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Day One: Allyship

Not enough.

Since the election, a lot of people have been posting about wearing safety pins as an outward indication that you’re an ally. For some, it’s the first step they’ve ever taken towards allyship, which is cool. But a symbol without action, is no longer enough. It may have been co-opted as a symbol of solidarity per this Facebook post. If you wear one, make a plan about how you will react when (not if, when) you see injustice. Isobel Debrujah has a lot of information on how to get started.

If you want to be an ally, please don’t ask your People of Color, LGBTQ+, people with disabilities, people of faith, people of no faith, and Othered communities. And for the love of everything holy, don’t tone police them, especially not in this time of grief.

One tough thing to keep in mind: Being an ally isn’t about you. It’s not about shouting your views from the rooftops, it’s about your actions. And yes, I recognize my privilege and the irony in posting on my personal blog about how to be an ally. There’s not much more I can say on that end, so on to the resources:

  • If you see something happening, this video has a great plan of action for how to reaction.
  • Everyday Feminism has a tag on how to be an ally or a better ally. This page is updated regularly. They also published an article on How To Be A Proactive Ally.
  • Christopher Keelty does some good work on Medium about easy ways to become an ally to non-White groups. Spoiler alert: speak the hell up.
  • For a hard read on how not to treat Women of Color, check out Shannon Barber‘s “Dear White Ladies.”
  • Need some ways to start working on racial justice? Showing Up For Racial Justice has resources for you.
  • Scared for your Muslim friends? Follow CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations. They’ll be featured separately soon.
  • Check out the Trans* Ally Workbook to challenge what you know about gender.
  • For a heaping dose of body positivity, check out Beautiful Bodies of Birmingham.
  • If you feel alone, join the Facebook group White Nonsense RoundupThis group was founded “by white people to address our inherently racist society and stand up against racism in our own families, work spaces, and communities. We believe it is our responsibility to call out white friends, relatives, contacts, speakers, and authors who are contributing to structural racism and harming our friends of color.”
  • Call your representatives’ offices. Let them know that the civil rights of every human in their district are a priority in how you’ll vote. When election day comes around, get to your polling place and cast your ballot.

Edited at 19:30 CST on 11/13/16 to include a link on making a plan for how to be an ally. Thanks to Anna Lisa Ciaccio for the link! Edit: 11/13/16 21:43 CST to include calling representatives. Edit: 11/14/16 20:21 CST to include 5 Ways To Combat Racism video. 23:37 CST first graf edited for tone.

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Your not-so-secret admirer

It will probably come as no surprise that I read a lot. As a writer, I read to stay abreast of current events and to relax, but mainly to learn. Here’s the thing: I learn from almost everything I read. Even the Harry Potter series, which I’m currently rereading for the 324th time, teaches me something about the convergence of craft and content.

Like my social media feed, my media consumption usually revolves around cocktails, pictures and videos of puppies, and local news. After five years as a writer, many of the pieces that come across are writers and bloggers I’ve met. But there are many bloggers whose work I actively seek out and subscribe to.

Locally, the scene is unapologetically amazing. Some of these fantastic souls work so hard to elevate the scene that Beyoncé should watch out. These include:

  • Ed Bowser‘s cutting wit, comic book smarts, and humor make Soul In Stereo a must-read for me. Almost every entry I’ve read has made me laugh.
  • Mary-Berkley Gaines and I went to high school together, but I didn’t know her then. Now, her work on  The Beautiful Bodies of Birmingham Project spreads the radical body positivity message near and far.
  • Sara Glassman is my book dealer. As a bookseller and librarian, her book blog, Medusa’s Library, keeps me in books and news from the speculative fiction scene.
  • David Griner, the Digital managing editor for Adweek, is a friend and writing hero. I hope to one day write articles with the focus and speed with which he practices the craft.
  • Javacia Harris Bowser, the fearless founder of See Jane Write Birmingham is, of course, the first on my list. While the rest of us are sleeping, she’s working on her lesson plans for her classes at ASFA, freelance assignments, and businesses coaching plans.
  • Carla Jean Whitley gave me the chance that made me a writer. She was my first editor on a professional level, and helped to shape my work into something salable. Her professional work, along with her honest and cat-filled blog, Ink-Stained Life, has been an inspiration since I started this journey.

Though I’m far from a fashionista, I still read several local fashion blogs regularly. Recently, this has become even more important, as I took a position back in June as the coordinator of My Sister’s Closet, a secondhand boutique operated by our local YWCA chapter. Some of my favorite include:

  • Jeniese Hoisey, the badass babe behind the Jenesaisquoi Blog, is more glamorous than I can ever hope to be.
  • Alexis Barton of Same Chic Different Day, who I’m still convinced is too cool to be my friend.
  • Jennifer Dome King, whose Stellar Fashion & Fitness entries push me to embrace my body and work from where I am towards a fitness level that works for me.
  • Maacah Davis, who runs belladonnaa high fashion magazine that features models of color and diverse backgrounds. It’s gorgeous, and I can’t wait to see what else she’s able to do in the future.

I also read a lot about cocktails, but to ensure that this post isn’t 12,000 words long, I’ll list some of my favorite writers’ names:

This month, I’m attempting to blog my way forward by writing every day as part of Blog Like Crazy.

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