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noun. a state formally cooperating with another for a military or other purpose.
verb. combine or unite a resource or commodity with (another) for mutual benefit.
A lifelong process of building relationships based on trust, consistency, and accountability with marginalized individuals and/or groups of people. not self-defined—work and efforts must be recognized by those you are seeking to ally with.
We are all humans. We are all equal. We all need to check our privilege. We need to empathise with the struggle that some people go through. We need to be aware of the obstacles and the barriers in the way of some people on their journey. We need to be aware of the impact of prejudice and discrimination.
#HeForShe and #WhiteAlly are two labels I have heard used in the last few years as the grassroots communities encourage supporters to join their movements for change.
Much like #DiverseEd aims to make connections between the different communities, we need a term to capture everyone who works with others to further diversity and inclusion. At the #CollaborativeSupportForWomen event and our #DiverseEd event we have promoted the idea of Inclusive Allies:
Allyship is a process, and everyone has more to learn. Allyship involves a lot of listening. Sometimes, people say “doing ally work” or “acting in solidarity with” to reference the fact that “ally” is not an identity, it is an ongoing and lifelong process that involves a lot of work.
Inclusive allyship is:
How do we support as Inclusive Allies?
Allyship is about confronting othering, ‘isms’, privilege, prejudice. Allyship is about standing up and speaking out on social justice issues.
This is what we can do:
Being an Inclusive Ally is about white people, straight people and able-bodied people being aware of our privilege. We need to do the work, the inner work, to reflect, to learn and to grow. As an Inclusive Ally there are different roles we can take on to move the conversation and the agenda for diversity, equity and inclusion forward.
Allyship will not always be comfortable. We need to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. We need to check our privilege and realise that our momentary discomfort is not comparable to the long-term discomfort that people live with. Trauma and tragedy are the lived experienced for many people.
The last few months have been emotionally-charged. Our colleagues, our communities and our children who come from diverse backgrounds have potentially been deeply affected by the tragic murder of George Flood. I say potentially as we cannot assume that everyone has experienced and responded in the same way. To deepen your understanding I recommend reading this article on How to be an Ally During Times of Tragedy.
Becoming and being an Inclusive Ally requires intention, commitment and action. We need to lean into this space, no matter how hard, how painful and how uncomfortable it is.
For teachers and those working in education we need to consider the impact we can have in our classrooms and our schools. We need to be the change in teaching tolerance and acceptance, we need to celebrate diversity and create a sense of belonging for all identities. We need to ensure that our environments are physically and psychologically safe for everybody. We need to have the big conversations about the world to equip everybody with the knowledge, skills and values to navigate society.
There are 10 Things You Can Do to be an Ally:
There are some tips here on how to be a teaching tolerance ally here.
For leaders, being an ally is a journey. Even the most inclusive leaders admit they have room to grow. The work never stops, yet it is your choice to start, to practise, and to be better every single day. There is a training programme here you may be interested in on leading like an ally.
Following our most recent Diverse Educators conference in June we have a series of free training videos of the event available for staff CPD on the topics of Landscape, Curriculum, Culture and Leadership:
I have also started a series of weekly webcasts with a HR and D&I specialist called #FastForwardDiversityInclusion available here
My #DiverseEdPledge from the event is to be a better Inclusive Ally. Let’s all be upstanders for what is right, not bystanders for what is wrong.
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