We can’t call ourselves allies. “Allies” do not share the same stakes as communities that are experiencing marginalization. Allies have little to lose, and in some cases, they receive much of the credit without bearing the consequences of systemic inequity or for participating in social justice movements.
“Ally” is not a button or pin that we can wear. It’s not an identity, either. Allyship is a verb, an ongoing practice, that should be described based on our continual actions and commitments to the communities we seek to support. For those of us wishing to dismantle systems that we benefit from, we must unlearn, listen, and act. So let’s focus less on labels and more on what people need from us. Here are a few ways to start acting in solidarity.
- Understand your privilege. Those of us with privilege are often unaware of the perspectives we silence. Reflecting on our privileges means being critical of the things we observe every day and using our privilege to make space for others.
- Uplift others. Uplift people experiencing marginalization by engaging in their learnings, highlighting their work, featuring them on your platforms, hiring them in positions of authority, consulting with them, and paying them for their time. Learning when to support is an essential act of solidarity.
- Apologize when you mess up. For example, “I apologize for [what you did], I’m going to do better, and I recognize that I have work to do. I now understand [insert what you’ve learned]. Thank you for taking the time to explain this to me.”
- Repeat. Working in solidarity is a never-ending commitment.
Use the following resources to continue learning, holding yourself accountable, and acting in solidarity with others.