It is up to us to stand up and fight for our rights. We have to be the ones who drives that change, no one else will do it for us. With that being said, we do need people in our corners, those people that are willing to stand with us for what is right. Individuals who may have entrance into circles that we do not have and places we cannot go. For years we have labeled those people as allies, personally I think it is time to change that name. Those who fight with us, stand up for what is right without consequence for their own needs, and who always fight the good fight should be labeled as an accomplice instead. Why, you may ask?
Ally – a person or organization that cooperates with or helps another in a particular activity or to side with or support.An ally is basically someone who sides with you or is supportive based on a common interest. Typically, it would be someone who shares your points of view for a similar reason. But when we look at all in terms of diversity, equity, and inclusion, it typically is an empty buzzword. We see them as those who offer words of support but when push comes to shove, they are not there giving their blood, sweat, and tears.
An accomplice is someone who helps another commit a crime. Yeah, yeah, I hear you, your saying that in this light it would seem to be a word we would not want to associate ourselves with in our struggles. But I challenge you to think of it this way, an accomplice is someone who is willing to go the distance with you for your cause. They stand beside you until it is done. In the terms of diversity, they are the ones that are willing to take a stand with you, no matter the costs. An accomplice has to do more than just listen to the talk, they must be willing to stand up and take the blows that would otherwise be given to someone else. These are the ones that we want in our corner.
Sure, an ally started out in a good spot, the empathized with our cause. They listened to the words said and even may attend our events. Because an ally has no emotional investment, when push comes to shove or sticking their neck out might fall to negative repercussions for them, they fall short. We all have that moment of thinking; “how will this affect me?” Its natural and I do not fault anyone who can’t take that kind of heat. It can be a monumental undertaking, after all minorities have had to do it since the very beginning. An accomplice invests themselves because the see the need to make all things better. I prefer to see the accomplices as the “Ride or Die” friends, the ones who are there beside us when the times are tough and celebrate with us when we attain a victory.
We are at a point in history where we are starting to see those that called themselves allies are falling by the wayside because the struggle is getting tough. We hear plenty of politicians who claim to be an ally, only to undermine that word by enacting legislation that seeks to take away the very rights we have worked for. We need to make sure we are surrounding ourselves with accomplices. No matter which struggle clean water, safer neighborhoods, diversity, inclusion, LGBTQ, or minority rights, they will be the ones who will stand with us and help us in the trenches. Offer them our respect and support as well, it is a two sided coin.