What Is An Ally – Part 2

Followup up on my first post, What Is An Ally: Part 1, I continue sharing my thoughts on allyship, based on conversations I had at the Association of Social Work Boards 2022 Annual Delegate Assembly.

Allyship Isn’t Optional

Allies, when identified and know they are thought of as such, step in no matter what. Being an ally may not be a matter of convenience and often, may be even difficult. In fact, it is during these difficult times that stepping up and stepping in is most important and not optional. One simply cannot choose to support historically-marginalized people in some instances and not in others. This would go against the trait of congruence, as identified in Part 1. It is, in fact, this lack of choice that sets an ally apart from a supporter.

Allies Don’t Divide

Allies often have powerful voices. Others listen when they speak and they may have the ability to draw and keep attention when others struggle to do so. This trait carries a responsibility in that an ally knows their actions are being watched and can be misinterpreted. It is imperative that an ally’s actions stand to unite, rather than divide.

Allies Use Their Privilege To Help

Allies recognize that much of what they have was given to them by the work of others. They recognize that nobody “asked” to be born into their natal circumstances and as such, choose to give to others based on their privilege. Privilege often affords one to develop skills and talents that may lie dormant in those who were not given the opportunity to grow for lack of privilege. Allies recognize that privilege is not a gift meant for the enjoyed by those who have it, but one to be used in the service of others.

Part 3

In part 3, I will finish sharing what I learned during the Assembly event. Even week after, I remain edified by what I learned and feel gratitude towards those who were brave enough to have the difficult conversations that helped me learn so much about a very real facet of life as a person of privilege.


Jared is a father, a cyclist, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, and a general helping professional who works hard to focus on what lies ahead rather than what lies behind.