A Story of Allies in Action
Women in the United States have been fighting for equal rights since the nation's founding. While progress has been made over the years, women still face disparities when it comes to issues like equal pay, access to health care, education, and much more. We have made considerable progress in advancing women's rights, but there is still a long way to go. While many countries have passed laws and instituted policies that protect women's rights, gender inequality remains an issue in both the public and private sectors. It is up to women and men to work together to continue fighting for gender equality so that all people can have access to the same opportunities and resources. Whether it be a husband, brother, friend, or even a stranger, teamwork really does make the dream work.
At times, it is important to show appreciation and shed light on those who decide to actively work in a position of allyship, not opposition. When we recognize such partnership and allyship in action between men and women, it is simply amazing. This week, we would like to highlight Monty and Traci Hoffman, a true example of partnership, support, and allies in the cause. Traci participated in Sleep Out because of her love and respect for her husband, Monty Hoffman, who asked her to sleep out on his behalf since Monty was medically advised not to Sleep Out. We witnessed his support and allyship not just for CHGW’s mission, but for Traci’s personal effort and selfless objective.
Sleep Out events with Covenant House Greater Washington provide a powerful, life-changing experience that empowers individuals and communities to change the lives of youth experiencing not just homelessness, but many times exploitation, abuse, and trafficking. Sleep Out participants come together in solidarity to raise funds and show their support. By volunteering to sleep outdoors for one night they do not get a glimpse into the difficult realities faced by these youth. Volunteers raise awareness amongst strangers, who ask what is going on and why. Volunteers stand (or should we say Sleep) in solidarity. The total effort is one that shows the youth that we all care; we care enough to be uncomfortable. However, enduring just one night of discomfort is usually enough for participants to have a deeper understanding. This is true, too, regarding Traci’s experience.
Before Sleep Out, Traci and other participants were not fully aware that there was a place like CHGW (Covenant House Greater Washington) with full wrap-around services outside of housing. To support her husband’s Sleep Out team, Traci set up a Facebook page to attract donations amongst their network and set out to Sleep out on the designated day.
“I’m a tough girl and Sleep Out was an experience I will never forget.” – Traci Hoffman
She says sleeping outside was an awful experience; she was severely cold and uncomfortable. But although she felt high physical discomfort, during the moments throughout the night that she found herself awake, she knew that she was still safe, protected, and loved. She says Monty was there several times throughout the night, at one point even pulling up a chair. That was the eye-opener. Traci says she can’t imagine how young people survive experiencing homelessness without a proper support network. She says after sleeping out she faithfully believes in the mission, the cause, and the impact here at CHGW. Our dedication to unconditional love, absolute respect, and relentless support makes a world of difference. Just knowing that Traci had not only a choice to be outside, unlike so many youth, and loved ones cheering for her, not just for the night but in life, was powerful. When Traci opened her eyes the morning after Sleep Out, she saw Monty there.
“My number one priority has always been my family. I’ve got three kids and a great wife. We just celebrated our 30-year anniversary. I have always done my best to be there for them and be part of everything they're doing and everything that I could do to support their dreams...that includes my wife too.“ – Monty Hoffman
Monty Hoffman, Founder & Chairman, Hoffman and Associates, has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and CNN, and recognized in the power lists of Washington’s SmartCEO’s Future 50, Commercial Observer, and the Washington Business Journal.
Thank you, Traci and Monty, not just for participating in Sleep Out for our youth, but for giving us the opportunity to see your partnership and allyship in action. We hope to be a conduit of encouragement and that your story will be an example to others of #relentlesssupport and the power that it produces.
You can be an ally too!
To be an ally is to unite oneself with another to promote a common interest, forming an alliance. You may not share the same experience, but you can share in the fight.
Use your influence and privilege as a platform for speaking out.
Educate yourself on the issues, raising awareness through conversations with friends and family.
Donate to organizations that work on these causes, engage in activism and protests, or join influential advocacy groups.
Use your purchasing power to support companies that are committed to diversity and equity.