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Anti-Racism and Anti-Oppression: Allyship

What does it mean to be an ally?

An ally is an individual who actively and continuously strives towards promoting justice and ending marginalization.

According to the Guide to Allyship, to be an ally is to:

  • Take on the struggle as your own.
  • Stand up, even when you feel scared.
  • Transfer the benefits of your privilege to those who lack it.
  • Acknowledge that while you, too, feel pain, the conversation is not about you.

The Anti-Oppression Network defines allyship by what it is not:

"allyship is not an identity—it is a lifelong process of building relationships based on trust, consistency, and accountability with marginalized individuals and/or groups of people; allyship is not self-defined—our work and our efforts must be recognized by the people we seek to ally ourselves with."

Am I doing it right?

From Teaching Tolerance, "Anatomy of an Ally":

Even experienced allies aren’t always sure what to say or do. These reminders can keep you on the path to being a source of support and empowerment.

  • Do listen and ask how you can help.
  • Don’t expect another person to educate you about their identity.
  • Do accept criticism thoughtfully. Don’t broadcast your qualifications for being an ally.
  • Do speak up when you hear biased language.
  • Don’t apologize for the actions of your identity group.
  • Do seek support from experienced allies within your identity group.
  • Don’t expect credit for being an ally.
  • Do acknowledge intersectionality.
  • Don’t selectively support one group over another.

Allyship at COD

College of DuPage currently offers the following ally training opportunities to all COD employees. Find upcoming offerings online in Cornerstone (via

Safe Zone Training

Safe Zone training is an opportunity to learn about LGBTQ identities, gender, and sexuality, and examine ways to make your classroom or office a more inclusive space. It is a two-part training where upon completion participants receive a Safe Zone placard which they can display on their door or wall. These placards help communicate that a person is open to talking about being supportive of LGBTQ students.

See also: LGBTQIA+ at College of DuPage - resources from the Faculty Advisor to Pride Alliance

UndocuAlly Training

Undocumented students and their families face unique challenges. UndocuAlly training will help eliminate barriers, build trust, and enable participants to more fully support this population on campus. Trainers will utilize a version of United We Dream’s Educator Toolkit and UndocuPeers curriculum, modified with statistics specific to DuPage County.

See also: Undocumented Student Information - resources from the Latino Outreach Center

Learn More

Patel, Viraj S. "Moving Toward an Inclusive Model of Allyship for Racial Justice." The Vermont Connection 32, no. 1 (2011): 9.

Rockquemore, Kerry Ann. "How to Be an Ally to Someone Experiencing Microaggressions." Inside Higher Ed (2016, April 13).

Solomon, Udeni. "How to Be an Intersectional Ally in Higher Education." Left of Brown (2018, April 5).

Sue, Derald Wing, Sarah Alsaidi, Michael N. Awad, Elizabeth Glaeser, Cassandra Z. Calle, and Narolyn Mendez. "Disarming Racial Microaggressions: Microintervention Strategies for Targets, White Allies, and Bystanders." American Psychologist 74, no. 1 (2019): 128.

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