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What It Means To Really Be An Ally

Do you remember a time before we were afraid of being “canceled” or of being called out by the “woke police”? A time when everyone thought things were easier and more finite… male, female, black, white, other. The sad reality is that wasn't history it was a false narrative of our reality. The people pushed to the margins—the gender and sexual diversity community, the People of Color, the differently-abled, the socioeconomically disadvantaged, the marginalized—were always there but the sad fact is no one paid attention to them. The marginalization of people considered “other” is a deep scar we all share and it is a result of centuries of systemic inequities put in place by the dominant majority in power. Systemic racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, and practices designed to ensure the oppression of others have caused us all to have a skewed and unfair perspective on not only our sisters, brothers, and siblings, but also on ourselves.

As the people who were forced to the margins begin to fight their way back in, the instinct is to push back and defend ourselves, "our territory", our "normal". This behavior is not only wrong, it is devastating to our path back to reconnection and a return to our humanity. We cannot heal our divides without evolving and educating ourselves on what led to these divides in the first place. Bringing people back in from the margins and making space for everyone begins with a single interaction, a single moment where we choose grace above all else. Then another single moment. And another. We must continue to make space and dismantle the practices and obstacles put in place to divide us.

If we can use these moments as an opportunity for grace and education instead of seeing the moments as an attack, then we can begin to heal our fractured society. Choose grace, always. Educate yourself on the multifaceted world of what makes us all diverse and uniquely beautiful. Make space to bring our siblings back in from the margins and reconnect our family.

In my book Know Justice Know Peace I explore the complexities behind "Allyship":

In order to activate as an authentic Advocate and Ally for all of humanity, we must engage in our own ongoing journey of inner work and personal healing. This journey is not an overnight process. You cannot just pick up a few books on inclusion, diversity, equity, and anti-racism and pin on your Ally badge. Additional exploration into the historical evolution of othering, bias, and bigotry, and the global nature of the marginalization of people may empower you to say, “I get it; now I’m an Ally.” You are not qualified to give yourself that designation. When you declare yourself an Ally, you are using the term as an indication of your place in this work as it pertains to feelings of anger, shame, and fear. When self-proclaimed, the title “Ally” can become a thinly veiled self-promoting moniker that serves as a false internalized identifier rather than the action it represents. Allyship is not a permanent state of being, it is not a self-appointed title, and it is not a fixed reward for any one action. You temporarily fulfill authentic Allyship for marginalized groups based on the actions you take in the moment and the choices you make to utilize your position to dismantle systemic othering. To be an Ally requires maintaining a delicate balance between persistent and intentional effort in order to uphold the valuable responsibility it represents. A true Ally is a person who does not strive to maintain the title but rather endeavors to remove the very need for the title.

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