This week I came across an article forwarded by someone on the Coalition of Anti-Racist Whites (CARW) list serve. The article, entitled Interrupting the Cycle of Oppression: the Role of Allies as Agents of Change, contains the definitions and explanations I crave to better understand what being an ally means and some steps I can take to get to the point where I would actually start to believe I lived my life as an ally to my family and friends instead of just another well-meaning white/straight/non-adopted/able/middle class person.
I hope you'll read it and join me in working to become agents of change. Post in the comments, I'd love to hear what you've learned or enjoyed about the article.
In addition to grooving on the content, the writing style pleases me. The author engaged me immediately and continued to make the topic approachable, enjoyable and interesting. Here's the first bit of it:
The Role of Allies as Agents of Change
The Rev. Dr. Andrea Ayvazian
Many of us feel overwhelmed when we consider the many forms of systemic oppression that are so pervasive in American society today. We become immobilized, uncertain about what actions we can take to interrupt the cycles of oppression and violence that intrude on our everyday lives. One way to overcome this sense of immobilization is to assume the role of an ally. Learning about this role-one that each and every one of us is capable of assuming- can offer us new ways of behaving and a new source of hope.
Through the years, experience has taught us that isolated and episodic actions - even dramatic, media-grabbing events - rarely produce more than a temporary blip on the screen. What does seem to create real and lasting change is highly-motivated individuals- usually only a handful at first- who are so clear and consistent on an issue that they serve as a heartbeat in a community, steadily sending out waves that touch and change those in their path. These change agents or allies have such a powerful impact because their actions embody the values they profess: their behavior and beliefs are congruent.
read the rest of the article here: Interrupting the Cycle of Oppression: the Role of Allies as Agents of Change