How to become a better Black community ally

How to become a better Black community ally

Growth is often a personal choice, but when it comes to combatting racial inequalities, we all have a role to play.

That’s the perspective of Rhonda Chandler, a social worker in Aurora BayCare Medical Center’s case management department. Black History Month, observed in February, is an opportune time to learn about thoughtful growth and allyship, she said.

“Do the work, watch the movies, read the books, research for yourself, have the difficult conversations,” Chandler says. “And start the education. I especially think it’s so important for our kids to really understand history and know history. We have to educate them, tell them the truth, and learn the true history ourselves, but we also need to have conversations. No more excuses.”

In addition to continuously educating yourself, what are some other ways you can become a better ally to not only the Black community, but all people of color? Chandler offers the following tips:

  1. Open your heart and your mind, get comfortable with being uncomfortable, and be willing to face your own prejudices head-on. In order to educate yourself about others, you first need to educate yourself about you and the biases you may harbor.
  2. Understand and accept that you will never truly understand the struggles that Black individuals have gone through and continue to go through. But also recognize that you can learn about these struggles and empathize.
  3. Be your own educator and take responsibility for your growth. There are countless resources at your fingertips. Take the time to learn about Black American history, the many contributions to America that Black Americans have had, what systemic racism is, how it’s still an issue, and more.
  4. Share educational resources on your social media pages, have the conversations with friends and family (yes, even if they’re not ready), join a diversity, equity and inclusion group at your workplace (or start one yourself), be intolerant of intolerance, speak up when you witness another person’s prejudices or racist behaviors, and just generally show up and be there for our Black community members.

“It should be Black History Month all the time. I don’t just think it should be a designated month,” says Chandler. “It’s important for us just to educate ourselves on the history of systemic racism and why this month means so much, why African Americans have fought so hard and so long to have equal rights. We just want equity — to be treated the same.”

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  1. I couldn’t agree with you more Brianna. Black History is American History. I think so many people seem to forget that. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Thank you Brianna!
    I have much to learn that’s for sure! The Church I attend is part of a “Racial Unity Conference”. All types of cultures, Men of color and various backgrounds. We have pastors, people of medicine, professionals, “regular” employees and small and large business owners. You name it and somewhere we have someone a number of areas of daily living. Thanks once again!
    Also through our small group I (a spin off from the conference) of African Americans, White, Asian and Latino I’m learning. Being white all my life I have a long way to go and anxious to move forward. Our men’s group will do that.

  3. Great idea bringing this to the forefront but we know further education is needed. For example the use of different labortory values on kidney failure as inaccurate and potentially dangerous; poor pain management; and vaccine hesitancy and the history of distrust of the healthcare system. Even in current orientation classes they are still using these values without discussing those very important issues and health care disparities-it continues to be the responsibility of Black to educate which is unfair.

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About the Author

Brianna Wunsch
Brianna Wunsch

Bonnie Farber, health enews contributor, is a communications professional in the Public Affairs and Marketing Operations Department at Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care. In her free time, Brianna enjoys living an active lifestyle through biking, hiking and working out at the gym, but even more than that, she especially loves spending quality time with her two cats (Arthur and Loki), son and husband.