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Allyship right now: #BlackLivesMatter

COVID-19 may not discriminate, but systemic inequalities have exacerbated its disproportionate impact on Black and Brown communities. Amid the already growing fear and uncertainty around the pandemic, last week again brought attention to something perhaps more pervasive: the long-standing racism and injustices faced by Black and Brown people on a daily basis.

The recent killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade and George Floyd, and the victimization of Christian Cooper have left many of us angry, and with a deep sense of grief. But that grief doesn’t compare to what Black people face every day. #SayTheirNames

Now is a time to take care –– and take action. Now is a time for #Allyship.
At Twitter, our principles of allyship are simple: Learn, Ask, Show up, and Speak up.

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Learn.

  • Do your own research. To practice allyship, it’s important to first understand the historical and structural contexts that have led to racism and discrimination that are so ingrained in society. 
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Ask

  • Understand that answering questions takes emotional labor — be mindful of safe spaces and make sure you’ve done your personal learning before you ask a Black person to share with you.
  • Approach questions with empathy and in a way to understand people’s lived experiences. Do not approach asking questions from a place of disbelief. Some questions you could ask include: 
  • “If you have the time/energy, do you feel comfortable sharing your experience with me?”
  • “This week is heavy. How are you feeling/coping?”

Note: When someone’s sharing their experience with you, it’s enough to simply say, “I hear you.” Don’t feel like you need to respond, or provide your own story. Instead, center them and what they’re sharing with you.

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Show up

  • People are dealing with a lot right now. But especially for Black people, this is an incredibly difficult time. Be mindful of that in emails, on social media, and in communications. Offer to reschedule meetings and be as flexible as possible with any deadlines.
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  • From donating to organizations fighting for racial justice and police reform, to supporting Black-owned businesses and signing petitions, check out this list of 75 ways you can do something for racial justice and leverage your area of influence to create change. 
  • Conduct a self-audit. Who’s in your circle? Who do you turn to for advice? Who do you follow and engage with on social media?
  • Do not re-share pictures and videos of violence perpetrated against Black people. While we may want to increase awareness, such media can be triggering and retraumatizing.
  • While social distancing, it may seem difficult to show up physically for your colleagues or the Black community. Do it virtually — but without expectations. This is about them, not you.
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Speak up

  • In meetings, on social media, in conference calls, in chats with friends and family. In your circle, create more allies. Address anti-Black sentiments when you see them and discuss the violence and injustice that Black communities face.
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  • Continuously leverage your voice and privilege to amplify Black and Brown communities. Violence, police brutality, racism, and discrimination aren’t isolated incidents. They’re happening everywhere everyday. Here’s an example of how you can use your voice:
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Allyship is not about who you are, but what you do consistently and authentically. Do the work. Everyone is dealing with a lot these days, but be especially mindful of Black and Brown communities who regularly face threats to their wellbeing, violence, and hate because of their identity. 

There is no better time to stand up for what’s right. #UntilWeAllBelong #BlackLivesMatter

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@mariumwebster

Marium R. Qureshi

‎@mariumwebster‎

Program Manager II, Inclusion & Diversity

@jadesfw

Jade Williams

‎@jadesfw‎

Program Manager I, Emerging Content Products