Allyship is key to fostering a more inclusive workplace environment, and it can take many forms. It might look like shouting out your coworkers in instances where they may feel unseen, speaking up when you see someone saying or doing something culturally insensitive, or lending a listening ear to a colleague who may simply need space to vent. Regardless of its execution, true allyship has all of the following characteristics:
Whereas optical allyship is merely performative support, true allyship moves beyond statements of solidarity to real action. It is not enough to appear as though you are in support of a cause; you must do the work it takes to dismantle systems of oppression within your sphere of influence. Be, rather than seem.
To be a true ally is to acknowledge that your privilege may contribute to another person’s oppression. You must be willing to give up some of this privilege in an effort to create a more equitable environment. This may look like giving up your seat at the table so that other previously excluded voices can be heard. Remember, it’s not all about you.
When it comes to understanding the barriers to inclusion, your education is nobody’s responsibility but your own. Take an active approach to learning exactly what issues are affecting your colleagues. Do your own research, but listen to the needs expressed by those affected. This work cannot wait.
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