Release Date: 
Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Join SAFE@HFC for Ally Training on campus or virtually

Event Date: 
Thu, 06/22/2023 - 10:00am to 2:00pm
Andrew A. Mazzara Administrative Services & Conference Center (ASCC) (Building L) Rosenau Rooms or online via Zoom.
stylized image of hands in the air, representing a spectrum of color

The campus organization SAFE@HFC will host its 4th annual Ally training session for HFC employees and students who wish to serve as Allies to the College’s LGBTQ+ community.

You can participate in Ally training virtually via Zoom or in person on Thursday, June 22, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The in-person option will take place in the Rosenau Rooms on the first floor of the Andrew A. Mazzara Administrative Services & Conference Center (ASCC) (Bldg. L) on the main campus.

Training is open to HFC employees and current students.

Lunch will be provided for those attending in person and is sponsored by Vice President of Student Affairs Holly Diamond. Those who plan to attend in person must notify HFC Financial Aid Specialist Beth Preston as seating is limited to approximately 50 people in the Rosenau Rooms.

Attendance options for Thursday, June 22, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

  1. Register to attend in-person (email Beth Preston)

  2. Register to attend on Zoom

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

What is an Ally?

An Ally is a person who is open and knowledgeable toward LGBTQ+ issues. Allies choose to openly, actively, consistently provide support for and advocate for LGBTQ+ individuals and communities. Allies support full and equal civil rights, gender equality, and positive social change. They stand against discrimination and phobias: homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia.

Allies are often, though not always, cisgender, straight individuals who are:

  • Good listeners
  • Dedicated to bringing about positive change
  • Continually educating themselves
  • Not seeking to be the center of attention
  • People who acknowledge their privilege
  • Always working to expand understanding and acceptance
  • Respectful of other people’s privacy and safety

“We highly recommend that people participate in Ally training in an effort to create a community consensus on what an Ally is and how you can be welcoming, supportive, and sensitive to the needs of the LGBTQ+ members of the HFC community,” said Preston, who is also the SAFE@HFC chair and co-founder.

Blake Bonkowski will present the training

The expert conducting this year’s Ally training session is Blake Bonkowski, the coordinator of the Gender and Sexuality Center at Oakland University. Founded in 2005, the GSC supports the retention and graduation of LGBTQ+ students through education and retention initiatives for all members of the Oakland community.

Bonkowski earned his bachelor’s degree from Oakland, majoring in psychology and minoring in communications and women and gender studies. During his undergraduate days at Oakland, he was the president of the student organization called the Gender and Sexuality Alliance. After graduating from Oakland, Bonkowski earned his master’s degree in college counseling from Eastern Michigan University.

No stranger to HFC or Dearborn, Bonkowski served as a counseling intern for 10 months, providing academic advising and personal counseling at the College. He served on two committees, which focused on LGBTQ+ training and transgender rights and advocacy. He also served on the HFC faculty. Afterward, Bonkowski served as the coordinator for LGBTQ+ programs and initiatives for 2.5 years at the University of Michigan-Dearborn.

Bonkowski writes about LGBTQ+ issues and coaches gymnastics. He is the co-host of the “Half In, Half Out” podcast. It is the only podcast focused on LGBTQ+ culture in gymnastics.

The Ally training session is free and open to HFC employees and students. For questions or more information, contact Preston at 313-317-1530 or