- October 29, 2020
The In Solidarity, issue editors asked friends, colleagues, and strangers to share their own definitions of: allyship, advocacy, and housekeeping as they relate to the notion of solidarity work. Here are their replies:
Allyship is a form of kinship.
Allyship: Demonstrating support/comradery through overt action, speaking up when words are needed, attending protests/marches, being aware of how your presence might affect those you’re trying to support or be an ally to and spreading that awareness to others.
Advocacy: Supporting policy/a certain issue but doing so through a structured, systematized process (like supporting a cause/raising awareness or funding through a certain organization or formal group).
Housekeeping: Leftover tasks that still need to be accomplished. I associate this word less with Allyship/Advocacy and more with mundane tasks and day-to-day “to-do’s”.
Alianza: Asociación de grupo de personas para llegar a un fin determinado.
Abogacía: La acción de defender y de ejercer bajo la ley.
Mantenimiento: Re-evaluación y renovación de un movimiento.
Each word individually doesn’t have much baggage, but it’s interesting how the adjacency of the three rub me the wrong way. They evoke, what I can only term as, “linkedin activism,” the neat package of empathetic terminology oozing out of white corporate America. When you ask me to be empathetic and relate to these words, whether in my own language or not, within the American context these words graze me as the white liberal American understanding of solidarity—terminology used to philosophize and ideate, at the expense of true action.
Allyship: Supporting those whose voices are being wrongfully silenced even if I don’t identify similarly…i.e. being a decent human being.
Advocacy: Prizing the well being and best interest of EVERYONE and showing, through actions, those who are responsible for policy/systemic structures they are reliable.
Housekeeping: The shit nobody wants to do but proves to be the most critical in pushing forward change.
Allyship: When I think of allyship I think of first opening your heart to someone else, trying to understand how they see the world, how they engage with it. And having many conversations and really listening to someone, so that you can be the kind of ally they need you to be rather than just coming in without really knowing what someone is going through and what they want.
Advocacy: I think of advocacy in more of a group sense, coming together with the community and again doing a lot of listening but creating awareness among the community, and doing a lot of listening.
Allyship: A mi parecer, es la unión entre dos fuerzas que buscan un bien o un objetivo en común. Cabe aclarar que estos objetivos no son necesariamente “buenos moralmente”. Solo con que sirva para algún beneficio de las fuerzas basta.
Advocacy: En español, la traducción más cercana aunque no completa sería la abogacía que significa la acción que ejercen los abogados en su profesión es decir el apoyo profesional a una persona en torno a una situación legal. En este sentido la “abogacía” la entiendo como el soporte de los que no tienen voz, o de los que no pueden hacerse escuchar por sí mismos. En Colombia solo hace falta hablar de personas como Jaime Garzón quien fue la voz del pueblo colombiano hasta que el estado quiso callarlo en 1999.
Housekeeping: En español no conozco la palabra que traduciría a “Housekeeping”, pero la entiendo como las labores cotidianas que promueven a algún activismo o ideal en cierta comunidad. Estas acciones o labores son las que dan la forma e identidad objetiva a los diferentes colectivos o activistas.
Allyship: What it’s like to be there for someone or something no matter what. It’s what we’re all looking for in our friendships and relationships.
Advocacy: What it’s like when someone won’t shut the hell up over something that really matters. It’s what we all witnessed with those White Claw fanatics.
Housekeeping: It’s everything someone is doing when no one is looking. It’s all the thought, effort, and planning that goes into something. But that housekeeper will probably never get a pat on the back for it. It’s like your mom.
I am hesitant to acknowledge that change can be made with a summary and categorization through three loose terms. I assume that these three terms have the intention of presenting themselves as a foundational stepping stone; however, a part of me believes that the presentation and packaging of these three terms will result in a reductive performance, in which the action of defining them in the context of social justice is enough to make a difference. This type of terminology is often presented in a binary, which in reality, the execution of these terms likely not. Political and social discourses exist on a gradient - allyship, advocacy, and housekeeping can range from attending protests and utilizing privilege to protect BIPOC in disputes, all the way to posting a black square on one’s instagram and claiming to have ‘done your part for the cause’.
As a POC, what is often left unconsidered from these kinds of conversations is internal race/cultural politics. For example, there are black kids who are constantly bullied for not being ‘black enough’ or individuals of asian descent who ‘do not speak enough of their native language’ or ‘are disassociated from their homeland and become too westernized.’ I am not advocating for anti-intellectualism or an anti-west polemic: rather I find many of these western social justice conversations one sided and ignorant in themselves , as for the most part, only considers the western lens and sided as a ‘white problem’ and what ‘white people can do’.
I personally equate open letters, these types of questionnaires, social media activism (tweets, instagram posts, etc) as a form of white privilege and white action, and if executed by POC, it is of white performance and utilizes their heritage or skin color as a poster board demonstration. I’m not saying that BIPOC who have experienced suffering and prejudice and true social justice motives/actions do not exist, the issue is those who appropriate the movement and reduce it to a performance for their public audience, have ‘done their part’.
These three terms are good terms to establish a conversation, but I question their form and medium as I suspect its formatting will not result in any new conversation.
Allyship: Being able to understand a community even though your own identity is not part of it. The best allyship is when you can be a resource as well, standing together.
Advocacy: Using your privilege to speak out—this privilege not being necessarily in wealth or education, but having a time in the day to participate. Can be as simple as speaking about it.
Housekeeping: Housekeeping has a very personal dimension of opening your heart to other people, and also not being afraid to put yourself out there, not being afraid to speak the truth. And not being afraid to put yourself in a very uncomfortable position, because the truth is more important than your comfort.
Alianza: La unión de dos o más personas para el logro de una idea, fin, meta o bienestar.
Abogacía: El derecho que tiene una o más personas para defender un ideal, forma de vida, un estado, etc.
Mantenimiento: Si vamos al origen de la raíz, es mantener en bienestar un lugar natural o construido por el hombre.
Allyship: The practice of sustained, reactionary participation in support of another person or group of people; a series of concerted and continuous efforts to empathize with and join in the amplification of others’ voices, especially when those voices are oftentimes unheard or disregarded by people in power
Advocacy: The practice of sustained, proactive participation in support of a cause; a series of acts that collectively serve to deliberately bring attention to and demand change for a specific cause, proposal, or facet of existence.
Housekeeping: The consolidation of others’ efforts and well-meaning intentions into productive action working towards change for a specific cause, proposal, or facet of existence; the day-to-day organizational, managerial, and maintenance work necessary to allow demonstrations of advocacy and allyship to effectively make a difference.
Aliado: Una persona o entidad que apoya una postura.
Abogacía: Movilizar acciones para la defensa legal de los derechos de una población.
Housekeeping: Organización de componentes para apoyar el desarrollo de una acción.
Allyship: Lending one’s skill set, privileges and monetary advantages to progress the interests of a disadvantaged person or community.
Advocacy: An action of progressive support through a public setting to achieve a general awareness or cause to act on an issue.
Housekeeping: The obligation of every succeeding generation to check for follies and inequalities in present social norms and respond through reformation or termination.
Para mi, Solidaridad se refiere al sentimiento y la actitud que toma el ser humano para ayudar sin esperar recibir nada a cambio.
Housekeeping is work done in the shadows. Advocacy is work done in the light. Allyship is being present for someone in need.
Checking in on my friends that are eligible to vote to make sure they have a voting plan.
Allyship: Doing one’s part to advocate for and advance the interests of an oppressed or marginalized group.
Advocacy: Speaking up for oneself or others when people or systems are disproportionately affecting those individuals or groups of people.
Housekeeping: A step-by-step plan that will result in accomplishing a major task or reaching a larger goal.
Allyship is being in support of a group or movement, listening, learning and understanding a movement and raising awareness about it.
Housekeeping is keeping all systems clean to ensure the smooth operation of a system.
Advocacy is doing your part to support a movement.
La solidaridad se puede mostrar de muy diferentes maneras en el día a día, incluso en pequeños gestos como ceder un asiento o ayudar a una persona que no esté bien…
Adhesión o apoyo incondicional a causas o intereses ajenos, especialmente en situaciones comprometidas o difíciles.
Son conceptos que le dan las instituciones especializadas en el lenguaje a la expresión de solidaridad. También pasan a cuestionar: ¿Hecho de ser solidarios una obligación o un derecho?!!!.
Entonces el punto es cuestionarnos si somos capaces de lograr entender y profundizar el coexistir porque en la línea de la vida se ha demostrado que no se puede vivir en aislamiento, siendo Unico o estando solo sino que, somos eslabones del camino de la vida, que somos ciudadanos de la Humanidad; que somos ciudadanos de este mundo. Y que lo que daña nuestro camino de vida es ese “Yo, yo.” Megalomanía: Manía o delirio de grandezas.
Soberbia, Altivez, Arrogancia, Engreimiento, Altanería, Vanidad, Petulancia, Suntuosidad, Magnificencia, Majestad, Fastuosidad, Encanecimiento, Ensobercimiento, Jactancia, Alarde, Ostentación, Fanfarronería, y la Desconfianza.
En la actualidad para sobrevivir en armonía debemos estar unidos y en alianza para lograr un mundo menos violento, más empático y más generoso. Sobreponer el Respeto, Bienestar social, oportunidad, Igualdad con la Solidaridad. No a la discriminacion, no al racismo, no a la injusticia, no a la exclusión. Uno para todos y todos para uno.
Allyship: To have empathy for and putting oneself alongside another person or thing or group of persons or things.
Advocacy: To raise your voice or actions on behalf of another person or thing or group of persons or things.
Housekeeping: The act of running an organization.
Allyship: Act of becoming one more member of a group/organization with a clear goal to be reached without giving up.
Advocacy: Act of defending someone or any specific cause by an organized group .
Housekeeping: Specific tasks to be worked on and organized by a crew to maintain and provide a result for an organization fighting for a community.