In the fall, many Gay-Straight Alliances and similar clubs organize “Ally Week”, which encourages students and staff to learn new skills and take a pledge to be better allies to LGBTQ people. In November of 2013, the GSA at Black Hawk Middle School in Madison organized a school-wide Ally Week. More than 30 members of the GSA met throughout the month of October to plan Ally Week, which turned out to be a big success.
In only two days, more than 200 students at the middle school signed a pledge to be allies and step in when they hear anti-LGBT language being used (and to not use it themselves!) Homeroom teachers planned and implemented classroom activities to help students think about what it means to be an ally. Many staff and students participated in “Ally Week’s Spirit Days with a Purpose.” Inspired by this article from Teaching Tolerance Magazine, the GSA decided to go above the typical Spirit Days:
- Monday will be pajama day- Get comfy and put bullying to rest!
- Tuesday is hat day- Don’t forget to tip your hat to allies!
- Wednesday is neon day- Wear bright clothes to bring light to even the darkest times.
- On Thursday show your spirit with team spirt day- Power comes in numbers, so show your unity!
- Finally, Friday is rainbow day- Find the courage to show your true colors! Hope to see everyone showing their spirit and having some fun!!
The club’s advisor, Sherie Hohs, had this to say about the event: “We have become a much more inclusive school, thanks to the leadership of the GSA. With a school-wide focus on the power of Allies and meaningful discussions throughout the week, students and staff learned how to stand up to bias and encouraged each other to be Allies. They continue to push boundaries as agents of social justice and LGBTQ+ equality at Black Hawk.”
If you would like to see more photos from Black Hawk’s Ally Week, you can “like” their Facebook page here.
Congratulations to the Black Hawk GSA on a great event, and thanks for being our first Middle School GSA Spotlight!