ALLIES EVERYWHERE NEED TO SPEAK UP AGAINST ANTI-BLACK VIOLENCE, RACISM, MISOGYNY, COLONIALISM, HOMOPHOBIA, AND ALL FORMS OF DISCRIMINATION
Intersectional solidarity approaches have guided social justice and human rights movements for decades, helping to raise awareness about different experiences of disenfranchised and vulnerable communities. Experiences of disadvantage and stigma are based on many interlocking factors including but not limited to: gender, race, class, sexuality, age, ethnicity, ability, etc. Unfortunately, we still have a long way to go in achieving full equity and equality.
The recent systemic racism cases that we have seen against the black community, in particular the tragic incidents of George Floyd in the USA and Regis Korchinski-Paquet in Toronto, are truly alarming. The rally against black racism that happened in Toronto on May 30th demanding justice for Regis, speaks to the frustration of the community and the need for justice and a structural change at the highest levels.
There is also an urgent need for intersectional solidarity of all community stakeholders to amplify efforts in raising awareness about the challenges, and the silence experienced by vulnerable communities; whose needs and realities have been shadowed and rendered invisible.
White Ribbon believes that community awareness and sensitivity to our intersectional realities is a collective responsibility. It is crucial to stress the need and the importance of male allyship at a personal, community, and systemic level; especially in empowering and providing support sensitive to the realities of our communities.
All of us across social, cultural, gender and sexual identities, abilities, and economic locations need to be engaged to interrogate our privilege, learn about it, name it, and engage in dialogue with those who deny it by referring to the history of colonization and racism in Canada, and its ongoing impacts.
Anti-black violence and racist attitudes have detrimental impacts on broader communities of colour as a product of colonization, imperialism, and the lack of representation of those who do not fit white normative standards.
It is crucial to reiterate the importance of a life-long commitment to unlearning racism and other forms of oppression. Allyship is not a checklist, but rather a never-ending personal journey to end discrimination and violence.
Having brave conversations about white privilege, colonialism, and racism with our friends and family members is important. It is never too late to start unpacking these issues and how they function within broader institutions, including our justice and law-enforcement systems, and de-legitimize the human rights and opportunities of marginalized communities.
To prevent violence and harm in our communities, we need to encourage more men and boys to represent our wide and rich diversity and embrace their role as allies.
We call on allies in our community to speak up against racism, misogyny, homophobia, and all forms of discrimination, at all times, but especially when they believe someone needs support. We encourage allies to share words of support with those experiencing hard times and provide space to address harmful behaviours and share positive alternatives.
We urge allies to check in with their neighbours, friends, and family members, including survivors of violence and discrimination in their lives, to ensure they have the support that they need.
Male allyship needs to be encouraged at all layers of the society, from systemic to community levels; as it takes all of us to end the structural anti-black violence that we continue to witness every day.
We offer these four steps to help you demonstrate allyship in our everday life:
BELIEVE: Listen to and believe black voices speaking out against racism, discrimination, violence and oppression.
ENCOURAGE: Men and boys around you to take actions of solidarity and work with people in the community to raise awareness about the challenges of marginalized people including but not limited to racism, systemic discrimination, and anti-black violence.
SUPPORT: Check in on your neighbours, friends, and family members in need of support and refer them to available services in the community. You can also offer support by donating to anti-black violence prevention organizations and use your platform to amplify their voices.
TEACH other men and boys around you to be allies. Encourage allies and role models in your community to discuss allyship and solidarity with friends, family members, partners, and neighbours.
We offer the following additional resources to help you learn more about the role you can play in ending anti-black violence and racism.
Book: The Skin We’re In. Desmond Cole (2020)Book: White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism. Robin DiAngelo (2018)
5 Initial Ways you can be a better ally to people of colour
Desmond Cole: 'Canada insists on being surprised by its own racism'
Anti-racism resource collection. Resource Sharing Project
Lupita Nyong'o: Colourism is the daughter of racism
Justice for Regis
Black Lives Matter Toronto
A Fund for Black-led Mental Health Supports
MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORTS FOR BLACK COMMUNITIES