What can you do in 8 minutes? The importance of allies in advocacy


Carol Willing


October 22, 2013

8 minutes and 18 seconds. It’s a small amount of time. Yet, Laila Al-Shamma uses it wisely. Recently, Laila Al-Shamma was honored by GLSEN as the 2013 Student Advocate of the Year. She is someone who makes her local community a better, safer place not just for herself but for others as well. Her strength, honesty, and humility shine through in her acceptance speech.

Some of Laila’s wisdom and insights:

“If no one around you knows that you are an ally, then you can’t claim to be an ally at all.”

“It’s my responsibility to pass along the love and acceptance that I get…”

“It doesn’t take thousands to mobilize change. It just takes a few motivated people, some help from outside organizations, like GLSEN, and imagine how many more people we could have helped if there were just a few more activists on our side.”


8 minutes and 18 seconds. Watching Laila’s speech will inspire you to advocate for your community. A small investment of time can lead to exponential change.

Personally, I am inspired to continue advocating for a diverse community in open source hardware and software development.

I am #fuelingthefuture by recruiting women to the Linux community and advocating for the @linuxfoundation to invest more in diversity. (my tweet of commitment)

A community built on open communication, courtesy, and respect gets the best results from individual actions. Certainly, the Python community is seeing the benefits of its diversity goals and actions.