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Year in Review: What Does It Mean to Be an Ally?

This piece is part of our 2021 Year in Review, a reflection on the issues and causes that mattered most this year – and the tangible ways you can support before year-end.

This year, allyship had its moment. Ironically, it even became the dictionary.com word of the year a few days after Andrew chose this as part of our year-end series. But, as we’ve discussed, allyship is more than a gesture. It’s a commitment. And with it comes sacrifice. We have to shed notions that make us feel self-assured, sit with the discomfort that comes with learning and unlearning, and remain persistent even – and especially – when the spotlights have faded and people start looking away. 

TAKE ACTION

As friends and family members: Review our curated set of best practices for having tough conversations with your family.

As co-workers: Read the Women in the Workplace report – specifically the section on allyship – that highlights opportunities to support marginalized voices where you work.

Confront the weaponization of white women tears.

The mainstream feminist movement has historically been led by and catered to able-bodied, cishet white women. This ignored the needs of diverse women in this nation and perpetuated the same oppressive systems feminism aims to disrupt. As we brace ourselves for a fight to preserve the most basic bodily rights for cis and trans women, learn more about white feminism and how you can broaden your perspective for the wellbeing of us all.

Avoid spiritual bypassing.

The wellness industry aims to heal but often encourages practitioners to adopt a false sense of positivity in the process. Spiritual bypassing leaves little room for introspection and criticism of wellness spaces and the industry at large. Melissa, a South Asian meditation and yoga instructor, offers actions for how to address it and choose another practice.

Fight racism within Gen Z.

Gen Z is often considered the most progressive and socially conscious demographic in the country. But that doesn’t negate how divided the group can become. Then-high-school student Lena explores the political and social polarization of youth and how we can address racist actions in the Gen Z community.

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