On Becoming an Ally

Though I majored in classics at Grinnell, it was Roberta Atwell, professor of education, who made the biggest impact in my life after college. Roberta taught gender and women’s studies classes and, for one semester, guided me in an individual study of men’s liberation.

Roberta helped me begin to think about what it means to be an ally in various struggles for liberation. She did so with a caring, curious, and creative manner.

I didn’t know upon graduating in 1984 that I would dedicate my life to peace and justice. Since 1995, I’ve worked with the American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker nonprofit organization. 

I’ve had to check my privileges and stay open to how, when, and where I can make a contribution to movements for freedom and justice. I’ve made many mistakes, and often feel like I’ve fallen short.

Still, I’m thankful to Professor Atwell for helping set me on this course. She changed my life for the good.

Jon Krieg ’84
Des Moines, Iowa
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