As we begin the Spring semester and a new calendar year, we wanted to provide questions or prompts to help you make resolutions for allyship in the upcoming year. Answer these questions individually or with someone else who is looking to (re)commit to allyship in the following year. Keep your answers somewhere close and regularly return to your answers to ensure you maintain your commitments.
Where do you experience hesitation around allyship?
Be realistic about where you have fallen short, possess anxiety, or are unclear on what needs to happen to be an ally. This can be around intervening with bias, responding to critique, or simply not knowing how to help make change at a more systemic level. When we start by knowing where we feel anxiety or hesitation, we can make more meaningful and informed decisions about what we can work toward.
What is at least one way you can learn more about social justice?
People – from academia to public discourse – are constantly publishing about injustice and inequity. What groups or histories have you understood little of? Seek out media that discusses a marginalized community’s history, experiences every day, and positively represents cultural/social aspects of this group. We encourage you look into both fact-based and personal/fictional narratives from people in that community or affected by that history. Doing so helps us understand what has happened but, more importantly, what daily effects it has on that community/the people affected. Is there a source you already consumed that helped you understand something about social justice? Do you remember all the lessons it taught you? If not, why not open it again to reinforce those lessons?
How might you introduce social justice topics in your workplace?
There are many ways that social justice and equity can be incorporated into one’s workplace, no matter where they work. You might start small and think about ways you can kick-start equity conversations on the individual level. Perhaps you start a semi-regular process of introducing a video, podcast, or article about a social justice topic to your team – particularly one relevant to your field. Maybe take time to recognize the work of underrepresented colleagues, including award nominations. By engaging others in your workplace toward social justice, we can create a collaborative environment for change.
In what ways can you incorporate equity in your personal life?
Social justice isn’t something we should embody in only one place, and only at one time – being equity-minded is an all-the-time commitment! When thinking about equity in our personal lives, this translates to thinking about how our most unconscious behavior can be re/modeled toward equity. It’s considering where our money goes, it’s seeing where our media has negative portrayals of marginalized communities, and it’s talking with your family about social justice issues, when you can.
Here are some articles to get you thinking about what you can do:
- Guide to Allyship – This open source resource has a great conversation about what an ally is, and a variety of ways allies can take action.
- New Year’s Resolutions for Better Allies – This short list provides multiple ideas of what you can do in your personal life.
- Attention Men: How to Be An Ally – This short article has important reminders for how men can be better allies (and insights that translate to any area of allyship)!
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