"Many would-be allies fear making mistakes that could have them labeled as “-ist” or “-ic” (racist, sexist, transphobic, homophobic, etc). But as an ally, you’re also affected by a system of oppression. This means that as an ally, there is much to unlearn and learn—mistakes are expected. You need to own this as fact and should be willing to embrace the daily work of doing better."
What does it mean to be an ally?
An ally seeks to understand what it feels like for another person or group to be oppressed, and despite knowing you will never fully understand how it feels, is committed to valuing and supporting people who are marginalized. This video from Netflix does a good job clarifying what an ally is.
“We all have a responsibility to make the world we live in a little better, and you kind of have to start where you are. What allyship is, is listening, compassion, to immerse yourself in content, in experiences, in stories, from groups that aren’t of your own. Anybody who sees something that isn’t quite right can become an ally and help their colleagues. When you’ve been through a struggle that hurt you for such a long time, I think you have this endless energy to give to others. Anyone can be an ally and everyone can use an ally, and you can use your privilege in the moment to extend that privilege to someone else. I think this is what makes us human, to help others and to be empathetic.”
Being an ally is not an identity, it is a continual process - something that you must work at, be intentional about, and commit to - day in and day out.
TODAY’S CHALLENGE: Do one or more of the following…
In this open source starter guide from Amélie Lamont, consider the Do’s and Don'ts of Allyship that are important to know as you practice and evolve your role in supporting equity and inclusion.
Read about how to be a better ally in the workplace in the article Allyship - The Key To Unlocking The Power Of Diversity from Sheree Atcheson, a global change maker in pushing for equality in industry. Looking for a place to start? She recommends taking time to really listen to the experiences of those around you.
Listen to entrepreneur and business consultant Jennifer Brown discuss the Allyship Continuum and how you can go from apathetic to an advocate. Develop a muscle that gets stronger over time. (38:55)
See what happens when people take time to converse with one another despite their differences. Watch the 2020 Governor’s Emmy® Award-winning documentary Breaking Bread, Building Bridges, a project conceived and directed by Des Moines Civil and Human Rights Commission Director Joshua V. Barr. (37:16)
NEXT TOPIC: BUILDING WORKPLACE CULTURE AROUND EQUITY
CONVERSATION PIECE: Art Addressing Equity
Artist: Shabana Gupta
Date of piece: June 2020
Description: Gender non-conforming people presented in the colors of pride flags
“This is a depiction of Intersectionality. Black, Indigenous, People of Color (and one white person) in the LGBTQ+ community.”