Last year, around this time, I shared a post about supporting Pride month as a straight woman living in LGBTQ-friendly San Francisco. In that post, I mentioned that Pride demonstrations provide an opportunity to be an ally to a community that needs support.
Now, with protests, marches and demonstrations against racism and police brutality ongoing in all 50 states (and 18 countries!), I wanted to revisit that piece and share some updated lessons on allyship.
- Ally is a verb. If you are committed to being an ally to marginalized communities, that work never stops. To ally is to engage in an ongoing practice of continual listening, learning, amplifying the voices of others and speaking up when it may be more comfortable to keep the peace.
- It takes hard work. Do not expect anyone to teach you or show you their experience. There are endless resources available to you, just a Google search or bookstore away. Take responsibility for finding answers to questions as they arise, and learn the historical context behind what’s happening in today’s current climate so you can speak with confidence when fighting injustice.
- Silence is not allyship. It may be hard to find the balance between listening and speaking up, but it is critical that you not be silent. If you’re not sure you have the right words, look to the community in question and amplify/share their voices instead. Be vocal and visible in your support, while resisting the urge to center yourself in the narrative.
- Donate what you have. Whether it’s time, money, a visible platform, or something else, there are tangible ways for everyone to give support. Analyze the resources you have at your disposal, and find meaningful ways to contribute. As the quote that has gone viral on social media recently says, “A revolution has many lanes…Just keep your foot on the gas.”
- You will make mistakes. Being an ally is not a perfect science, and requires great humility and willingness to grow. Instead of reacting defensively to feedback, try to learn from it and incorporate it into your allyship moving forward. It may be uncomfortable, but in the words of Maya Angelou, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”
As mentioned in last year’s post, the first Pride Parade was a riot. It may seem like we are in an unprecedented time of civil unrest and upheaval, but our nation’s history is filled with collective action, from the March on Washington in 1963 to the Stonewall Riots in 1969, to the Women’s March in 2017, to the fight we’re witnessing right now.
For more ways to support the Black community, we recently shared 5 Things Corporate America Can Do Besides Tweeting to Combat Racism on our LinkedIn page. Follow us on LinkedIn for more content like this throughout Pride month and beyond.
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