The dictionary definition of ally is “a person or organization that cooperates with or helps another in a particular activity.” In today’s society, the term has taken on a more urgent and active meaning, however it is often misunderstood or misused to imply good intentions, often without action or with action for unproductive reasons.
For this reason, ally or allyship can be triggering terms for those who experience racism, oppression, and discrimination on a regular basis. Informed action is important for those who strive to be allies with marginalized people and communities.
According to Amélie Lamont in the guide below, being an ally doesn’t necessarily mean you fully understand what it feels like to be oppressed. It means you’re taking on the struggle as your own, and adding your voice or action alongside those who are oppressed. Being anti-racist is not a spectator sport, nor is it an individual activity. It requires recognizing and owning the privilege that you hold, to help carry the weight of oppression for, and in collaboration with, others.
There is a place for each of us in this work. Check out the Dos and Don’ts, and helpful tips to becoming a better ally in the resources below. Consider the reflection questions to get to work.