice strategies for interrupting oppression. Recognizing that we need spiritual resources to sustain this work, Allies for Change programs utilize a creative array of teaching models and media. Through storytelling, music, meditation, laughter and deep listening, we seek to cultivate a loving and truth-telling community that allows us to explore the complexities of our own experience and open our hearts to others.
OUR BELIEFS AND PRINCIPLES
We can become as passionate about dismantling the systems from which we benefit as we are about eradicating the systems that oppress us.
The interior journey into silence, meditation, inner wisdom, and deep joy is inextricably linked to the outer work of social change.
Understanding where we stand in relation to systems of privilege and oppression, and unlearning the habits and practices that protect those systems, is life-long work for all of us, without exception.
Authentic relationships of solidarity and mutuality are not possible when we try to avoid or transcend power imbalances. Authentic relationships are possible only when those imbalances are honestly acknowledged and confronted.
Systems of oppression and privilege – such as racism, sexism, heterosexism, ableism, and classism – are interconnected. Although we may ask participants at a particular Allies for Change program to focus for a time on one system, this will never be done at the expense of acknowledging and addressing the interconnections with other systems.
Truth-telling, confrontation, and anger can be paired with compassion, humility, and forgiveness.
Because we are all in process, Allies for Change trainers are seekers and learners every bit as much as are Allies for Change participants.
Authentic and mutually life-giving relationships “do not spring ablaze of themselves” (Adrienne Rich). Such relationships need to be nurtured by a commitment to truth-telling, right-relationship, humility, deep listening, accountability, justice, and love.
Allies are not solo acts; their social change work is always rooted in collaboration, humility, and accountability.