I recently attended a virtual Allyship workshop organised and hosted by Gavan Lennon and Mary Makinde. It was really important for me to attend a workshop as I wanted to know how best to support the people I love and how to be a good ally to them, and the workshop gave me a few ideas about how to continue that process. It’s important to note that it won’t always be easy, but by acknowledging that I have a privilege that others don’t, I’m accepting the responsibility to use it appropriately to benefit others.
Over the course of the workshop, we discussed the definition, history, nuances and (potentially!) problematic nature of allyship, using relevant examples and exploring how performative allyship was actually negative and acted counter-intuitively. There never felt to be any judgement, and we were encouraged to use our past mistakes as a springboard for good, rather than something that would hold us back.
The main takeaway of the workshop wasn’t a pat on the back for attending, but rather that we’d taken a step towards being an ally, but it was just the beginning. We had to be proactive and willing to unlearn the things we already ‘knew’, and also willing to teach ourselves rather than relying on other people to teach us things. Above all else, we learned that allyship was a lifestyle we had to work towards rather than something we could turn on and off when it suited us.
Look out for more allyship workshops happening next year in 2021.
Here are some reasons you should attend!
- Your first step to allyship is being proactive – attending does just that!
- Education is crucial, if you’re not sure where or how to start learning, this workshop is a great place.
- Knowledge and empathy are the best way to support those around you!
Being an ally isn’t easy work, but it’s important work – you can pledge to be an ally and work to respect everyone regardless of race and ethnicity, take responsibility to create an environment where diversity is celebrated, take positive action to prevent racial discrimination of any kind, educate yourself and others on racism, and stand up against it. Everything you need to know about making your pledge is available on our website.
There are also plenty of additional talks and webinars to attend in the future, all of which will help to improve your knowledge and awareness. Find out what events are planned in 2021.