Welcome to week 3!
O = Openness to Learning
The whole point of the O is that as allies, there will be many things that you don’t know, don’t realize, don’t experience, don’t understand (etc.) about the people/communities you are allied with. Learning, afterall, is about gathering new information and developing new understanding.
Why is being open to learning important?
Why this is important should be obvious – how can you support someone well if you don’t know what their life is like, what they are going through, what they need, where and what their barriers are, how they navigate the world? You may have some idea of the struggles they have from your perspective of an ally (especially as you continue to sharpen you ability to recognize your privilege in this regard), but it’s still your perspective. (And remember, allyship is not about you!). Being open to learning allows you to continue to become more effective as an ally.
Sources of information
Allyship is an opportunity to connect with and learn from the people in the community you are supporting. These connections are important. But remember that having a “go-to” person is not only exhausting for that person, but no one has all the information you need (more on that when we get to the last R). So spread out your sources of information. There are resources online (some good YouTube videos even), books, and organizations you can tap into. Volunteering at these organizations is also a good way to learn – and contribute! And other allies are also great sources of learning as you share experiences.
Sometimes being open to learning is about being proactive; wanting to know or understand something better and sourcing that information in various ways. It can also be reactive – especially when something hasn’t gone well, you’ll want to learn why and how to improve. But openness to learning is also about just being open and paying attention to what is happening around you, and adding those observations to your Ally Tool Kit.
Next week – the A.
PS – If you want an extra challenge, sign up for my weekly Inclusion Insight. We’re covering the same series and you get a challenge each week to practice each letter of ROAR.
PPS – If you’re enjoying the series, and you want to dive in a bit more, sign up for my e-book: Learning to ROAR – Effective Allyship! I’ll send it to you when the series is done. You’ll also be signed up for the Inclusion Insight. You can unsubscribe at any time.