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The fast trending topic of allyship drew a sizable virtual audience to the first DLE Culture Chat of 2022 on Jan. 21st.
Expert Meg Bossong, Director of Intimate Violence Prevention/Response and Health Education at Williams College, explored the positive impact of allyship in workplaces, communities and organizations–and gave concrete examples for taking action to better support people with identities that are marginalized, disinvested, or different than our own.
To the question “How do I know I’m an ally?,” Meg offered the following:
- Your focus is on changing practices–NOT getting praise.
- People are giving you genuine feedback on how you treat them.
- You are doing it consistently, not just when you feel like it. This is something that should be true to what you believe in.
- You are working at multiple levels, which requires working to improve allyship within yourself and other areas such as your workplace and the institutions which you are a part of.
Looking to create an action plan for improving allyship personally and at work? Here are five factors, shared by Meg, that can promote real progress.
- Educate yourself about the experiences of others who have different identities
- Amplify marginalized voices by sharing their work or content
- Invest resources by patronizing businesses owned by marginalized people or donating to organizations run by and/or serving marginalized communities
- Speak up for those who aren’t properly represented
- Value discomfort as a part of learning, growth and change
The one-hour program featured breakout sessions for attendees to make new connections and share personal experiences on allyship. As one participant expressed, “Even though trying to make individual change within a large organization may seem difficult, educating yourself in an area that is accessible to everyone is something we should all try to improve upon.”