An ally is not merely a passive bystander but a proactive agent of change, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with marginalized communities in the relentless pursuit of justice and equality. With each resolute step, an ally amplifies the voices that have long been stifled, challenges the status quo, and endeavors to dismantle the barriers that perpetuate systemic discrimination. But what truly defines the essence of an ally? 

Understanding Allyship

An ally is an individual or community who actively supports and advocates for individuals or groups that face systemic barriers or discrimination. Allies strive to use their privilege and influence to amplify marginalized communities, effect positive change, and dismantle oppressive structures. True allies are committed to ongoing learning, empathy, and taking tangible actions to create equitable and inclusive spaces for all.

Below is a word cloud formed by the results of our survey on what is an ally:

7 Ways to Cultivate Authentic Allyship

Allyship is a constant learning process to be better than before. It takes practice like any other skill. Below are a few ways you can cultivate allyship in your daily life:

Contribute to Social Change

Authentic allyship comes from putting words into action. Individuals who advocate for social justice and equality must contribute to meaningful societal change, paving the way for a more equitable and just future. Some examples are donating to nonprofits, volunteering your time, marching in peaceful protests, writing letters to local politicians advocating for change, and more.

Take Accountability

In the process of learning, there may be missteps. Instead of sweeping things under the rug, it is far better to accept what happened and take accountability. It proves that you are committed to learning from your mistakes and are actively moving toward progress. Be open to receiving feedback and learn from your experiences.

Confronting Biases 

Systemic issues occur over generations and are embedded into our society. Naturally, some unconscious biases linger in our perception of others. Confronting these biases and keeping each other accountable is an excellent demonstration of allyship. 

Educate Yourself

Take the time to educate yourself on social issues, systemic biases, and the experiences of marginalized communities. Read books, articles, and listen to podcasts that provide diverse perspectives. Understanding the challenges others face is a crucial first step in becoming an effective ally.

Amplify Underrepresented Voices

Use your platform to amplify the voices of those often marginalized or overlooked. Share articles, stories, and achievements from underrepresented communities on social media. In doing so, you help promote diversity and ensure that a broader range of voices are heard.

Be Mindful of Microaggressions

Educate yourself on common microaggressions and be mindful of your language and actions. Microaggressions are subtle, often unintentional, expressions of bias that can contribute to an unwelcoming environment. Strive to be aware of these and actively work to eliminate them from your interactions.

Create Lasting Allyship

In a world rife with inequality and discrimination, genuine allyship stands as a potent force for driving meaningful and lasting change. If you want to take the first step toward allyship, consider beginning with diversity recruitment strategies. 

Since 2003, the Professional Diversity Network has supported organizations with diversity recruitment solutions. With resources that include exclusive partnerships with organizations that include NAACP, National Urban League, and International Association of Women, along with our career fairs, we offer a full suite of diversity recruitment solutions that incorporate DEI for employers and job seekers alike.