Campus Life
How YOU can be an ally

IGNITE stands with our Black community and emphatically opposes hatred. 

The horrific acts of anti-Black racism prevalent in today’s society must end. It is our duty to be part of the conversation and the solution, to end systematic racism by listening to and uplifting Black voices, challenging racist actions, and actively changing racist behaviours.

There is no place at IGNITE, Humber College or The University of Guelph-Humber for hate.

We are committed to ensuring students are safe, educated and have supports in place. Students in distress, please reach out. We’re here for you.

Black lives matter.

First off, what is an ally?

As discussed by Guidetoallyship.com, to be an ally is to:

  1. Take on the struggle as your own.
  2. Stand up, even when you feel scared.
  3. Transfer the benefits of your privilege to those who lack it.
  4. Acknowledge that while you, too, feel pain, the conversation is not about you.

So, in short, being an ally means that although you may not know what it feels like to be oppressed due to race-based discrimination, you take on the challenges Black people face as your own–what hurts one of us hurts all of us.

1. Commit to anti-racism

You are not exempt from the fight for Black liberation because you’re “not racist.” There is no such thing as “not racist.”

New York Times bestselling author Ibram X. Kendi explains, “One either allows racial inequities to persevere, as a racist, or confronts racial inequities, as an antiracist. There is no in-between safe space of ‘not racist’. The claim of ‘not racist’ neutrality is a mask for racism.”

To commit to anti-racism is to resist racism whenever you encounter it—online, in your family, in your friend group, and in yourself.

2. Challenge your privilege

Do the events of this week feel surreal to you? That’s privilege.

Horrific events that seem out of the blue to non-Black people are the reality the Black community faces every day. The first step in combating anti-Black racism, as a non-Black ally, is recognizing that your life has not been made difficult in the same way a Black person’s has.

That does not mean your life has been easy; it means your life hasn’t been made harder because of the colour of your skin.

Acknowledging your privilege is not a quick and easy process—nor is it a comfortable one. Feelings of guilt and shame are natural when challenging your subconscious anti-Black beliefs. However, you must do the work.

Your present discomfort will help ensure the future of Black lives.

Support Black media

Small changes can make the world of a difference–and it doesn’t have to be hard. It could be as easy as reading as supporting Black books, movies, and podcasts.

Books to read

View this post on Instagram

Wonderful to see Capital High! ~ Repost from @capitalhighmmsd • At Capital High, we are committed to racial justice by dismantling systems of oppression within education. One step we have taken is to engage in a whole-staff read of How to be an Antiracist by acclaimed researcher Ibram X. Kendi. We invite you to explore more of Kendi's work by visiting his website: https://www.ibramxkendi.com/ @ibramxk ………………………………. En Capital High, estamos comprometidos con la justicia racial por medio de desmantelar los sistemas de opresión dentro de la educación. Un paso que hemos tomado es que todo el personal va a leer Como ser un antiracista por investigador aclamado Ibram X. Kendi. Te invitamos a explorar más del trabajo de Kendi por visitar su sitio web: https://www.ibramxkendi.com/. #antiracism #capitalhighroyals #deeperlearning #ibramxkendi #ibramkendi

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Movies and series to watch

http://www.instagram.com/p/B7E-WRaAQ7i/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

Podcasts to listen to

http://www.instagram.com/p/CA6euO-J0Kt/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

3. Speak up on social media, but don’t stop there

It’s not enough to tweet #blacklivesmatter or post a black square to Instagram.

Performative allyship, according to writer Holiday Phillips, is activism that “involves the ‘ally’ receiving some kind of reward, in the case of social media the virtual pat on the back you receive for being a good person.”

View this post on Instagram

I love the discussion and awareness that’s been circulating lately, but let’s talk about performative activism. When you post about caring for social issues on social media without putting in effort to actually commit to activism, it’s time to rethink your strategy. “Raising awareness” isn’t enough to see the change we desperately need. If your motives are: ✅ To get brownie points for being seen "on the right side" ✅ To feel bigger than those who seem less active on social media ✅ To simply feel like you've contributed by going down an easy route You might be contributing to performative activism. Head to the link in my bio to see how we can redirect that energy together. #blacklivesmatter #blm Edit: This does NOT take away from the power of social media awareness, nor does it discourage awareness in general. This DOES encourage allies to see the movement beyond a social media trend in order to contribute additional efforts where possible. Please also don’t shame those who are contributing what they can to the protests, and bear in mind that not all individuals have the privilege of being as outspoken in their communities as they’d like.❤️

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Your online solidarity is transparent and unproductive if you don’t commit to anti-racism in your everyday life. You can like, comment and repost until your fingers get sore, but you must also show up for the Black community when the hashtags stop trending.

Check in on your Black friends and family

Step two of Mireille Harper‘s 10 Steps to Non-Optical Allyship says, “This is an emotional and traumatic time for the community, and you checking in means more than you can imagine. Ask how you can provide support.”

Allyship starts by being of service to the people already in your life.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CA04VKDAyjb/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

Support Black-owned businesses

Put your money where your mouth is—literally. When you buy from Black-owned businesses, you directly contribute to the financial futures of Black entrepreneurs.

Here are some Black-owned businesses you can support from the Greater Toronto Area (GTA):

Fashion

Food & drink

Wellness

View this post on Instagram

Last year my wife and I made the very difficult decision to close our brick and mortar #tea shop and run our business exclusively online. Despite having our best financial year, and recently moving to our new location, a mixture of rapidly changing retail trends and the arrival of baby #2 … We just felt it was best to close up shop. Fast forward to 2020, best decision of our life. We recaptured much needed family time, dramatically reduced expenses, expanded our brand internationally and found a very happy medium in how we run our business. Like the rest of the world, COVID-19 is not something we could have planned for, but as it stands here it is. Many are facing challenges and businesses specifically are forced to make drastic changes to stay a float. However, I'm sure every entrepreneur can agree, that when things get tough, it is in our DNA to get creative, get re-motivated and get busy! Introducing: Bricks to Clicks – How to transform your brick & mortar store into an online E-commerce store in 6 Easy steps. If this applies to you and you're eager to learn how you can make the same transition. comment below and i'll send you the invite as soon as its live! @accessccf will be hosting a webinar where I'll be sharing this presentation and id love for you to join! Stay safe everyone!

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Have difficult conversations

Many of the ways white supremacy manifests are evident in your casual daily interactions:

View this post on Instagram

White supremacy is a system of structural and societal racism which privileges white people over everyone else, regardless of the presence or absence of racial hatred. White racial advantages occur at both a collective and an individual level. We just updated this chart, which presents *some* of the ways people practice and reinforce white supremacy that they may not be aware of, or even think of as “white supremacy”. If you are unsure of what any of these terms mean, please feel free to look them up. There is an abundance of scholarship and research on each of these things. Image Source: Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence (2005). Adapted: Ellen Tuzzolo (2016); Mary Julia Cooksey Cordero (@jewelspewels) (2019); The Conscious Kid (2020). #AntiRacism #AntiRacist #TeachersOfInstagram #WhitePrivilege

A post shared by The Conscious Kid (@theconsciouskid) on

Non-Black people must challenge instances of covert white supremacy when they are encountered. Yes, even if it’s your best friend. Yes, even if you’re in public. Yes, even if grandma is “just old-fashioned.”

Failure to do so allows the oppression of Black people to embed itself further into the fabric of our culture, making you directly complicit to anti-Black racism.

Change starts at home. Talk to your loved ones about anti-Black racism and call out biases.

4. Sign petitions and donate

https://www.instagram.com/p/CA1VfK1gBlX/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

Currently, the petition to have George Floyd‘s murderers justly charged is the most signed petition in Change.org history, but it’s not the only petition you should know about:

  • Justice for Tony McDade—McDade was a transgender Black man who was murdered by police in Tallahassee, Florida on May 27, 2020. The men responsible have not been charged.
  • Stand With Breonna—Breonna Taylor, an EMT, was killed by police who broke into her home while she was asleep on March 13, 2020. The men responsible have not been charged.
  • Justice for Regis Korchinski-Paquet—Korchinski-Paquet fell to her death from the balcony of her 24th-floor apartment following en encounter with the Toronto Police Department on May 27, 2020. The petition demands a full inquest into the circumstances surrounding her death.
  • Justice for David McAtee—McAtee, a restaurant owner in Louisville, Kentucky, was shot and killed by the Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) during a protest for Breonna Taylor on June 1, 2020. The Louisville police chief has been fired. However, the men responsible for McAtee’s death have yet to be identified and charged.

The official Black Lives Matter website also features a frequently updated list of petitions addressing issues relevant to its cause.

If you have the means to contribute financially, donate to the following funds:

Any contribution is a good contribution.

There are many ways to be an ally, and this isn’t a comprehensive list, but it’s a start. It’s on all of us to do the research and the work to ensure we end anti-Black racism. Your allyship will not be perfect, but it must be present.

In the words of writer, speaker and activist Ijeoma Oluo,

The beauty of anti-racism is that you don’t have to pretend to be free of racism to be an anti-racist. Anti-racism is the commitment to fight racism wherever you find it, including in yourself. And it’s the only way forward.


If you are in need of emotional support, make a virtual appointment with counsellors at Humber’s Student Wellness and Accessibility Clinic (SWAC).

Click here for additional resources and ways you can help.

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