The Dallas Mavericks and Mavs Take ACTION! recently hosted a new session of The HUDDLE that focused on the importance of allyship in the community and nonprofit space. The event took place at the at the George W. Bush Presidential Center.
In an auditorium filled with nonprofit leaders, Dallas Mavericks CEO Cynt Marshall moderated the discussion with special guests, including CEO of the Resource Center Cece Cox, Founder of Hey Chica Veronica Torres, Program Manager of Project Unity Toska Medlock Lee, Regional VP & Associate General Counsel for TIAA Caren Lock, and VP of the Anti-Defamation League Cheryl Drazin.
This month’s session was called: United As Allies. The topic of allyship is the key to unlocking the power of diversity in our communities.
Kamri Brown serves as the Dallas Mavericks CSR Coordinator with Mavs Take ACTION! She said this session was crucial because allyship can transform communities.
“I think what’s important about this session is that it’s open for everybody,” Brown said. “It doesn’t matter who you are or your background because you can connect to some part of the discussion. I feel like this session really connects with those who are interested in being an active participant of progress in our community.”
Allyship is “an active, consistent, and arduous practice of unlearning and re-evaluation, in which a person in a position of privilege and power seeks to operate in solidarity with a marginalized group.” It’s an opportunity for personal growth and community development, as everyone can be an ally.
All the speakers had the chance to discuss various topics, including how they view allyship in the modern day.
CEO of the Resource Center
I just so happened to read something from a friend of mine. She said when someone now refers to her as an ally, she will revise that a bit and say ‘ally in training’ because it’s always a learning process. One of the values of Mavs Take ACTION! is to listen, and that’s a key component. We have to listen to one another and be willing to listen all the time because there’s just constantly something to learn. And I find that personally extremely enriching in my own life, and I am grateful when people listen to me if I have something important to convey on behalf of my community.
Founder of Hey Chica Movement
For my definition, I have to take it back to my culture, as a primo, as a cousin, right? It’s someone different. An ally is someone a little bit different from you, but it’s still family, and I like to identify that way because it makes it relatable when everyone knows that cousin, right? You’re that cousin. It shows a lot of love. It makes you open to understanding but still holds people accountable.
Toska Medlock Lee,
Program Manager of Project Unity
An ally is just somebody that has an interest in what you want to fulfill but does not have a self-interest. They’re willing to come to the table, even if it’s not about them.
Regional VP & Associate General Counsel for TIAA
The Mavs say listen, learn and unite. I think of allyship as listen, learn and advocate. So my day job is an advocate. I’m a lobbyist for TIAA. So I adopted that. Listen, learn and advocate, and any one of you sitting in the room can be an ally. If you don’t look like me or you’re not part of my tribe, you can be helpful to me because you occupy a very unique role wherever you are, and you can speak up on my behalf…So, listen, learn, and advocate.
VP of the Anti-Defamation League
To me, an ally is a friend you didn’t know you had, someone who is there for you when you weren’t even necessarily expecting it.
The HUDDLE is a courageous conversation series as part of the Mavs Take ACTION! plan launched in 2020 to address racial inequities and promote social justice in the North Texas community.
It is a gathering that creates a safe space for dialogue and the opportunity for individuals to learn and unite with a diverse group of current and former Dallas Mavericks players, team representatives and community figures to eliminate racial divides, uplift communities, and empower future generations.
“We like to approach selecting HUDDLE topics by looking at our community and listening to the voices that aren’t usually heard,” Brown said, regarding how the Mavs Take ACTION! team chooses topics. “For this session, we’ve opened a discussion for Allies in our community to learn more about how to stand up for change when not many people choose to talk about it.”
She said there are many great sessions on deck this season.
“For our next few sessions, you can expect to see us covering topics about young changemakers in our community,” Brown shared. “We’ll discuss the lack of food in DFW. Many Black and Brown communities in our area don’t have access to grocery stores. So this next HUDDLE will focus on shining a light on the issue. Then we will host a session about the impact of Juneteenth on our community.”
Previous HUDDLE conversations have centered around gun violence prevention, mental health, social justice, trans community allyship, voting rights, opportunities for equity in education, homelessness and hunger, helping Dallas rebound during the pandemic, women in sports, closing the wealth gap and a conversation with President George W. Bush and Dirk Nowitzki about portraits of America’s immigrants. To read more about the Mavs, Take ACTION! plan, visit Mavs.com/MTA.