NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's uplifting perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2020

How to be a good ally to people of color

Edi­tor’s Note: Our team at the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute stands in sol­i­dar­i­ty with every­one who is work­ing to end sys­temic racism in and beyond this coun­try and ensure that Black Lives Mat­ter. Ally­ship is a time­ly top­ic right now giv­en the events of the past few weeks, which is why we’re delight­ed to wel­come our friend Erin Jones to the Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate to offer sug­ges­tions on how to be a good ally to peo­ple of col­or. Erin is a trust­ed leader on issues relat­ed to equi­ty and social jus­tice, fund­ing and gal­va­niz­ing com­mu­ni­ty lead­ers and partners. 

Erin has over twen­ty-five years of expe­ri­ence in edu­ca­tion, and vied with Chris Reyk­dal for the posi­tion of Super­in­ten­dent of Pub­lic Instruc­tion in 2016. She now advis­es school dis­tricts to help them serve their stu­dents better. 

Two weeks ago, when the video of the mur­der of Ahmad Arbery became known to the pub­lic and many decid­ed to #Run­With­Ah­maud, I knew we (as a com­mu­ni­ty) need­ed to do more. And then we learned of Bre­on­na Tay­lor… and of George Floyd.

I have made a com­mit­ment to run every week while lis­ten­ing to a pod­cast about racial jus­tice. I have encour­aged mem­bers of my com­mu­ni­ty to run/walk/ride and lis­ten as well…and then I will come LIVE on Face­book and Insta­gram every Fri­day night with some thoughts in response to the podcast.

In my opin­ion, being a true patri­ot is much like being a good par­ent. We must be will­ing to cel­e­brate Amer­i­ca when she does some­thing fab­u­lous and cri­tique her when she miss­es the mark. Racial jus­tice is a place we have missed the mark.

What can you do while stay­ing at home to pre­vent the spread of SARS-CoV­‑2?

  1. Do research. Learn about the ways sys­tems are influ­enced by race and how dif­fer­ent racial groups expe­ri­ence sys­tems dif­fer­ent­ly in your com­mu­ni­ty. Join the 21-Day racial equi­ty chal­lenge.
  2. Lis­ten to the sto­ries of those who expe­ri­ence this coun­try dif­fer­ent­ly from you. Authors: Ibrahim X Ken­di, James Bald­win, Kwame Alexan­der, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Michelle Alexan­der, Angela Davis, Bev­er­ly Tatum, Zora Neal Hurston and Alice Walk­er are examples.
  3. If you are White, lis­ten to White peo­ple who talk about race — Paul Gors­ki, Paul Kiv­el, Shelly Tochluk, Deb­by Irv­ing, Robin DiAn­ge­lo and Tim Wise.
  4. Lis­ten to pod­casts that address racial equi­ty — We Live Here, Bound For Jus­tice, The Stoop, Code Switch, Revi­sion­ist His­to­ry; Chris­t­ian: Truth’s Table, Pass the Mic and Quick to Listen.
  5. Invest finan­cial­ly or with time (if you don’t have mon­ey) in orga­ni­za­tions that are specif­i­cal­ly serv­ing Black, Brown, Native people.
Black Lives Matter

A Black Lives Mat­ter sign at ral­ly from the White House to the Capi­tol on, July 8th, 2016 (Pho­to: Vic­to­ria Pick­er­ing, repro­duced under a Cre­ative Com­mons license)

You can make a difference.

We can make a difference.

Mak­ing Amer­i­ca bet­ter requires all of us. If you ever have ques­tions or are look­ing for dif­fer­ent per­spec­tives, please feel free to reach out.


Thanks to every­one who is mak­ing an effort to be a good ally.

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