How to be an Ally
According to Dictionary.com, an ally is someone that aligns with and supports a cause with another individual or group of people. More specifically, a straight ally is an individual outside of the LGBTQ community that supports their fight for equality and rights, however, you can be an ally to any underrepresented group.
If you’re unsure what it means to be an ally and want to learn how to be an ally to underrepresented groups, this article will provide foundational steps to take toward allyship. Being an ally involves listening, getting educated, and speaking up.
By listening to what members of historically marginalized communities are saying, you become informed and gain the ability to help in increasingly beneficial ways. Allies are always willing to hear the opinions and feelings of people in these communities. Listen in person at rallies, talk to people in your community, or join social media groups dedicated to the cause(s) you are supporting.
Make it a point to learn more about diverse communities and different cultures. Seek to understand more about these groups of people and learn their cultures’ histories. Exploring new ways to learn about different cultures and creating a safe place to enable new perspectives is a great way to foster new ideas and learn a lot along the way.
Words are the best utility to combat oppression. If you see or hear someone doing or saying something hateful or ignorant, ask the receiver if it’s okay to intervene. Allies are there in times of need and should use their privilege and knowledge to disarm hateful behavior directed at marginalized groups.
When rallies have finished and months dedicated to these groups have passed, the communities will still be here. The best thing you can do as an ally is to stay involved all year long. In addition to the above, a surefire way to provide long-term help to these communities is through donations to organizations and charities that support them.
Listen, get educated, and do your part to help those that don’t look like you. For more ways to get involved and for detailed information on how to be an ally, check out the Guide to Allyship. If you want to create a more equitable workplace, check out “How to Be an Ally: Actions You Can Take for a Stronger, Happier Workplace” by Melinda Briana Epler. Visit our blog for additional resources like our Pride Month Q&As and a piece on the meaning of Juneteenth.