Being an Ally - 12 Keys

Everyone benefits when we learn to be good allies to ourselves, to members of groups we belong to, and to individuals and groups with identities different from our own.  In choosing to be an ally we enhance our own integrity and help create the world we want.  While the person or group we are an ally to may benefit from our actions, we recognize that in choosing to be an ally we are choosing something that is good for ourselves.  Anyone can be an ally to anyone else.  This includes men being allies for women, members of a racial group being allies to other racial groups, heterosexuals being allies for GLBT, gentiles being allies for Jews, and so on until every group is included.

  1. Listen to members of other groups without expecting them to take responsibility for teaching you about their oppression or their group.

  2. Take independent initiative to learn correct information about other groups, their histories, cultures, oppression, and liberation.

  3. Take independent action against the oppression of a group, while also following the lead of members of the group.

  4. Support members of other groups to assume leadership roles.

  5. Work toward long-term friendships with members of other groups as well as your own.

  6. Engage in personal growth and recovery from the ways the society has caused you to internalize oppressive thoughts, feelings, attitudes, actions or unawareness with regard to other groups.  (Structured listening exchanges are an excellent tool here.)

  7. Support members of other groups to recognize their full potential and power, and to act on that potential and power in their organizations and in the world.

  8. Support people to resist their own internalized oppression.

  9. Understand the significance of members of other groups having strong relationships with each other and support those relationships.

  10. Assist other members of your own group to also become active, skillful allies to other groups.

  11. Be active in changing institutional policies and practices that result in limited participation and/or success for members of any group.

  12. Risk making mistakes.  If you are being bold enough to make a difference, you will almost certainly make some mistakes.  Clean them up, learn from them, and move forward.

Barbara J. Love and Russ Vernon-Jones (2004)

Connecting with Allies       




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