About Us

As we seek to create a better more welcoming Valparaiso for all, we work to understand how racism and white supremacy affects our lives and our community, and we work to dismantle racist policies and attitudes of white supremacy.

Valparaiso, like any community, thrives when we build cohesive connections and adopt policies that welcome people no matter who they are, what they look like, who they love, where they are from, or how they identify. An important part of Allies Against Racism is to help assure that minority residents, students and businesses thrive in Valparaiso. We work to identify and bring an end to policies that maintain or increase inequity between races in our schools, businesses, institutions and government and to promote policies that increase equity between the races.

Racism and white supremacy have been an essential part of American culture and American Society since long before we were a nation – from slavery, through Jim Crow, lynchings and even now, despite much progress, the resulting.and continuing racial disparities and inequities not only in wealth accumulation but in all aspects of American life – income, housing, education, health, access to resources, justice and on and on. Attempts to dismantle these disparities require a multifaceted approach.

Allies began in June of 2018 as an ad hoc subcommittee of the diversity and inclusion committee of ValpoNext.

Educating Ourselves and our community about racism and white supremacy:

Our first initiative was to hold a series of public discussion forums to educate ourselves and our broader community about the nature, operation and impact of racism, both locally and nationally, and to learn from and develop relationships with our neighbors, people of color and other historically marginalized people about their daily and weekly experience of racial discrimination right here. We read and discussed books like: “White Fragility, why its so hard for white people to talk about racism,” by Robin Deangelo, and articles like “The Groundwater Approach.” Over 200 people have participated in this effort.

Realizing that more needed to be done in Valparaiso to combat incidents of discrimination and bias against members of minority and marginalized groups, as well as the need to change policies that disadvantage African Americans and other groups we developed several workgroup initiatives:

Schools Workgroup: In February of 2020 we interviewed Valparaiso High School students about their experience of racism at school - in the classrooms, the hall ways and found that there was a culture of tolerating racist conduct nd abuse that severely impacted and adversely affected the educational experience of students of color and other marginalized students. In July before the Human Relations Council and in August of 2020, at the VCS School board meeting, representatives of Allies Against Racism reported these findings. School Board members invited us to meet with some of them and the newly appointed Superintendent, Dr. Jim McCall, to discuss what could be done. Since then, at the Board’s invitation, we have met regularly with Dr. McCall to discuss how best to work to eradicate this problem. We have provided resources and introductions to professionals and worked to ask for the adoption of better policies. Progress has been made. Resources have been expanded, and in early 2022 the administration hired a consultant and bought materials from The International Institute of Restorative Practices (IIRP) to begin training school personnel in restorative practices. IIRP is a well respected resource for schools interested in adopting best practices for dealing with racial and other conflict. Restorative practices are used in classrooms and throughout educational systems to improve learning and deal with conflict situations in all grade levels. There is, of course, lots more to be done - to see these practices adopted, embraced, nd used throughout the VCS system, as well s in the other areas Allies is championing: which include, in addition to Restorative Practices; Implicit Bias and cultural sensitivity trining; Hiring people of color as teachers and administrators; and Telling the complicated truth about our history - both positive and negative.

Law Enforcement Workgroup: In the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd and many other people of color through police violence, we looked at the Valparaiso Police Department’s Use of Force and other policies and met with VPD leaders to ask that they eliminate or change policies which have resulted in unwarranted violence and killing of African Americans throughout the nation. The VPD has adopted some of the policy changes which may make such unwarranted violence less likely.

We draw on the energies and talents of people from across the community, including a number of religious organizations, Project Neighbors, Northwest Indiana African American Alliance, Valpo NEXT, the James L. Kingsland Cultural HUB, WVLP, 103.1 FM, Valparaiso High School students and parents, and teachers, members of the Valparaiso Human Relations Council, the Valparaiso University community and many other neighbors and community members from business, government and non-profit organizations and from all walks of life.

Contact Allies if you would like to get involved:

Allies Against Racism will continue to facilitate guided discussions for civic and religious associations interested in exploring white privilege, white supremacy and white fragility, as well as the structural nature of racism and anti-racist practice.

In addition, there are ongoing workgroups that you can join, focusing on these issues in the Valparaiso Community Schools (VCS) and with the Valparaiso Police Department (VPD).

We also try to monitor City and County government and their departments and can use help in our efforts.

Allies Against Racism seeks to better understand and to bring an end to racism and other forms of oppression and abuse of our fellow human beings. We strive to do our part in creating that better world which we all know is possible and to make the Valparaiso area a truly welcoming community for all.

We do this out of love and firm resolve to identify and challenge racist ideas and racist policies and work to reverse the inequality between racial groups caused by racist ideas and policies and to oppose discrimination against individuals based on their race, color, ethnicity, gender, sexual or gender preference, religious belief or where they came from.

If you would like to report racial abuse, bullying or discrimination, CONTACT Allies and we will follow up with you.