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Being an ally and active bystander in fight against racism

Published: May. 3, 2021 at 9:04 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Continuing the fight for equality means being an ally and an active bystander. But what does that mean and how do we get there?

“We’re living in the rippling effects of racism.”

Tiffany Young, Board Member and Past President of the Northern Nevada Black Cultural Awareness Society

Nearly a year ago, the death of George Floyd sparked protests nationwide against racial injustice and conversations about America’s record on race.

“We have individuals that have acts of racism, but there’s also structural racism, systemic and institutional racism,” Tiffany Young, Board Member and Past President of the Northern Nevada Black Cultural Awareness Society (NNBCAS) said.

Since then, there have been new incidents of police use-of-force against black Americans and an increase of anti-Asian hate crimes due to COVID-19.

Young added, “If we don’t acknowledge that these things were and are in place, the likelihood that we’re going to be able to shift and get out of that is going to be really low.”

She says being an ally is committing to support a group you’re not part of.

“Having genuine relationships with the community that I’m advocating for, so for you to advocate for me, you need to know me,” Young said.

An active bystander, Young says, recognizes a conflict and takes action to try to diffuse it.

Young added, “If I interrupt someone making a racist remark or if I interrupt a conversation that’s taking place, am I willing to carry the response that I may get?”

There are a number of ways you can participate: hold others and yourself accountable, report hate crimes, educate, listen, and emphasize diversity in your workplace. Young says it’s important to find the right avenue that works for you.

“Not everyone is going to stand up or speak up,” Young said, “Someone might write a check, someone might write a memo, someone might go to a meeting.”

If we as a country are going to effectively be held accountable for racial justice, then we need to turn our intentions into actions.

“It’s not just something that you wake up and do, it’s a commitment.”

Tiffany Young, Board Member and Past President of the Northern Nevada Black Cultural Awareness Society

For more information about NNBCAS, click here.

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