Allyship in Prague: Ally Week 2016

"allyship (v.) is an active and consistent practice of unlearning and re-evaluating beliefs and actions, in which a person seeks to work in solidarity with a marginalized individual or group of people”

During the second week of April, members from the NYU community all over the world celebrated Ally Week. At NYU Prague, Ally Week Ambassadors Avi Grundner, Coty Novak, and Robert Ramkishun teamed up with NYU Prague’s staff to put together a series of events on various types of allyship. By highlighting the struggles and lives of different groups of traditionally marginalized peoples, both around the world and within the Czech Republic, students were able to increase their awareness of the individual and collective injustices many in society face and deepen their understanding about the experiences of others.

The week’s events included a screening of the documentary film “Czechs Against Czechs,” with a Q&A with the film’s director Tomáš Kratochvíl, a “Talk about Pride” on life as LGBTQ+ in Prague and around the world, a visit to the Invisible Exhibition, and a party at a local bar.

In “Czechs Against Czechs,” Kratochvíl, a member of the ethnic majority population in the Czech Republic, goes to live in a desperately poor ghetto in north Bohemia with a Roma, an oppressed ethnic minority, family. Along the way, he encounters far-right activists who organize anti-Roma demonstrations, as well as members of the public who don’t hide their hatred of the ethnic minority. During the Q&A, Kratochvíl and the students discussed a plethora of things, including the obstacles Kratochvíl faced in making the film and the parallels between Czech society and American society in how they treat ethnic minorities.

At the “Talk about Pride,” Tereza Pelechova, coordinator of Prague Pride, Petr Pavek, founder of LGBTQ+ club at Charles University, and Julie Koubova, an IT specialist at company in Prague, discussed life as LGBTQ+ in the Czech Republic and the obstacles many members of the LGBTQ+ community face in the country. In addition to discussing issues present in the Czech Republic, the NYU students in attendance were able to offer insight into what life as LGBTQ+ life is like in their respective cities and countries. During the talk, NYU Prague served food catered by Ethnocatering, an organization that employs migrants and uses all of its profits to aid their employees during the immigration process.

The Invisible Exhibition gave students a chance to understand what life without one of senses is like for one hour. During the exhibition, the students, with the help of a guide who was blind, had to rely on their sense of smell, touch, hearing, and balance in order to navigate various set ups including a kitchen, a forest, and a bar. The exhibition gave those who can see a greater understanding of what life is like for those who cannot and equipped them for some tools for assisting those who cannot see.

pictures taken by NYU Prague students Jonathan Stone, Ellie Andrews, and Robert Ramkishun

#allyweek #cafeflirt #czechsagainstczechs #documentary

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