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7 Powerful Steps to Become an Active Ally.

Updated: Jun 2, 2023

We explore what 'active allyship' means and techniques we can all employ to help others and provoke change.

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What does true allyship mean to you? Are you aware of gaps in your knowledge and want to educate yourself further on the experiences of others and how to handle certain situations? Check out our team's tips below!


Breaking It Down: What is 'Active Allyship'?


An ally is someone who provides support and assistance to members of a marginalised group without being a part of that group themselves. This doesn't mean that an ally is without marginalizations - an ally's commitment to a cause may be driven by experiencing injustice in other areas.


By allying yourself with a marginalised group you strengthen their power and provide added legitimacy to their claims.


In moments of pushback, you can offer support and protection.


1. Embrace Vulnerability and Discomfort.


Being an ally is a constant learning journey. In advocating for people who have different experiences from you there is inherently a lot to learn. Culturally, we treat being wrong or not knowing something as failing, but these moments are actually opportunities for learning and growth!


2. Know How to Address Your Mistakes.


Being able to recognise your own shortcomings and address them maturely is a key allyship skill. Avoid getting defensive when someone corrects you or gives you constructive criticism of your allyship.


When corrected, simply saying thank you is enough. Being overly apologetic or engaging in self-victimising behaviour makes the situation about you and your feelings, rather than the marginalised people you are being an ally to.


3. Tap Into Your Own Sense of Justice.


Think about a time when someone has stood up for you or championed your voice and how that made you feel. We all have the power to make the people around us feel seen, heard and uplifted.


As an ally, you have been granted privileges and ways to succeed that the groups you are fighting for have less access to, but you can lessen that disparity through your allyship.


4. Keep Learning.


Allyship requires consistent work and effort. Your allyship learning journey is yours to navigate and it is important that you seek out education independently and not ask marginalised people to do the work for you.


Identify the areas of weakness within your own knowledge and begin to fill them in using trusted resources (such as our We Create Space Library).


5. Stand Up and Speak Out.


Finding the courage to be the person who speaks up when something isn't right can be difficult, but systems of injustice will continue to perpetuate themselves until we disrupt them. Be confident that even if it ruffles a few feathers, you are doing the right thing.


By visibly standing up for what you believe in you can help inspire these people to start their own allyship journeys.


6. Be Mindful in Confrontation.


As much as possible, try to meet people where they're at with an open mind and call in rather than call out. Displaying aggression, judgement and negativity will often trigger defensive behaviour.


Instead, try to approach the situation from a place of curiosity while illustrating the flaws in their argument. You can share your own opinions and values but allow them to come to their own conclusions.


7. Stay Focused and Committed


True allyship comes from a desire to do good and make a genuine difference in the lives of the people you are advocating for and it's important not to lose sight of this. Your allyship should not be driven by your own ego or a need for approval from others.


The people you're fighting for should always be the benefactors. Find internal satisfaction in knowing that you're doing your best to harness your individual power to try and better the world.


Conclusion


Active allyship is a powerful tool for change that we all have the ability to harness. Being an ally means living in awareness of systems of oppression and doing our best to disrupt and dismantle those systems where we can.


Allyship is like a muscle and the more you practise and get into the habit of addressing microaggressions, discrimination and bigotry in the world around you, the easier and more natural it will feel.


 

Did you know we consult with Businesses, ERGs and Change-Leaders providing bespoke corporate solutions? Through consultancy we design shared learning experiences, produce DEI insights and craft bespoke content that support individuals with strengthening their roles as change-agents within their communities and organisations. Find out more here.


We also organise FREE community events throughout the year! We offer a variety of ways to get involved - both online and in person. This is a great way to network and learn more about others' experiences, through in-depth discussion on an array of topics. You can find out what events we have coming up here. New ones are added all the time, so make sure you sign up to our newsletter so you can stay up to date!

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