I am an ally.
Sure, I am a racial minority, I am part of the LGBT+ community, but I was born into (and have taken advantage of) significant privilege, and I have been able to grow into my identity in a supportive environment. The next four years are rarely going to be about me.
I must do. Not only when it is easy, like here. But when it is also difficult. I must be willing to put my body on the line when it is important, whether to shield others or to direct attention and effort. I must practice appropriate self-care, but I must not apply that label to my own laziness and reluctance to leave my comfort zone.
I must, on the flipside, support the appropriate self-care of others. Many will have a difficult time mobilizing, a much more difficult time than me, for any number of reasons. I must understand their voices and their perspectives so that I can amplify them and make sure that they are heard.
I must recognize and call out privilege and oppression along every axis to the best of my ability. Not just race, not just gender or gender identity, not just physical or mental differences, but each of them together and more. I must, in what I say, recognize that a rural Latino mother will be differently affected than a Native American trans man, who will be differently affected than a straight-passing Asian bisexual lawyer living along a rising ocean.
I must be a bridge when I can. I must listen to those that disagree, but not to legitimize them. I must understand their assumptions and confront them with those that place us fundamentally at odds. I must try to push disagreements toward the merits. Importantly, I must not expend excessive energy when it is clear that logic and empathy will not be productive.
I must use any tool at my disposal to fight. Not just in changing minds, but in influencing power structures. I must understand how injustices are entrenched, how future actions may serve that purpose, and how to target my actions and mobilize others to dismantle these oppressive systems.
But I must not lose ideas during the course of this resistance. I must remember that we are not just playing defense, and that there are philosophical shifts that remain for our country to take. I must have big ideas for the country we can be, and I must listen to, respond to, and signal boost the big ideas of others. I must make sure I do not concede these ideas for the lazy comfort of myself or others.
I am an ally, and I know my duties over the next four years.
It’s time to get to work.