Black History Month 2022: How to be an ally

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Health Assured team

21 September 2022

Each year throughout October, the UK and Europe celebrate Black History Month: an annual celebration honouring the achievements of the black community, both past and present.

Racism has a detrimental impact on mental health, increasing the risk of depression, anxiety and stress. Black History Month is the ideal time to act against racism and support your peers. This article will highlight specific things you can do to become an ally and celebrate Black History Month.

 

How to become an ally

Firstly, what is an ally? An ally is someone who speaks up against racism whenever they encounter it, someone who challenges racist comments and works to bring about cultural change. Broadly speaking, an ally supports and defends underrepresented individuals and actively involves themselves in events, fundraising and awareness-raising activities. To help you become an ally, we’ve provided some tips to help you get started:

 

Educate yourself

It can be hard to put yourself in someone else’s situation. Nevertheless, it’s necessary to understand the struggles faced by other students. There are many avenues to educate yourself; this could include partaking in an inclusion workshop, reading books, watching films or listening to podcasts created by the black community. It’s good to educate yourself on the different topics affecting these individuals. This way, you’ll be able to empathise and relate to your peers.

 

Be proactive

It might not always be clear that someone is experiencing racism. So, it’s important to reach out to your peers and check in on them regularly.

You must also be proactive in your efforts to involve all your peers. These actions might not seem like much at first, but every small step is progress towards creating a community where everyone feels welcome.

 

Amplify black voices

Many members of the community are often underrepresented. As an ally, you must use your voice to help underrepresented communities. You can do this by sharing social media posts, supporting black business owners or amplifying the community’s culture. This support must be carried on throughout the year, not just during Black History Month. To properly ensure your status as an ally, you must constantly choose to support this community, not only when it is convenient.

 

Listen

You can support your peers by listening intently and with empathy. While it is necessary to be proactive in your support, it is equally important to take the time to listen to your peers and understand how they feel and how they would like to be supported. When people feel heard and understood, they are more likely to open up in the future

 

Sign petitions

By signing these petitions and supporting racial-justice movements, you are showing your support but also taking real action. While your voice is an effective tool for promoting equality, taking action by signing petitions, volunteering or donating can further help these communities. It is essential to display ongoing support, ensuring this support is not performative and becomes a constant aspect of your everyday life.

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