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. Now, more than ever, our society has become a polarizing place.
We all have personal experiences that impact how we view the world around us – these experiences have shaped our conscious and unconscious biases. A major component of being an ally is the ability to reflect and understand that your own lens is your starting point. From there, you can seek out information about the group you are supporting before moving in to action. Reflection and action are critical steps in allyship.
In order to build your allyship knowledge, you should:
- Intentionally engage with people whose background and experiences are different from yours,
- Listen to what other people have to say, and
- Identify ways that you can use your privilege to offer support.
Keep in mind, being an ally you must regularly listen to those around you, adapt your thinking and challlenge what you believe to be correct and become comfortable being uncomfortable.