Whether you’ve been with your mentee for a few weeks or several years, there are always ways you can show up for them and provide support. We learned that ally is not a title or identity one can claim, rather it’s an ongoing practice that you undertake every day involving action and reflection. We all live at the intersection of different lived experiences and identities, and great things happen when we recognize this and work together to lift each other up towards collective liberation. In trying to support communities that are different from us, it is expected that we will make mistakes, and that is ok. The important thing is that we actively listen to the feedback we are given, and that we do better when we know better.
Here are some good tips on how to be an ally sourced from a fantastic short video from Ashante the Artist and a resource sheet from the Oregon Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence:
- Listen, for real.
- Respect lived experience.
- Provide unconditional solidarity.
- Provide the support you’re asked for, not what you think should be given.
- Stand beside, not in front of, the communities your are supporting.
As your mentee gets older and starts exploring their identity a bit more, you may feel unsure as to how to best support them. These tips can help you begin that process, and we also always recommend you follow their lead and reach out to your Mentor Director for further guidance. Sometimes, just knowing someone else is standing with you can make all the difference in the world, and by combining these tools together, you can effectively show up for your mentee and personally grow in the process.