Upstander Engagement

It Starts With Us

Learn more about It Starts With Us: an interactive series of presentations, round table discussions, and workshops.

Upstander Engagement is the model chosen by the Faculty of Medicine to help us build a strong, safe, and supportive community. It encourages members of our community to stand up against injustice for themselves and for others.

REDI introduced Upstander Engagement with the launch of the It Starts With Us series. Read more about the launch here.

What Is an Upstander?

You may be familiar with the bystander effect theory, where individuals are less likely to offer help to a victim when there are other people present. An upstander takes action in some form, and does not stand by. They not only witness a situation but recognize injustice and speak up or step in to disrupt, intervene, or provide support to the targeted person.

Why We Need Upstanders

We know that being an upstander is not easy, particularly for those in our community whose voices have been silenced or ignored. You are being asked to speak up in a culture of power and privilege, in environments in which you may not feel safe, to people whom you are not sure you can trust, and in many cases without the tools to take on the task. This is not easy but it is necessary for changing our environments to benefit all rather than only some.

We can improve our learning and work environments by building on our strengths and calling upon our colleagues, co-workers, and peers to be allies, so that we may support each other to challenge racism, discrimination and other forms of injustice.

How to Spend Your Privilege

Upstander Engagement provides a way for individuals with power and privilege to “spend” their privilege:

  • Amplify the voices of those who are oppressed by prejudice, stereotyping, racism, genderism and other forms of injustice
  • Educate each other and act as role models
  • Give support to those who must battle microaggressions, blatant racism, and other forms of discrimination every day

Be an Upstander

Use your personal strengths to create change:

  • Choose to take positive action in the face of injustice or intolerance
  • Intervene on behalf of someone who is being targeted by racism, bullying, harassment or other forms of mistreatment

There are many ways to be an Upstander. To learn more about Upstander Engagement contact REDI.