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Anti-Oppression LibGuide: Allyship-Take action

This guide serves as a starting point to learn about anti-oppression, inclusion, and privilege, as well as to provide resources to key social justice issues. The New York Tech community is welcome to suggest recommendations.


Allyship: It is a practice of unlearning and relearning as well as a lifelong process of building relationships based on trust, consistency, and accountability within marginalized individuals and groups. Source: PeernetBC

  • Allyship is not an identity, it is self-assigned. 
  •  Begins when a person of privilege seeks to support a marginalize individual or group.

Positionality: Positionality is the place from which you view the world. The concept grew out of reflexive anthropology and sociology in the 1980s, and is a way of describing one’s social position in order to understand:

  • Power relations
  • How one’s own subjectivity affects how one interprets and observes experiences.

Solidarity: Unity or agreement of feeling or action, especially among individuals with a common interest; mutual support within a group. It typically refers to shared political interests, but not always.

The work of Allyship excerpt from Guide to Allyship by @amelielamont.

Being an ally is hard work. Many of those who want to be allies are scared of making missteps that get them labeled as “-ist” or “-ic” (racist, sexist, transphobic, homophobic, etc). As an ally, you too are affected by a system of oppression. This means that as an ally, there is much to unlearn and learn—mistakes are expected.

As an ally, you’ll need to be willing to own your mistakes and be proactive in your education.

If you decide to become an ally, but refuse to acknowledge that your words and actions are laced with oppression, you’re setting up yourself to fail. You will be complicit in the oppression of those you purport to help. You are not truly an ally. Know that if you choose not to heed this, you wield far more power than someone who is outwardly “-ist” or “-ic” because you are, essentially, a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Just as society will not change overnight, neither will you. Here are some do’s and don’ts that are incredibly important as you learn and grow and step into the role of an ally.

The Don’ts

  • Do not expect to be taught or shown. Take it upon yourself to use the tools around you to learn and answer your questions
  • Do not participate for the gold medal in the Oppression Olympics
  • Do not behave as though you know best
  • Do not take credit for the labor of those who are marginalized and did the work before you stepped into the picture
  • Do not assume that every member of a marginalized group feels oppressed

The Do’s

  • Do be open to listening
  • Do be aware of your implicit biases
  • Do your research to learn more about the history of the struggle in which you are participating
  • Do the inner work to figure out a way to acknowledge how you participate in oppressive systems
  • Do the outer work and figure out how to change the oppressive systems
  • Do amplify (online and when physically present) the voices of those without your privilege

Otherwise stated terms are adapted from:


How to be an ally



  • Safety Pin: "Soon after the election of Donald Trump, the “safety pin” arose as a symbol of solidarity. The idea was that privileged people (men, white people, cis hetero people, Christians, etc.) would wear a safety pin on their shirt identifying them as “safe people” to marginalized populations as hate crimes rose in the aftermath of the presidential election. Further, it was suggested that those wearing a safety pin would intervene if they saw a hate crime taking place."
  •  Guide to Allyship by @amelielamont: "An ever-evolving and growing open source guide meant to provide you with the resources for becoming a more effective ally."

Is your Allyship proactive?

Source: Maggie Theram: Everyday Feminism​

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This guide attempts to provide general information and a starting point to learn about anti-oppression, inclusion, and privilege, as well as provide knowledge and resources to key social justice issues. 


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