It doesn’t take a special skill or talent to be an ally for marginalised groups. Anyone can do it. In fact, people of marginalized groups can and should be allies for each other as well. What is an ally? An ally recognizes that though they are not a member of a marginalized group(s) they support, they make a concerted effort to better understand the struggle of another’s circumstances.
Sometimes an ally may have more privilege and recognize that privilege in society. Banning together with marginalized groups help to defeat ignorance and intolerance.
An ally doesn’t necessarily mean that you can completely identify with the experiences of injustice of the oppressed group, but it does mean that you will stand with them and for them in the face of discrimination.
Through personal actions, a more inclusive environment can be fostered by:
- Becoming a sponsor – champion someone from an underrepresented community to support career growth and increase company retention.
- Calling out inappropriate behavior – People in privileged positions have the ability to call out unacceptable behavior towards underrepresented people and be heard.
- Tasking all employees with getting involved with diversity and inclusion related tasks.
- Using inclusive language – Be aware of gendered terms, and use language which embraces all walks of people.
- Trying different recruitment methods which are inclusive and increase representation - get out into your community to promote your opportunities with representation in mind.
- Recognizing privilege and use it to amplify underrepresented voices.
- Following an array of voices – challenge yourself to cross-examine your bias after learning from different voices.
It takes effort to make change, resilience and sticking power to see it through.
Start with 3 things you can do and then communicate what you are doing, seek support and report on change over time. When people see change happen watch interest in what you are doing grow ...............
As an ally herself, Jenn Hazlehurst knows how powerful it can be when individuals use their position of influence and privilege to drive the D&I agenda.