“Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”

                                                              – Dr. Steven Covey

If you’ve wondered how to wade into the current social justice conversations but aren’t sure where to insert your voice, the answer just might be: don’t. Yet. In this episode, we talk with Ala Ochumare, youth program director of the New Haven Pride Center, and Dr. Cassi Meyerhoffer, professor of sociology, about what it means to become an ally to your peers and contribute to the causes you believe in.

Cassi Meyerhoffer received her Ph.D. from The State University of New York at Buffalo. Her research and teaching interests are in the areas of systemic racism, racial residential segregation, and the role of race in American policing. She is currently working on her book: American Racism: Law Enforcement, Residential Segregation, and Public Education. Dr. Meyerhoffer’s recent work has been published in Journal of Urban AffairsSociology of Race and Ethnicity, and Sociological Forum.

Ala (she/her) has spent that past thirteen years working for a variety of organizations and advocating for various minority communities and systematically oppressed groups.

Ala is one of the founding members of #BlackLivesMatter New Haven and one of the facilitators of the Marsha P. Johnson Summer Camp for LGBTQ+ Black and Brown Youth organized by a group of community organizations including City Wide Youth Coalition. In addition to her work at the New Haven Pride Center, Ala works as a Community Recovery Assistant in Crisis and Respite and Long-Term Services programs for Continuum of Care INC. in New Haven. Ala recently completed a year-long fellowship for community organizers through CEIO, is a CT Core Organize Now! New Haven Chapter leader, and was recently accepted to the Yale University and Southern Connecticut State University CARE New Haven Health Leader program.