5 Ways to be an Ally during COVID19

Artwork from Amplifer — Aaron Humby

Before we get started, I want to send a special thank you to all of the teachers and educators. It is Teacher Appreciation Week. I am joining the chorus of people sending you my thanks. Teachers from early learning, K-12, higher education, formal and informal teachers – THANK YOU! Thank you for teaching others how to think about race, thank you for attending to the social and emotional wellbeing of students and families, and thank you for your service. 

How to be an Ally During COVID19

COVID19 is happening to all of us. It is a global pandemic and I can’t think of anyone who is wholly immune to its effects. That said many of us are experiencing the pandemic differently than others and there are ways we can act to help support each other right now.

1. Realize your white and other privileges – White people you still have white privilege. You can walk down the street and not get told “Go home!” because you’re Asian. For many white people, you have the privilege afforded and amassed of having access to a strong(er) network of support because of white birth privileges – networks that can help you attain food, information, shelter, jobs, etc. Use your white privilege to hold other white people accountable for their actions.

If you’re not white realize your privileges – we all have at least a few privileges. Such as you have the privilege of being English literate, access to the internet since this is written in English and published online. Recognizing our privileges also reminds us when we need to use them to support others.

2. Don’t Hoard Opportunities – Earlier this week Equity Matters shared a Facebook post encouraging POCs, especially Black and Brown people, to participate in SCAN (a community-wide scientific effort to assess where asymptomatic people). In the post, which Fakequity reposted, Heidi mentioned asking white people to step back and wait before signing up for a test kit since they need more Black and Brown people in the sample size. A white person commented we were denying white children the opportunity to get tested. Nope, not what we said.

When white people step forward first to ask for testing or other amenities, intentional or unintentional opportunity hoarding happens. Systems don’t discriminate so we need white allies to realize when they are hoarding opportunities and to step back to make room for POCs first. White people can get their turn as well or do a little more work (e.g. travel farther, take a less desirable time slot, etc.) to make sure POCs get what they need first.

Artwork from Amplifer art by Nana Daye

3. Share – Along with not hoarding opportunities, now is a great time to be an ally by sharing. If you have disposable income or some savings you can share, please do. Give as much as you’re comfortable. Right now, needs are acute. Many POCs facing job losses, furloughs, or other financial challenges. POC families who were ok a few weeks ago are now stressing out about how to pay the rent, provide food for families, and survive. Along with this many undocumented families and people with disabilities do not qualify for the US government’s stimulus checks. In many ways, these are people who need the funds the most. If you would like to donate to efforts to get money to people with disabilities and undocumented immigrants, click the links to do so.

Sharing doesn’t just mean money. Share resources, time, information, and share by not buying everything at the store. A friend who is connected to the Somali community called me to say her Somali families were stretched because their local Safeway was running low on staples (e.g. dried beans, lentils, flour, rice, etc.). She said her families didn’t have a lot of extra money or time to drive around to multiple stores to shop. Buying just what you need and not hoarding helps POCs too.

If you can give blood, please make an appointment at the blood bank. I know several people who needed blood transfusion and platelets since COVID19 stay at home orders – thanks to the donors who gave.

4. Realize Safety Looks Different for POCs – Safety looks and feels different for different people. For some safety, if found through social distancing and only essential trips and visits out. For others, culturally or because of disabilities, safety may look different. With the video released of Ahmed Arbury, a Black man who was shot while jogging, safety feels very different right now. A Black friend posted he’s afraid of going out on his runs now and shared a picture of what he looks like wearing a facemask as he runs – I shudder. There are basics to safety, but we shouldn’t judge others based on our own definition of safety.

5. Be an ally – Be an ally by being an ally.

Thank you for your Patreon support: This month we’ll be paying a portion of the support forward to POC led and embedded organizations and individuals directly impacted by COVID19. 

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