How to Be An Ally
Ally. n. A person or organization that cooperates with or helps another in a particular activity.
Accomplice. n. A person who joins with another in carrying out some plan (especially an unethical or illegal plan)
The above definition of “accomplice” may give you pause. In the context of social justice, though, being an accomplice acknowledges the fact that certain laws and cultural norms in the current status quo are used to maintain inequality and continue to be oppressive to folks fighting for their liberation. As an ally to these people, you may decide to participate in public protest or civil disobedience in a way that breaks the law. How far are you willing to go to support others in their liberation project? That is a question only you can answer for yourself.
Please read at least two of these articles on how to be an effective ally (or accomplice) to different identity groups:
- What commonalities do you see across these different articles?
- Create a list for yourself that summarizes what you’ve learned in these articles
- How might you relate to these ideas during your journey?
- Remember the conversation about “interlocking identities” in Unit One. As you think about your work as an ally to the organization(s) you will visit on your journey, how do your interlocking identities shape your expectations?
- Most of us have a combination of agent (privileged) and target identities. How does your experience being the target of discrimination make you a better ally and accomplice to folks with other and different target identities?
- Are there items on these lists that you can start integrating into your life, at home, church, work, community, with your family?
Take A Break!
Listen to this version of one of Bob Marley’s best-loved justice songs, “Redemption Song”. There are scores of versions of this song on YouTube; this one is a live performance by Ziggy Marley and Lauryn Hill.