How to Be a Strong Ally to People with Marginalized Identities
- Assume that oppression in some form is everywhere, everyday.
- Notice how oppressions are denied, minimized, and justified.
- Read books and articles to increase your understanding of, and sensitivity to, the needs, aspirations, and concerns of others.
- Understand and learn from the history of racism, heterosexism, ableism, ageism, etc.
- Understand the connections between oppressions, economic issues, and other forms of injustice.
- Take a stand against injustice.
- Be strategic. Decide what is important to challenge and what is not.
- Intervene when someone disrespects or demeans another because of their race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, age, economic status, etc.
- Support the leadership of people who have historically been oppressed.
- Don’t do it alone. Build coalitions and networks, work with already established groups.
- Talk with your children and other young people about oppression.
- Work to bridge differences rather than insist on similarity of views.
- Learn as much as you can about the shifting tactics of hate groups.
- Don’t assume you know what’s best for an individual or group.
- Listen to the stories, experiences, and voices of others.
- Reflect on the impact of your own background and challenge your own cultural assumptions.
- Notice who is the center of attention and who is the center of power.
- Eliminate outdated and unhelpful terms such as “minority, oriental, handicapped, homo, etc.”
- Write letters to the editors and management of newspapers, television and radio stations expressing support for efforts to reduce prejudice, discrimination, and oppression.
- Notice and name dynamics of privilege and oppression that occur in coalitions.
- Form partnerships with communities and congregations of color.
- Work with advocacy groups for bisexual, gay, lesbian and transgender people’s rights.
- Connect service efforts with advocacy for economic justice.
- Create accessible spaces and communities.
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