I’m proud to be a supporter of Ally Week, which is being celebrated around the country this week (October 13-17) at the initiative of the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, a national group whose mission is to ensure that every member of every school community is valued and respected, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
Ally Week is intended to encourage discussion about how everyone, on and off campus, can become better allies for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) youth. It’s also an opportunity to celebrate LGBT allies, indeed, all those who practice compassion and seek acceptance for all across the vast spectrum of humankind.
On the WesternU-Pomona campus, the student organization Lambda & Friends has two Ally Week events scheduled from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. today on the Esplanade. The first, being done in conjunction with East Valley Community Health Center, is free HIV and STI (sexually transmitted infection) testing for WesternU students, faculty, and staff. The testing will be done in front of the Health Education Center. At the same time, officers from Lambda & Friends will be nearby, taking photos of students, faculty, and staff celebrating those who are allies for LGBT youth, and those who love them. It’s also a chance to meet the Lambda & Friends officers and find out more about the group’s activities, including a 2015 LGBT Student Symposium that WesternU will be co-hosting with UCLA and USC.
Humanism, compassion, and caring make no distinctions about sexual identity or gender orientation, yet ignorant — and fundamentally unfair and dehumanizing — treatment of those in the LGBT community persists to this day. Much progress has been made, but much more work needs to be done for us to realize the civilized, sane, and categorically humane world every one of us deserves. Ally Week and related events are important steps on that journey. I urge you all to take part.
As always, I welcome your feedback on this topic and any others as we discuss WesternU’s Benchmarks of Value, and our plans. Please e-mail me with your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org, and feel free to share this message with your family and friends.
All the best,