White Allyship

White Allyship: What It Means to Be an Antiracist

During a GCORR webinar called, White Allyship: What It Means to Be an Antiracist (find it on YouTube, dated 5/17/2023), The Rev. Dr. Jennifer Harvey defines an antiracist ally as “someone actively making choices to challenge the systems of racism that all of our lives are embedded in and that are embedded in all of our lives.” The DRT members shared stories of white, Christian, antiracist allies from the past and present at a recent adult forum session. These are the people we highlighted and the active choices they made to be allies:

  • Benjamin Lay (early 1700s) – used dramatic stunts and “outside the box” tactics to campaign against slavery within his own Quaker faith community.
  • Elizabeth Heyrick (early 1800s) – recognized that inaction is the same as support for the oppressor and, using the written word and a sugar boycott, risked her reputation to push for the immediate abolition of slavery in the British colonies.
  • Eleanor Roosevelt (mid 1900s) – consistently used her public platform, as the first lady and afterward, to challenge and change racist laws and structures because she believed that “everyone has the responsibility to oppose racial injustice.”
  • Sara Lee Creech – believed that Black children deserved to have dolls that accurately represented them and gathered the resources and right people to create the first commercially-produced black baby doll in 1951.
  • Allan Burry – used his position as a campus minister during the 1960s to steer students towards racial justice initiatives and to make connections among them that would influence their later life choices.
  • John Stull – recognized the biases that could potentially threaten the comfort and safety of his Ugandan exchange student and proactively reached out to his neighbors; he also chose to act in response to a negative experience the student had at a school event.

How can you use your resources and position to be a true ally? What examples of active allyship have you witnessed or performed