With COVID-19 now confirmed in all 50 states, many of us are starting what looks like at least three weeks of staying as home, social-distancing, as much as possible. If we can, we’re working from home. Bars and restaurants in many states are closed or limited to takeout only. And in the wake of self-quarantine actions being taken by many across the country, we’re also seeing several groups of marginalized identity getting left behind.
There are folks with disabilities left without care as adult care centers join the waves of mass closures. Hourly or bar/restaurant workers whose stores are closing temporarily, or worse, for good, are going without pay for an anticipated three weeks at minimum. Immigrants without quarantine options are at high risk for contracting the virus, and low risk for being granted access to the country. People of Asian ethnicities are being profiled and experiencing racism, even down to students in classrooms.
If these things raise a red flag for you, you may be asking yourself: How can I participate in Allyship behaviors while I’m stuck at home? To help answer that question over the next few posts, I’ll be exploring the top three ways to #ActLikeAnAlly–even when in Quarantine.
Outside of the top three, the first of which I’ll get to in a second, the number one way to act like an Ally, especially for immunocompromised, elderly, and high risk communities is to stay at home. Stay away from others. That one thing can help prevent the spread of the virus (not to mention any other illness!) to these communities. That said, let’s move on to today’s Allyship Tip!
#1: Seek and Socialize Knowledge
Allyship is rooted in empathy and understanding between members of marginalized identity and those who hold privilege. The first step to acting like an Ally? Learning about those whose identity is different from yours–and making sure to learn from the horse’s mouth. It’s important to focus on authorship when learning about any marginalized identity. How could I tell you about the queer black experience, when I am a cis straight white woman? Intaking knowledge and media produced by those whose identity you want to learn about is critical to ensuring that your Allyship is fostering a partnership with marginalized community directly.
Additionally, if you are a person of privilege, I should note that it is our job to seek out this information, this knowledge, to kick-start our own learning. For centuries, and even now, people who hold marginalized identity need to work harder to achieve the same rewards those who are privileged get purely for existing. It is the responsibility of those with privilege to take on the burden of our own education and learning, and not put that work on others.
Finally, while we are all in our houses pointedly not socializing physically, it is great to socialize information you find, especially in our increasingly-virtual world! Tweet that article. Share that video. Start a dialogue with those around you, and around the world.
Let’s Get Started
So where can you find these resources? I’ve created a living library of places to get started, with media choices from books to blogs, and podcasts to videos. My Allyship Resources Page is a good place to start, but I also encourage you to join the conversation online with #ActLikeAnAlly on Twitter, and share any great resources you find with me on my Contact Page.
Just because our normal routines look a little differently while the world reacts to the Coronavirus doesn’t mean that we forget about or stop fighting for those who hold marginalized identity. You can still take action at home, on your own, with family, with friends, to keep acting like an Ally. Over the next weeks, I’ll explore the next two steps you can participate in to #ActLikeAnAlly–even in quarantine.