The world feels like it is crumbling apart. Each day we are faced with unprecedented news and new fears. It’s scary and it’s horrifying, and I am filled with so much hope and joy because of it.
It takes complete destruction for rebuilding, to create a new way of living and perception. This revolution and joining together of communities has been sparked by incidents that should never have occurred, but they have forced people to address problems within our systems and within our own minds.
So, what does it mean to be an ally? To me, being an ally is standing up for the rights of a group of people as if they were your own. To use your privilege and transfer the benefits to those who lack it. To put others before you and acknowledge that while you may feel pain, that this conversation is not about you.
An important part of being an active ally is learning the history and struggles of the group of people you are supporting. This doesn’t mean that you should expect them to educate you. This is something you must research on your own.
Make sure to listen to those around you, to their opinions, concerns and experiences. Take the time to question your biases and challenge your assumptions. Working on ourselves and understanding our language is an important part of becoming an effective ally.
With this, we must remember that we are all human, chances are, you will make mistakes. Accept criticism gracefully, learn and grow from it.
Being an ally is more than being sympathetic toward those who are being discriminated against. It’s more than believing in the cause and for equality. Being and ally means you must be willing to act and to take action together with others in the pursuit of ending oppression.
Keep your mind and heart open. Together we are stronger and we can and will make the world a better place.