North Dakota Women’s Network Teaches How to be an Ally to Communities of Color

they taught people about how to handle racism and oppression

FARGO, N.D. — The North Dakota Women’s Network taught people in the metro about racism and oppression to give them with the tools they can use to become allies.

In December of 2016, a man tried to forcibly remove a Muslim woman’s hijab on a Southwest flight from Chicago to Albuquerque.

People sat by and watched as the man shouted “take it off, this is America!” at the woman.

“Nobody did anything,” Rachel Asleson said. “When I realized that I might have been that person, who wouldn’t have done anything, I knew I had to come to this ally training.”

Asleson and many others felt they should come to the ‘Ally 101: Standing with Communities of Color’ training because of racism they’ve seen.

Mindy Grant De Herrera says she noticed it more and more while her four Mexican children were growing up.

“Everything seemed to be fine while they were in elementary school but as they got older and got into junior high and high school, I realized they were facing things at school that I didn’t have answers to,” Grant De Herrera said.

Sessions at the training taught attendees how to become an active bystander and learn about North Dakota’s indigenous heritage.

“Although we do have diversity, it’s very easy in our culture and our society, the way that we’re set up in North Dakota to just ignore that. We’re not very inclusive,” Grant De Herrera said.

Some say addressing the problems are not easy.

“It’s easy to have conflict to resolve conflict online. It’s harder to do it face-to-face. It’s just a difficulty that we as North Dakotans aren’t very good at,” Asleson said.

It’s why Asleson says this training is a good place to start having those in-person interactions.

“We all want to recognize that we each have beautiful humanity. We come from different experiences and we get to learn from each other,”Asleson said.

She says communities of color can’t do it alone.

“There are opportunities every day to stand up for those folks,” Asleson said.

The training ended with a celebration to honor Kathy Hogan, the organization’s woman of the year.

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