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    NSWCPD Personnel Host “Intro to Allyship: Women and LGBT” Event

    NSWCPD Personnel Host “Intro to Allyship: Women and LGBT” Event

    Photo By Joseph Fontanazza | Naval Surface Warfare Center, Philadelphia Division personnel Juniper Sweeney and...... read more read more

    The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Philadelphia Division Women’s and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) hosted the first in an anticipated series of similar events, this one focusing on “Intro to Allyship: Women and LGBT,” on Dec. 15, 2022.

    The event explained what allyship is and how you can be an ally to colleagues of any identity.

    “Allyship is intentional, it’s strategic and it’s continuous. If you are identifying as an ally, it’s something that you are doing every day. You’re out supporting the folks in your organization, allowing them to feel more welcome, and stepping up to support them especially when there are misinformed or bad actors who are talking over or mistreating them,” NSWCPD Chemical Engineer Juniper Sweeney said during the presentation’s introduction. Juniper uses both they/them and she/her pronouns.

    Sweeney found the inspiration to spearhead the “Intro to Allyship: Women and LGBT” event while serving as the moderator of the Joint Warfare Centers Pride Month 2022 panel featuring people associated with the historic Stonewall Inn.

    “We had a Q&A with the virtual audience and one question asked was ‘how can we as members of the NAVSEA (Naval Sea Systems Command) community be better allies…and the panel bounced the question back to me and I was able to give a short answer, but that wasn’t my event, and I was answering off the top of my head. Since answering that question I had some people, even people in leadership, come up to me and ask for more information, asking for clarification, and resources,” the non-binary engineer said.

    They added, “I figured this would be a great opportunity for them and any other member of the organization to learn a little bit about supporting me as an LGBT colleague and other queer folks in the organization or folks who may join the organization. Not only that, but allyship is a practice that doesn’t just apply to LGBT folks, it applies to people of any marginalized community."

    Michelle Klem, the in-service fuel oil lead for NSWCPD, was then contacted by Sweeney as the plans for the allyship event began.

    “A couple of weeks ago Juniper reached out to me about co-hosting the Allyship 101 event, so I really have to give her credit for the inspiration and the initiation of this event. I am very new and temporarily in the Women’s ERG chair position while Allyson [Jones-Zaroff, NSWCPD branch manager] is on maternity leave. I was hoping to take this role to be able to try it out for a few months and host a few events,” Klem said.

    She continued, “I was really impressed with the events Allyson put on in the past. She has done an incredible job of really tearing open the current structure of the workplace as she did a deep dive into organizational issues, interviewing, how to advance professionally, and networking, but there wasn’t as much focus on things such as allyship and social-centric topics so when Juniper reached out to me, I thought it was a great opportunity.”

    The event was well attended by both in-person and online viewers taking the time to engage with an important topic. Recognizing privilege and using it to advocate for marginalized colleagues was a key concept discussed during the presentation and the Q&A portion of the event.

    “What we really wanted to focus on was when you witness discrimination to act in the moment instead of just comforting the victim later on. Unfortunately, I have a personal experience with that -- a co-worker, outside the organization but my superior, ended up bringing me up in an uncomfortable conversation with other male co-workers and I had one of those male co-workers apologize to me later on…It really made me acknowledge that apologizing to the victim after the fact is just benefiting the bystander. We want it stopped at the source,” Klem said on using your voice to speak up when a person is being harassed or discriminated against.

    Klem and Sweeney also made sure to explain that not only is speaking out crucial to building a secure work environment, but listening is just as essential.

    “When I was first coming out and using new pronouns there were people in my organization who would make mistakes and I really insisted on correcting people. I think it’s a natural response when someone corrects you to back-pedal and defend yourself and try to make justifications, but you don’t really need to do that. If anything, being taken aside and having someone correct you on how you are treating them or how you are acting in the workplace is showing that they care about you and they think you can improve and that you’re worth trying with,” Sweeney said on the importance of listening to constructive criticism.

    NSWCPD employs approximately 2,800 civilian engineers, scientists, technicians, and support personnel. The NSWCPD team does the research and development, test and evaluation, acquisition support, and in-service and logistics engineering for the non-nuclear machinery, ship machinery systems, and related equipment and material for Navy surface ships and submarines. NSWCPD is also the lead organization providing cybersecurity for all ship systems.



    Date Taken: 01.04.2023
    Date Posted: 01.04.2023 09:57
    Story ID: 436238
    Location: US

    Web Views: 225
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