Sept. 16, 2019

Listen more, speak less: Paul Brandt’s everyday advice on allyship

On Sept. 19, UCalgary partners with country music star and UN Women for Be the Change
Paul Brandt, keynote speaker at Be the Change
Paul Brandt shares personal experience of allyship and advocacy at Be the Change. Photo supplied by Paul Brandt

“The youngest victim of sex trafficking I’ve met was five years old. She was being sold six to eight times a night,” says country music star Paul Brandt.

“I asked myself, ‘What will I tell my daughter I did about this? What will I teach my son about how to respect and interact with women?’”

For Brandt, he responded to these tough questions by founding #NotInMyCity, a movement under his Buckspring Foundation that raises awareness and takes collective action to prevent sexual exploitation and trafficking, focusing on children and youths.

Aside from raising awareness with audiences during shows, presentations and through social media, since launching #NotInMyCity in 2017, Brandt has built numerous partnerships throughout Alberta to create sustainable change at all levels grassroots to policy. Here in Calgary, organizational allies include the City of Calgary and Calgary Transit, Calgary Airport Authority, Calgary Police Service and the Calgary Flames.

Learn more about Brandt’s allyship work during his keynote talk at Be the Change on Sept. 19. Register here.

Allyship is a daily practice, not an identity

Throughout his decades-long journey of advocacy work in countries ranging from Ethiopia to Egypt, Brandt has learned five pieces of simple yet practical advice we can all keep in mind when practising allyship of any kind:

  1. Listen more.
  2. Speak less.
  3. Love your neighbour as yourself.
  4. Be humble and teachable.
  5. Bring justice for the oppressed.

Though it sounds simple enough, Brandt points out that allyship and advocacy work are challenging, require constant effort, and anyone involved is bound to encounter roadblocks along the way.

“The world is a noisy and complicated place,” he says. “Choosing civility and a teachable spirit is a moment-by-moment discipline I’m sure I’ll be striving towards for the rest of my life, but I believe it’s a worthwhile struggle it’s much more powerful than division and hatred.”

Attend Be the Change on Sept. 19

Brandt will be sharing more insights about his work with #NotInMyCity and his role as an ally and advocate during a keynote presentation and panel conversation at Be the Change on Sept. 19, an event in partnership with UN Women.

Visit the Be the Change web page to learn more and register.