Greetings girlies! It’s RACHAEL here and I feel like we need to talk about what it means to be an ALLY! Lately it seems like the term is being thrown around like the hottest new accessory but without a lot of us realizing what it actually MEANS to be an ally, and that’s problematic! Making the choice to be an ally is DEFINITELY the right thing to do! Of COURSE we should be using our privileges to help our brothers and sisters in marginalized communities, but we have to make sure we’re doing so in a way that actually benefits them and doesn’t just glorify ourselves!
So how can you be a good, EFFECTIVE, ally for your friends and the people across the world? Here are some really easy ways to start:
1. LISTEN ALWAYS. The most IMPORTANT thing we can do as allies is to listen to those we’re allying ourselves with! Listen to as many of them as you can and don’t try to speak over them. Now is the time to listen and learn without getting mad or offended. Being and ally is not about YOU! It’s just like being a good friend, things are not always about YOU and you have to be okay with that!
2. Seek out Marginalized Voices! More often than not our social media just reflects back our own community so you have to ACTIVELY seek out those different voices! Follow black people on twitter, read more LGBTQ authors, start paying attention to people different from you and that will lead you to even more new voices to appreciate!
3. DO. YOUR. RESEARCH! Girls you HAVE GOT to do some googling here! It’s not up to People of Color to explain racism and oppression to you. I know I’ve made that mistake before, and even though it was totally well intentioned I unknowingly placed a burden on the very community I was trying to help! Not good! We’ve got to take responsibility for OURSELVES and our knowledge!
4. Give your TIME! Use your privilege to support the movements! Join in on the marches, attend local community group meetings, ask HOW you can help! But just remember you’re not there to be a leader of the movement, you’re there to SUPPORT! So make posters, chant loudly, and ENGAGE with the community!
5. Most importantly call out injustice WHEREVER you find it! It will be HARD and uncomfortable! You may have to stand up to your friends, relatives, teachers, and even strangers but I promise you it makes a difference! It makes a difference to anyone who is too scared to say something, it makes a difference to the person you stood up to, and it makes a difference to you! YOU CAN DO THIS GIRLIES!
This is OUR world, and we’re going to shape it into something BEAUTIFUL, TOGETHER! Do you have any stories about being an ally you’d like to share?! We want to hear ’em!
XOXO – Rachael