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5 ways to make an impact by being an ally

As girls, it is important for us to stick together. And it's especially important for us to stand alongside girls who identify differently than we do. Being an ally to those who are other from you—whether that be in race, sexuality, religion, etc.—allows you to be a more compassionate and understanding person while also opening your eyes to those who have a completely different perspective than you might. Here's how to do just that. 

1. Educate yourself. Read articles and books about people who identify differently than you do. Or, even better, read the news so you know what is going on in the world. If reading isn't really your thing, Netflix also offers entertaining and informative documentaries on a wide variety of topics. A well-informed girl is a well-rounded girl.

2. Be open to dialogue. People tend to love to talk about themselves as well as their experiences. Have conversations with others who identify differently than you do. Through open and healthy conversation, you can learn so much about a person and their background. Who knows, by interacting more with others, you may end up making a new bestie! 

3. If you don’t know, ask. If there is something you don't understand about a particular culture or group of people, simply ask someone. There is nothing wrong with yearning to learn more about others. Just be careful not to assume that the way a particular individual feels about or thinks of their culture applies to the entire group.

4. Don’t make assumptions. Often times, especially through social media, stereotypes are placed on certain groups of people. Be sure not to make assumptions about an entire group of people based on one person's actions. Instead, as you learn and grow, have an open-mind about the new people and cultures you encounter. 

5. Be mindful of your words. If you have to question whether or not a joke or statement is offensive, there's a good chance it is. Just be aware of that.

With these simple steps, you have the opportunity to stand beside friends, family and even strangers who are a different from yourself. You can learn so much about the world around you—and even yourself—when you decide to open your mind. 

Let us know how you have served as an ally to those in—and outside of—your community. 

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by Sydney Haywood | 7/30/2017
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