Off the Track

Allyship: How We Can Support Minorities in Roller Derby?

Mick Swagger__Bonnie roller derby roller con
Mick & Bonnie [Photo: Bob Ayers]

Mick Swagger revisits the workshop on Allyship that was held at this year’s Roller Con which discusses minorities and micro aggression in roller derby

Off the Track is hosted by Mick Swagger of Team Indigenous

Podcast length: 49′ 11″

Allyship is a balance of active support that requires action. It is more than words and implementing policy. We must walk our talk. In this presentation Mick Swagger and Mary Fagdalene will talk about their journey as a couple in navigating this topic. They will give specific examples of racism Mick experienced and how Fags learned to recognize micro aggressions, talk to their teammates and friends and how they confronted these problems head-on; becoming a catalyst for change within the roller derby community.

This is Part One of Allyship.  We will release Part TWO, where we delve into Policy, Failure of Policy, Systemic racism within organizations and how we as POC can bring along our Allies and also speak to Allies bringing along more Allies.

I want to mention before we close the show that this episode is not being released without fear, without anxiety; but that I am releasing it because I feel that the roller derby community only sees and hears about the trauma and drama surrounding events.  Our community needs to hear more stories of resolution, healing and restorative justice, so i’d like to share with you a few things happening.

A couple of weeks ago, the Thin Air Throwdown tournament saw Denver VRDL and Rose City Playing a round of games against each other in preparation for Champs.

At the end of the Recap, The Apex called our VRDL as a league and asked them what they were doing to reconcile with the skaters who have spoken out against the league.  The VRDL response was “We can’t comment on internal allegations while investigations are taking place. We recognize the structural issues we have in the league and that they will take time and effort to address. We will keep doing the work until we get it right.”

I can speak to my work with VRDL in that I have received an apology letter, money for my emotional labor in the form of having my dues paid back to me, but that is all that has happened with the organization of VRDL.  

I am having many conversations, both difficult and healing with a small number of friends, two of them stepped off the All Stars this season.  One of them, Sage King has publicly stated she left the league in response to the systemic racism and bullying the league has failed to address. She further stated her bullying complaint is ongoing.

Look, I’d like to say VRDL is doing a bad job. I’d like to say that their inability to move further with all of these complaints and mediation is bc they are not trying.  They are trying…and let me be specific….they are trying as a LEAGUE Executive Committee…but there is a saying along the lines of You can lead an all star to water, but you can’t make them drink.

What I am focusing on is my relationships with people.  Building them back, spending Emotional Labor on those I feel will hear me and support me.  My partner is doing the same and I am damn glad for it. That is what this podcast episode is about.


RELATED – More episodes of Off the Track HERE


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#allyship #teamindigenousrollerderby #decolonizingrollerderby #creatingallies #leagueofgoodhumans






Photo: Bob Ayers


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