Although Pawfessor Ginger was adopted into a family of Pit Bull rescue advocates, (Blockhead Brigade) she was rescued as a young puppy so her life has been different from our other PAWfessors in that she doesn’t have a sad story. She has never been cold at night, she has never gone to bed hungry, she has never felt unwanted, she has always had a soft warm bed and a loving family member to kiss her goodnight. But Ginger has a lesson to teach.
Ginger is a natural at being a good friend. Ginger loves every dog (and human). She loves them if they are big or small, dirty or clean, brave or afraid, 4 legged or 3, long haired or short, smelly or freshly bathed, and she loves them whether they have a home or not. Ginger also notices when a dog is afraid or a dog is getting picked on AND SHE ACTS. When a dog seems afraid, she lays down so they feel safe. If a dog is being bullied she stands next to the dog in solidarity until the bully walks away.
Ginger is a natural at being an ally. Being an ally means recognizing oppression and standing in solidarity with anyone who experiences oppression. In the school playground that will most likely look like bullying. When you see a situation of oppression that doesn’t seem right ask yourself: "Is this fair? Can I help?”
Allyship is a complex concept that even parents themselves might need help understanding. The Southern Poverty Law Center’s Teaching Tolerance magazine explains, “[B]eing an ally means recognizing oppression broadly and standing in solidarity with anyone who experiences oppression — whether or not the ally belongs to a targeted group.”
For parents, this definition opens up a variety of ways in which we can teach our kids how to be allies. Allyship is not the same in every situation. When is it the right time to be an ally? What is the best way to be an ally?
Here is a simple breakdown of ways to be an ally:
AN ALLY DOESN’T JUST HELP ONCE AND THEN WALK AWAY - Continue to be a friend. Invite someone to sit with you at lunch or play on your team. Introduce them to your friends. INCLUDE and VALUE them.
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