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Stories of Allyship — Voices of the Movement

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As workplaces become more diverse, there is a growing need to create a work environment that supports individuals from different backgrounds and identities. Allyship is a tool, a way of being and acting, that helps create an inclusive environment where all employees feel valued and respected. It highlights persistent systemic inequalities based on race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or socioeconomic status, and aims to ameliorate real workspaces with more inclusive company culture so everyone can win.

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Champions of Allyship

Several people and brands have taken a bold step to speak up and draw attention to some common injustices. These allies have used their positions and voices to create a better world and paved the way for a more conscious and inclusive society.

Tarana Burke — Responding to Microaggressions and Bias

Microaggressions and Bias

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As the founder of the Me Too movement, Tarana Burke has given voice to millions of survivors of sexual violence. Burke's commitment to social justice began early, working with young people in Alabama, where she tackled issues of racial discrimination and economic hardship. This passion for creating a more equitable world would become the driving force behind her life's work.

In the mid-2000s, while working with survivors of sexual violence, Burke noticed that many women, particularly those from marginalized communities, felt silenced and alone. To address this, Burke coined the phrase "Me Too."

The #MeToo movement has ignited a global conversation about sexual assault and the impact of microaggressions on mental health and well-being. It's a call to action to support survivors, dismantle the systems that perpetuate abuse, and prevent future assaults. Though the work continues, the awareness created and the conversations still being had are a testament to an ally's ability to create change.

Emma Watson & the UN — Educating Yourself

Educating Yourself
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Through her work with the HeForShe campaign, Emma Watson has encouraged men to educate themselves about gender inequality and become allies in the fight for equality. The global movement by the United Nations tackles negative gender stereotypes and calls on everyone to fight for gender equality. It encourages men to challenge traditional norms and advocate for equal rights and opportunities.

Notable allies in this movement include Hollywood actors Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Hiddleston, who are vocal advocates for gender equality. Cumberbatch and Hiddleston were among the first male celebrities to publicly endorse the campaign, amplifying its message and advancing the movement.

Tim Cook — Advocating for Racial Equality

Apple's CEO has been at the forefront of allyship for many years. Tim Cook's commitment to social and racial justice is personal, as he grew up in segregated Alabama and has witnessed firsthand the effects of inequality and discrimination. During Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference, Tim addressed the topics of racism, inequality, and injustice in his keynote speech.

Cook unveiled Apple's Racial Equity and Justice Initiative (REJI), a global effort aimed at fostering equity and expanding opportunities for marginalized communities, including Black, Hispanic/Latinx, and indigenous populations. Since 2020, Apple has dedicated over $200 million to support education, equality, and criminal justice. Notably, $25 million of this funding has been allocated to three venture funds — Collab Capital, Harlem Capital, and VamosVentures — that support minority-owned businesses.

In education, Apple partnered with California State University Dominguez Hills (CSUDH) to launch STEAM Max. The program uses REJI's Learning Challenge Series to engage learners in identifying and addressing real-world challenges within their communities. As part of the program, CSUDH hosts students, teachers, and school leaders at its CISE lab, where they collaboratively tackle these challenges head-on. Each participant gets an iPad for the duration of the program and has the exciting opportunity to work on a college campus once a month for five months.

HSBC & Deloitte — the Merits of Blind Hiring

Companies like HSBC and Deloitte have implemented blind hiring as part of their diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), and many more are adopting this process. But what is blind hiring, and how does it work?

In blind hiring, a prospective candidate's personal information is blocked out to eliminate influence or bias that would otherwise affect the hiring decision. By excluding a candidate's personal details from the hiring process, every applicant gets a fair chance, as they are assessed only by merit rather than other factors such as ethnicity, race or gender. Building a more diverse and innovative team one hire at a time.

Be a Better Ally

Be a Better Ally
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Historically, various groups have been marginalized based on various factors such as gender and race. Although leaders are tasked with formulating policies that encourage inclusivity, anyone at any level can be an ally.

For instance, as a man, you can become an ally of women. If you are capable, you can advocate for people with disabilities. Here are some ways to practice allyship and start making a difference:

  • Begin by looking within. Being a better ally should start with an examination of your own life. For example, as a white person, you can look at the areas where white people are granted privilege over people of colour. If you're a parent raising multiracial children, encourage them to embrace all aspects of their heritage and explore their cultural backgrounds with pride.

  • Find things you're passionate about. If you're not sure what you can do to become an ally, you can start with the things you care about. You are more likely to make an impact in an area that you're passionate about and contribute to a more inclusive society.

Allyship in the Workplace

Allyship in the Workplace
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We spend up to a third of our lives in the workplace, so it's important to be proactive in creating an inclusive environment. For instance, if you witness microaggressions at work, you can calmly point out the inappropriate behaviour and its impact while providing support to the individual targeted.

Businesses that promote active allyship create inclusivity and a sense of belonging to their employees. This can extend beyond the workplace and foster more diverse interpersonal relationships that can lead to a deeper cultural awareness and agility in multicultural spaces.

Being a champion for allyship is not meant to be added work to your daily routine but rather a mindset shift, a value system you live by and integrate into your way of operating at work and in life. The more you personalize your allyship journey with causes you care about, the more natural it will become. Our Allyship Journal will help you discover your why and equip you with practical tips to become an ally you're proud of.


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