We are an informal group committed to the idea that every biblical scholar, no matter their identity, should be able to participate in a thoughtful and open exchange of ideas without fear or intimidation. We are inspired by the success of our main professional model, Astronomy Allies.
Our primary purpose is to give you a place to air your frustrations and talk through what you want to do next. It is a judgment-free zone. All conversations are confidential. You can choose to lodge an informal or formal complaint, or you can just talk. At the SBL (and other biblical-studies conferences), look out for the luminous SBAllies button. This button is a badge of trust, saying that the person has actively volunteered to help you. And if you ask for help, you know that someone wearing that button is coming to help you.
We are not the enforcers, but we can be there to help you out of an uncomfortable situation. We are not the ones who will be punishing repeat offenders. We don’t proactively intervene. SBAllies are reactive. We come when you call us. Whether you just want someone to tell you that it will be okay, or to help you remove yourself from a problematic situation.If you see one of us at the meeting wearing a button, don’t hesitate to come up and ask us what we are about. Seeing us wear those buttons tells you not only that there is someone friendly around should you need us, but reminds people who might think about committing harassment that there are always people holding beacons of light to shine in the corners they are hoping to keep dark.
We have Ally affiliates who are also SBL contacts. They are not first response Allies, but they are the first point of contact should you tell your Ally that you want to file an informal or formal complaint. The SBL Council takes complaints and violations of the SBL anti-harassment policy very seriously and will do everything they can to help. We can steer you to the right people as quickly as possible.
Our members have been vetted and volunteered to help you. We want to help. Whether you are at an academic meeting or need help from the biblical studies community at large, SBAllies are a stepping stone full of people who are committed to making biblical studies a safer, more equal place. We promise confidence, and can mobilize to help get you what you need.
We are here to help.
Members of SBL are welcome to apply to be Allies. Members are vetted through our nominating committee.
Annette Yoshiko Reed