Welcome back! We are so excited to be back on campus and ready to jump into allyship and advocacy. We are kicking this year off with some reflective questions to get your allyship wheels turning. Consider these questions and how you can further explore your answers in the future.
Why do you pursue allyship?
One’s motivation for allyship can be complicated, but shouldn’t be ignored. When we dig deeper into our motivations around allyship and advocacy, we begin to understand where we still need to grow and in what ways we need to check ourselves. How central are your motivations to create change for a better world and how does that play out at work, at home, and within your personal relationships? How do you position or view yourself when thinking about allyship? Do you do this work for or with marginalized communities?
How do you handle mistakes?
Mistakes and missteps will happen in being an ally, there is no way to avoid it. Our response to making mistakes can have a huge influence on the effect of our allyship. What is your first reaction when someone tells you that you hurt them while trying to be an ally? Where might the desire to be the “perfect” ally stem from? How do you frame apologies and/or steps taken to correct the damage you have done? How do you (not) keep the person/people harmed at the center of your response?
Who do you listen to?
Allyship is as much of a practice of listening as it is a practice of doing. Listening to marginalized communities about their experiences and desires for change should inform how we all choose to act in allyship. How often are you seeking out new voices when it comes to issues of social justice? Are you trying to understand these issues from multiple perspectives? Do you listen to marginalized communities outside of social justice, including seeking out media with diversity in it?
How will you take your actions further?
Allyship is a great initial step for all people in the fight for social justice and equity. However, allyship is just that: a first step. In what ways do your actions actively question and resist systems of oppression interwoven into your life? How are you bringing other people into the journey of allyship? What are you willing to risk to deconstruct the barriers that face marginalized communities in your work?
Additional Resource Recommendations
- Book: Is Everyone Really Equal?: An Introduction to Key Concepts in Social Justice Education—Sensoy and DiAngelo discuss key concepts all allies should know.
- Video: Getting Called Out: How to Apologize—Franchesca Ramsey discusses how we can do better to make amends for mistakes in allyship.
- Article: Heartset and Mindset for Adversarial versus Deep Listening—This guide provides helpful tips for learning how to listen as an ally.
- Podcast: Out in the Open—This episode features Feminista Jones—an activist and social worker—discussing how she wants co-conspirators rather than allies in the fight for social justice.
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