Why I Call Myself an Aspiring Ally?
I experienced an event freshman year in my Modern World History class that made me think differently about diversity, equity, and inclusion. After witnessing a group of boys laughing about the Holocaust while my history teacher was not present; and, further, bringing a copy of Hitler’s autobiography “Mein Kampf” into the classroom, I knew this was a real issue and had to take a stand. It was the first time that I felt truly discriminated against, just for being Jewish and being judged as a person based on my religion. I also know that it’s easiest to make a stand for issues that impact you directly. But I had to ask myself hard questions: Would I have done the same for a student of color, someone who is LGBTQ+, someone with a disability?
From this experience, over the last two years, I have expressed a great deal of interest in educating myself about prominent diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) issues and trying to extend that awareness to as many people who’ll hear me out, both locally, and globally. The inspiration to build my own DEI awareness has taken the form of activist work; I am informed of many others who’ve come before me who were not a primary member of a group harmed, but who still stood for justice, fairness, and inclusion. White people supported King’s efforts in Selma, many men advocate for women’s rights, and everything from Pride matches reflect many heterosexual people standing up for LGBTQ+ rights Ally is, most certainly, an action word, more about what one does to bring about change than what one claims.
There are many people in the world who constantly have the feeling of being marginalized, victimized, and being invalid every day. As a result, it is important to me to try and make a difference by forging important conversations, educating people about these issues, and putting positive plans about these significant topics into everyone’s community. I approach this work humbly, realizing that it’s a journey for me, and that I have so much more to learn about the courage and conviction required of allies, which is why I use the word aspiring. Allyship is not a destination, but a never ending journey. By creating aspiringally.org, I would be able to develop these important skills and build awareness and positive progress not only in my community but also lay the groundwork for allyship globally.