The Safe Zone Ally program is a voluntary program of trained students, faculty, staff, and administrators. A person displaying the program symbol has completed an educational training to develop a greater awareness of issues affecting students of all genders and sexual identities. Safe Zone trainings and on-going learning opportunities are presented through an intersectional, racial justice framework to encourage participants to engage in conversations about the impacts of heterosexism, homophobia, transphobia, and racism.
Those who are trained have agreed to be active, visible, and supportive allies. Any individual seeking help can talk to a Safe Zone ally in a confidential and supportive environment.
We realize our community has experienced a lot of hurt, anger, and sadness from the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Sean Reed, and Nina Pop, murders that add to an unending list of Black lives lost to racism and systemic oppression. We also realize that this is Pride month, which would not exist without the Stonewall Riots, a movement led by Black, trans women who protested against police brutality. Finally, we want to be transparent about the limitations some of us have to fully understand the everyday lived-in traumatic experiences of assaults and aggressions that Black and LGBTQ+ people of color face – from law enforcement and colonized social systems that have added layer upon layer of inequity, prejudice, and oppression that literally enacts violence upon them. This is not about our pain, but about our duty to respond.
This is a time that many of us, particularly white people, have to take responsibility for demanding and creating the change that is needed to dismantle the oppressive systems that have historically, intergenerationally, and currently traumatize our Black friends and colleagues and Black people we do not know personally. This isn’t the time to create more harm by what we believe to be good intentions or to question the anger and sadness that is erupting across the country. It’s not a time for platitudes or directives like “We need to listen to each other.” Yes, of course, listening to each other is important. We practiced that together in our own Safe Zone Ally training. This IS a time to learn, educate ourselves, understand our role in supporting the structures that continually traumatize Black people, and to ACT. We can ACT in many ways:
ACT by FINANCIALLY SUPPORTING OR JOINING organizations that seek to end the racist criminal justice and corrupt prosecutorial systems in our country
ACT BY JOINING OR LOBBYING WITH entities that fight against the prison industrial complex that literally cuts shorts the lives and families of our Black and Brown brothers and sisters
ACT BY EDUCATING OURSELVES AND LEARNING strategies that end the health, educational, and economic inequities faced daily by Black Americans.
ACT BY JOINING EFFORTS TO STOP voting disenfranchisement that continues daily and primarily is focused on limiting access to people of color to have an equal voice in democracy
ACT BY VOTING, AND ENCOURAGING THOSE WE KNOW TO VOTE, to remove national, and any state or local, political leadership that is overtly racist and seeks to divide us daily, to “other” each other, and to maintain our internalized racism
Finally, this is a time for us to RESIST falling back into complacency. As part of the coordinating committee for our SF State Safe Zone Ally program, we are taking time this summer, as we always do, to develop our priorities for the next academic year (AY). We recently met to determine our first priority and main focus for AY 2020-2021, which will be Queer Allyship and Racial Justice. Our focus will be on how we can ACT and prioritize our allyship and ally program to focus on support for systemic change regarding racial and ethnic inequity, as well as violence and trauma that affects our SF State community. This will include more intentional partnerships and trainings that:
- Create safe spaces and integrated support for Black students, staff, and faculty
- Work to dismantle white privilege
- Educate the campus community on combating implicit bias
- Advocate and facilitate action by the University Police Department and campus administration
We welcome any and all suggestions and input around this initiative, as well as any support and action you would like to take with us this coming year.
Please follow us on our Instagram account: sfsusafezone
We hope to post regularly about our Safe Zone Ally program and important campus and community events that demand we bring our voices – and action – to the conversation. Here are several resources, as well, that we want to pass along to you:
- Oakland LGBT Resource Center: Historically has been more centered on the Black community than the SF Center. It is also founded and operated by Black folks at Oakland LGBTQ Center
- Compton’s Transgender Cultural District: Operated in SF by Black trans women at Transgender District SF Site
With a commitment to understanding that this is the beginning of a journey for redefining our society to one that provides safety, equity, and fairness to all,
The SF State Safe Zone Ally Program Coordinating Committee:
Rick Nizzardini (he/him/his)
Kristen McGraw (she/her/hers)
Stephanie Porcell (she/her/hers)
Ella Bastone (she/her/hers)
Christine Amador (she/her/hers)
Maisoon Alghethy (she/her/hers)
- To foster a campus environment that is inclusive, equitable, and supports retention and the academic, professional and social success of all students.
- To increase visibility of student leaders, faculty, staff, and administrators who wish to act as active allies to students of all gender and sexual identities.
- To increase the opportunities for student leaders, faculty, staff, and administrators to support an equitable and non-discriminatory campus and community environment.
- To educate members of the university community on the needs and concerns of students of all gender and sexual identities that honors the intersections of their identities.
- To provide support, information, and resources to students struggling with issues of prejudice, stigma, homophobia, transphobia, racism, and other discriminatory behaviors based on one’s actual or perceived gender and/or sexual Identity
- To advance the university's commitment to social justice and equity and honoring student diversity.
Interested in learning more about the Safe Zone program? Want to find out how you can get involved?