What does it mean to be an ally?

I’ve been listening and learning. As a white woman I can, by definition, never truly know what it is like to live life as a black person. In the aftermath of the death of George Floyd, I've watched a wave of corporate statements, celebrity tweets and social media posts from individuals. The increased consciousness or awareness is a great first step but, it’s an empty statement if action isn’t being taken.

I’ve been reluctant to post about this issue because, I felt as though I didn’t have enough knowledge or understanding to be vocal. However, I want to take this opportunity to address this topic head on. I am a firm believer that being an ally isn’t about retweeting a hashtag or posting on social media. It’s about doing the work to foster real change.

Most businesses seem to be addressing the Black Lives Matter movement in various ways. Posting that black life matters, offering a discount based on race or specific products might bare the right sentiment, however actions speaks louder than words. Why spend time and money on an empty sentiment, when we can spend that time and money practicing what we preach?

Corporate statements supporting Black Lives Matter stand empty if they are without meaningful actions, such as: directing profits back into black communities, eliminating racial pay disparities, increasing hiring from black neighborhoods and promoting black employees.

In order to be completely transparent with you, I am at the beginning stages of becoming an ally. I am entirely responsible for educating myself. I am actively working on listening more than speaking, not assuming that I know everything, not getting defensive when I don't know everything, apologizing when I get something wrong, remembering that being an ally is NOT about me or my feelings and learning what it truly means to be an ally to the black community.

On the surface of the black out Tuesday post it seemed like a commendable sentiment, because we absolutely should be listening to and amplifying black voices. Unfortunately, posting a single black square is not activism. It is simply participating in a social media trend. For this exact reason I've decided to delete my “Black out Tuesday” Post. After researching the meaning behind this, I have learned that this is by definition - a "performative allyship" and a hindrance to the Black Lives Matter movement and I apologize for participating.

I can and will do better.

-Jacquelyn, Owner, Sparkles n' Sawdust Studio

Here is a great resource list that I found helpful:

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