how to be an ally

How to Be an Ally (and Why)


In The Blue Zones of Happiness, Dan Buettner found the happiest places in the world and in the United States. Denmark, Costa Rica, and Singapore topped the list of the happiest locales in the world, and Boulder, CO topped the list for the happiest city in the United States.

What do Denmark, Costa Rica, and Singapore have in common? There, people feel secure, have a sense of purpose, and are able to enjoy their lives with less stress and more joy. Boulder residents have a strong sense of community and enjoy easy access to nature, healthy options, and medical care.

Our research and other data shows the happiest and most vibrant communities in the world are places where people are engaged and where residents have trust (in their police, neighbors, and local government). Besides being a moral imperative, everyone prospers when everyone has equal opportunities to thrive. As we saw during the Covid-19 pandemic, widespread disparities across the country took a damaging toll on the health of the nation.

In response to the racial justice protests around the country in 2020, Tom Gegax and Mary Wescott of the Gegax Family Foundation created Spark: A Systemic Racism Story, a documentary that explores racism’s roots and offers remedies. It was inspired by Gegax’s own experience working in Chicago and developing close personal relationships with 14 black service station owners in his sales territory: these business owners protected him from harm during the late 60’s civil rights uprisings.

Gegax and Westcott collaborated with a wide and diverse ground of friends, neighbors, and experts to quaranteam and produce the film. Spark is now being used as a free educational tool and resource for workplaces and DE&I programs around the country, including Stanford University’s Anti-Racism and Allyship 7-Day Journey.

Watch the condensed version of Spark here:

The documentary is presented in complete, abbreviated, and mini versions and longer versions can be viewed at

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