I recently had the opportunity to travel to the oldest of the main Hawaiian islands, Kauaʻi, and visit Lāwa`i Kai, also known as Allerton Garden. Having spent time at the Allerton Gardens in Monticello, IL, it was incredible to see and learn about this other magical place – where nature and human creativity come together.
1. Pineapple statue 2. Diana’s Fountain and reflection pool 3. Moreton Bay Figs (Ficus macrophylla) as seen in Jurassic Park 4. Bronze Mermaid 5.Buddha statue amid golden bamboo (Bambusa vulgaris) 6. Rooster and rooster statues 7. Allerton residence featuring wraparound lanai
Allerton Garden is part of the National Tropical Botanical Garden (NTBG), a not-for-profit institution dedicated to tropical plant research, conservation, and education. NTBG also sponsors the Breadfruit Institute, which promotes the use of breadfruit for food and reforestation.
I work with several knowledgable and dedicated colleagues as part of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign LGBT Ally Network Training Committee. Each month we offer training events open to faculty, staff, and students on campus and beyond–including folks from the community and affiliates of other universities in central Illinois.
At training sessions, we discuss recent history and current LGBTQ issues and provide opportunities to consider new perspectives. For example, when did you choose to be straight? In addition, there is usually lively discussion about definitions and roles of allies. We talk about allyship as a process of learning and being involved (e.g., by debunking myths, expressing support, advocacy, etc.). This sort of dialogue is also encouraged at our local UP Center.
As Mia McKenzie describes, allyship is a practice. It’s an active thing that must be done over and over again, in the largest and smallest ways, every day.
Out @ Lunch – Illini Union (fall 2012)