Becoming a More Visible Ally

By printing this out and wearing it as a button, this is an example of how I can more visibly show myself to be an ally – pre-emptively. This graphic comes from: Catalyst. I Am An Ally. New York: Catalyst, June 1, 2015. Visit the site to read/print the infographic in entirety.

By printing this out and wearing it as a button, this is an example of how I can more visibly show myself to be an ally – pre-emptively. This graphic comes from: Catalyst. I Am An Ally. New York: Catalyst, June 1, 2015. Visit the site to read/print the infographic in entirety.

As many people have already written, remaining in a fog of disbelief and fear – post-election – is not a helpful reaction for the people who are now most vulnerable to the new Trump reality (which includes Canada). Nonetheless, I have to be honest – I've been enveloped in a kind of rotating fog of disbelief, fear and denial for the last week.

Now I am humbly ready to begin moving out of it. In no way shape or form do I consider this blog post to be comprehensive, or the extent of my responsibility, nor myself an expert in this domain.

As volatile and surreal as the political situation south of the border may seem, Trump is scheduled to be inaugurated on January 20, 2017 (with his fraud trial being delayed until afterward). There will continue to be such an incredible array of responses and reactions to the horrifying reality that a person with an openly hateful belief system is now in charge of the United States of America. He is busy creating a team of like-minded men to guide and support him, e.g., Alt-Right supporter Steve Bannon, public supporter of white supremacist groups and speaker of anti-semitic, mysogynist and anti-gay rhetoric. In the wake of the election, the Ku Klux Klan is organizing a victory parade – how much worse does it have to get before we move out of complacency?

As a white person, I have privileges* I don't deserve at the expense of others – despite growing up in a low-income household, and descended from a legacy of trauma under the Soviet regime. These privileges, flipped around, translate into unfair disadvantages to others. So of course, the big question: What can I do?

At this point in my life, there are two main things I want to concentrate on:

Printable (right click on the graphic, "Save As"), high-resolution "I am an Ally" button. I hereby release this to the public domain. If you would like to see variations I will do it for free.

Printable (right click on the graphic, "Save As"), high-resolution "I am an Ally" button. I hereby release this to the public domain. If you would like to see variations I will do it for free.

1) Learning to be a better and more visible ally

  • Truly a life-long endeavour, this means educating myself more on the historical and current conditions of oppression in Ontario where I live – and beyond – e.g., resource page put together by artist & activist Lynn Gehl
  • Being more visible as an ally – why should a person of colour or person of LGBTQI have to wonder whether they are safe in my presence when I could wear a button that signals that I am open and committed to learning how to be an ally?

2) Taking my own civic duty more seriously

  • I'll have to get back to you on the specifics of this one... but, this is related to #1 above, since systemic oppression is very much alive and well in Canada (although often invisible).

* White people – white privilege is a pretty basic fact. If you still don't believe it, consider that you don't want to believe it. But if you decide to look - and see it, you will be humbled, and you will grow in your humanity and in your ability to serve.