Becoming an Active Ally
Part 3 of a 3-part blog
In becoming an active ally, we can apply what we learn from the Black Lives Matter movement to other communities and confront different unconscious or implicit biases we have, whether that be in relation to disability, LGBTQIA+ or different religions to name a few. Below are some commitments of an active ally.
The difference between not being racist and being anti-racist is similar to being an ally versus an active ally. It is about taking the steps to change the system and hold people accountable. This can range from pointing out and educating others on microaggressions, like incorrect pronouns, and why their “jokes” are actually harmful, to confronting your own unconscious biases, to impacting the equality in your organisation. Consider what is currently in your power to change and what you could make your power to change. In terms of leadership, be a role model. Treat everybody with the same levels of respect and opportunity. Bear in mind, big changes start small – work your way up without fear of making mistakes from time to time.
Three words that I would like to draw attention to are listen, empathise and uplift. It has probably taken a level of trust for someone to want to confide in you and share their lived experience. Even if their story feels far from what you know and you feel you cannot relate to it, everyone can listen and try to empathise regardless. Lived experiences are not necessarily your experiences which gives them all the more reason to have the time and space to be heard. If you ask the other person a question, consider if this is led by compassion and interest or provocation and interrogation. Think about when curiosity becomes nosiness and which side of this line your question falls on.
If there is an action that you both feel should be taken, look at this from the point of view of ‘how do we do this together?’ as opposed to ‘how do I do this?’. Remain willing to talk, be open-minded, inclusive and a listener. You may want to reflect on whether you are speaking on their behalf and remind yourself to listen and uplift but not to drown out the other person’s voice. Aligning what we say and do with our values will put us in the best position to implement justice.
Disability History Month runs from November 22nd – December 22nd each year.
#equality #diversity #inclusion #disabilityhistorymonth #livedexperiences #leadership #selfimprovement #learning #growthmindset #activeally #microaggressions #unconsciousbias #personalmastery