Being an Ally at Work

The Brooklyn Public Library where I live issued a statement on its website aligning with Black Lives Matter.

The time is now to join the fight for equity and equality for everyone in America.

While I don’t like to reuse what I read in the Vault newsletters sent to my email I will talk about what I’ve read via Vault one more time.

The Vault newsletter is right-on. Owing to copyright Vault doesn’t allow you to print up their newsletter or cut-and-paste sentences from it.

I will use my own words and add my own insight to the newsletter on being an ally at work.

Kaila Kea-Lewis was interviewed. She is a career coach. She talked about what an ally is. She revealed her own experience with a microaggression.

Her advice is to actively listen before you speak to a Black person. To ask them directly how they think you can help them. To not make assumptions.

Kea-Lewis goes so far as telling Vault readers to denounce discrimination when they see it happening at work.

To uncover the truth when an employer makes a public statement standing in solidarity.

How have you seen your company act in reality? What real advocacy groups have they aligned with? Are they putting their money where their mouth is as the old expression goes?

I’ll end with the number-one takeaway of Kea-Lewis:

True allies are the ones who understand that the oppressed are the only ones who know the best about their situation.

Outsiders who claim to know more than those they’re fighting for have no idea the enormity and severity of systemic racism.

Be an Advocate is the bottom line. Use what you learn from your Black coworkers to take a stand and to help them succeed in the workplace.

Author: Christina Bruni

Christina Bruni is the author of the new book Working Assets: A Career Guide for Peers. She contributed a chapter "Recovery is Within Reach" to Benessere Psicologico: Contemporary Thought on Italian American Mental Health.

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