It has been two years since 2020. Holy shit. I mean I anticipated typing this sentence, but just had a slight panic attack processing it. Anyways, back to my original thought: it has been two years since 2020.
Two years since we drew back the curtains and peered into the reality of what it is like to be Black in America. For a short period of time, we all (barely) experienced the fear, desperation, trauma, pain, and violence. And in that moment, so many committed to doing better… to be better.
So many stepped up and stated they were allies to the Black community, and all marginalized groups experiencing oppression at the hands of America’s racist systems. Initially, this sounded amazing. However, things fell silent, and so did these so-called allies. My thought is people do not know the true definition of ally.
It is not a moment in time. It is not a statement. It is not a trendy sentence. It IS a commitment. It is an active pursuit of learning and unlearning. It is standing up in the face of adversity. It is challenging and obliterating systems. It is creating spaces that welcome and support all, regardless. It is voting. It is being aware. It is a series of actions and the ability to evolve.
Stating that we are allies is not the same as actually being one. I speak from personal experience. I used to state that I was an ally to the LGBTQ+ community, yet failed to advocate, educate, and protect members except for when moments were blatantly challenging. The reality is it as an ongoing effort. Hard truth, but we are not actually allies if we only step up when it’s convenient for us.
Being an ally means putting your comfort on the back burner. And while the idea of discomfort is enough to stop most people from doing things, it should be what inspires you to move forward. Remember, growth does not happen when you are comfortable. Most importantly, though, being an ally isn’t about you. It is about prioritizing the safety, well-being, and success of those who are entirely erased. It is a matter of life and death…