WANTED: Effective Allies Who Take Meaningful Actions

I don’t want you to just dress like me, but to call out behaviours that hurt, harm, and hamper my progress at work.  

I don’t want you to just speak like me, but to speak up for me when policies and procedures block my progress, and for other Black people who can’t or don’t get seen or heard.  

I don’t want you to just live near me, but to oppose the gentrification that destroys our long-established neighbourhoods and our communities.  

I don’t want you to just eat Caribbean food, but to support other Black businesses and enterprises, and the communities behind them.  

I don’t want you to just listen to Black music, but to listen to, appreciate and recognise those that created it and be an ally to their communities.  

I don’t want you to just decolonise the curriculum, but to employ more Black educators and support staff and embed Black history into the curriculum.  

I don’t want you to just celebrate Windrush Day and Black History Month, but to challenge inequalities all year round and recognise the power and potential of equality, diversity, and inclusion to create stronger teams, new ways of working and more successful organisations.  

I don’t want you to just accept me and be your ‘black friend’, but to be an ally to other Black people and listen to their experiences and opinions, because I don’t represent or speak for all Black people.  

I don’t want you to just acknowledge white privilege, but to use the platforms you have to take action and enable a marginalised individual or group to progress, thrive and fully contribute.  

I don’t want you to just take nominal steps to improve the status quo by using me as a token Black presence, but to open doors to other marginalised groups and become a more equal, diverse, and inclusive workplace.  

I don’t want you to just open up opportunities for change and then leave me to fix things on my own, but for us to work together to find solutions and make our workplace the best it can be for everyone.  

I don’t want you to just talk about and enjoy the fun stuff about my culture, but to have some real conversations and get to know the real me, including my ambitions, my concerns, and my potential. My culture offers far more than music, sport, dance, and food – for me and for you.  

I want you to know that as an ally, you will be privy to and enjoy rich cultural resources and share the benefits of achievements and contributions that are still being revealed, and those yet to come, still waiting to be discovered. There is a Caribbean saying that perfectly describes the need to work together and support one another’s self-realisation for the benefit of society as a whole… “Today for you, tomorrow for me!”