The theme of this week’s paper is allyship.
It’s interesting to see what themes present themselves each week. We rarely plan an issue around a theme unless it’s a special occasion. This week our freelancers worked on two articles related to allyship – the question of how we can be empathetic and understanding of others, and how to turn that understanding into action. In fact, the article on extinction could also be an ex-ample of allyship with another species.
Allyship is more than supporting others. It’s taking action to improve things based on the belief that if life is better for some of us, it’s better for all of us. It goes to the heart of the true meaning of community.
Allyship is strategic, active, collaborative, respectful, public, based in listening and love.
There are many ways to be an ally. Anyone can do it. A student can stand up for a friend. A teacher can make sure to include the work of diverse people in their curriculum. A business leader can make sure business practices are inclusive, or design a new program if the existing ones fall short. A town can use its resources to equip the people on the periphery to accomplish more. Allyship is not charity. It’s working side by side.
Allyship takes work. You have to listen to the experience of others without judgment and you have to set aside your own defensive or insecure feelings. It takes personal maturity. The first step is just to listen. Only then can you move into action; and the action has to be grounded in a real need of the community. This one is tough. What the community needs and what you have to offer might not match right away.
In the broadest sense, the pandemic is an example of allyship. Across the world, people are taking precautions not just to protect themselves and their loved ones, but to protect others whom they may never meet.
Be an ally this week. Look for a small thing you can do to increase your understanding of another person.