LTE: How to be an Ally

This is the Trump era and minority rights are at risk. So, if you are reading this I’m sure you want to be involved in producing change through grassroots movements, protests or dialing up your politicians. This is a list of how to navigate predominately people of color spaces and movements so you are not just a sympathetic white ally stepping on toes or even an aggressive one in safe spaces bulldozing achievements of Black Lives Matter, native movements, and other people of color groups that are working hard to keep intact. This is about being a respectful and useful ally to your people of color neighbors and friends. Take notes and stay open minded.

  • Don’t infiltrate people of color movements, Facebook groups, or circles with your own agenda and views. Here in this ally role, you follow the lead, you don’t lead. You don’t lead conversations but you can ask questions. You don’t insert your narrative into the movement or group, you listen to learn so you can be a better human and advocate for social justice.
  • If you have a platform, share it.
  • Pass the mic to a black man or woman near you. Pass the power too.
  • If you know of opportunities lift a brother or sister up.
  • If there is a speaking event, invite them because first-hand knowledge on race is authentic and not the same as looking through a lens. Lift up black stories and black voices. From black viewpoints.
  • Remember your role and don’t overstep your role or your boundaries. Just because the people of colors you are around today are comfortable with you doesn’t mean the next won’t challenge you or confront you
  • Don’t attack minorities you are already a majority.
  • Make your own projects with your own group of allies
  • Help people of color in the ways they have asked for help. Not in ways you invent to be helpful.
  • Listen to understand. Speak less.
  • Be culturally aware
  • Be self-aware
  • Find a lane in any movement without disrupting or taking away from other cultures.
  • Find a passion or use within a movement.
  • Put your money where your mouth is. Donate to already established causes, writers, activists, and politicians.
  • Know that you aren’t in an oppressed demographic So don’t compare your life to black people or other minorities. It’s not comparable.
  • Know that we weren’t lying about excessive force or surveillance so when you join the cause you are going to be experiencing violence first hand too. It might hurt.
  • Ask the protesters at Standing Rock.
  • If you see an altercation with the police record it. See, a real ally has to be ready to risk their life too and be ready to go to jail like us too for black lives or social justice.
  • Don’t run when the heat is on.
  • When you talk about feminism, include affordable housing, female incarceration rates, homelessness, not just what’s easy to talk about
  • You are on the team but you have a role as an ally, not a leader. Follow the lead of people of color because it’s our movement. You are a friend to the movement.
  • Take advice. Don’t take it personally. Keep your mind open. Be civil when you disagree.

-Danielle Holliday

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