Published May 20, 2022
I can recall the exact incident of a morning commute on public transit where I was the brunt of nonstop racial slurs. The epithets, audible throughout the bus, reverberated against silent and seemingly indifferent passengers.
I understand that doing the right thing at the right time isn’t always easy but I could have used an ally—just one brave, caring individual—to stand up for me in that moment.
If we choose to learn from tough experiences, we equip ourselves with ways to address similar situations. We also help perpetrators understand the harm their behaviors cause. The broader, long-term impact: we become champions at building an inclusive community.
At Flipgrid, inclusion is the core of all that we do. As we honor the courageous actions of our LGBTQIA+ community and celebrate the inclusion that this community creates, we can build upon Pride Month momentum. One way is with this blog post, where we hope to inspire others to become better allies in thoughtful, impactful ways.
What is active allyship and who can be an ally?
Active allyship means someone is demonstrating intentional advocacy for underrepresented and underacknowledged communities (also referred to as marginalized groups). Anyone who isn’t a member of either group but takes action to support that group can be an ally and create significant impact—often with a single action.
- A young student explaining to their teacher that a classmate is not eating lunch because fasting during Ramadan requires abstinence from all food or drink, including milk.
- The grandmother who reminds a gay couple’s parents that love is more important than gender identity.
- White women who attend Black women conferences so they can carry back learnings to strengthen diversity and inclusion across their organization.
- Educators who prioritize social emotional learning and culturally responsive teaching in classrooms.
- Department heads who listen to and amplify diverse perspectives and create safe spaces for them.
- Friends who never use a transgendered person’s dead name and corrects people who do.
- A hiring manager who hires, highlights, and empowers the talents of neurodiverse team members.
- An organization that uses its platform to show the world the capabilities of the first, All-Black team to climb Mt. Everest. Full Circle Everest we celebrate your success and feel proud to have participated in this history-making event.
- Coworkers who indicate their preferred pronouns in email signatures and social media handles.
- Advertisers whose advertisements use inclusive language and include individuals using prosthetics or other types of adaptive equipment.
- The bystander who speaks up for someone being targeted with hate speech.
- Government officials who protect their most vulnerable citizens.
- Anyone ready to lead by example.
How can you be a better ally?
DiversityInc suggest starting with understanding and recognizing privilege then use that privilege (A.K.A. influence) to call out harmful behaviors that perpetuate bias and systemic oppression based on race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or physical ability.
My past workmate, Eve, who participated alongside me in an Uncomfortable Conversation panel in our workplace, began her ally journey this way. Since there is no one-way-fits-all approach, you may choose to start with attending bystander training, amplifying a marginalized group’s efforts already in progress, or educating yourself through Ted Talks.
A tip: Allyship work feels lighter and becomes more productive when you choose resources that support long-term learning and provide a community that holds you accountable as you become the type of ally you want to be.
You might also check out Guide to Allyship for getting basic, 101-type questions answered. Safe Horizon offers resources for ways to be an ally to AAPI communities. If you’re looking for education combined with current events and specific calls to action, give Allyship App a try. It offers a free and paid subscription. All financial support pays for youth educational programs.
Use Flipgrid to build effective allyship skills
Flipgrid offers a bunch of ways for you to build and engage with your learning community through video discussions.
For instance, using an array of camera features, you can create a video where you pose a question and invite people to share their responses. Your Flipgrid memberships gives you access to everything we offer, including our extensive and growing library of free allyship content which you can use as discussion starters.
What makes Flipgrid stand out from similar resources is our Trust and Safety team and our passionate, supportive, diverse community from around the world.
What do you do now?
Flipgrid encourages meaningful dialogue that can support understanding and allyship. Start learning. Unlearn bias behaviors. Be mindful of language choices. Look for ways to practice active, authentic allyship at work, school, and in your local community. Then lend your voice and act.
Here are more resources to help you create strong momentum in your allyship education and actions.
My name is Sonya Carmichael Jones. Thank you for reading this blog post. We hope it inspires you to be a better ally.