An ‘ally’ is someone who has privilege, but chooses to stand for and with marginalised communities who face discrimination. An ally can do this by taking tangible, ongoing actions to dismantle systems of oppression. Here are 10 ways to become an ally and friend:
Listen to what marginalised people are saying – face-to-face, on your social media feed or in the articles you read. It is not about you, your feelings or opinions; it’s about hearing theirs.
Removing yourself from opinion echo chambers can be hard but seeking out books, articles etc. about the history and current issues facing marginalised communities can make such a difference when dismantling systems of oppressions.
Join local groups working for social justice. Subscribe to their email lists, follow them on social media and show up and support their work.
When someone from a marginalised community invites you to an event, try your best to go – be there to listen, learn and show your support.
When a friend, family member, co-worker or stranger says something hateful or ignorant, call them out. Silence allows oppression to continue.
When someone is being targeted – physically or verbally – intervene only with their permission. Focus on supporting them rather than engaging the aggressor.
When you encounter something that makes you feel uncomfortable, don’t dismiss it. Sit with it, feel it and ask yourself “why?”. The answer will welcome an opportunity to grow and learn.
You will make mistakes, but the important thing, is when you’re challenged, don’t get defensive. Listen, apologies and change your behaviour moving forward.
Even when the work gets difficult, stay engaged. Oppression is constant, and marginalised people do not have the privilege of “turning it off”. Think if you are tired of hearing or talking about it, think how tired they must be of living it.
MAKE A DIFFERENCE
No act is too small. Commit to financially supporting or spare your time a local organisation on an ongoing basis. Reach out to glaad.org to find out who is doing social justice work in your community.
Being an ally is more than just waving a flag during a celebration day or month. It’s about celebrating acceptance and authenticity, 365 days a year, challenging the status quo. Click here to find out what we are doing to support marginalised groups with our DE&I Pledge.