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How to Be an Ally to Black Lives Matter

Everyone Should Read This Woman's Viral Message About How White People Can Be Allies to Black Communities

Following days of protests in Charlotte, NC, after another black man was killed by police within a week of Terence Crutcher, many are left questioning what we can do to end the cycle of violence. Ayahna Hamilton, who goes by LocalBlactivist on Twitter, shared what white people can do to be allies to communities of color in the wake of such tragedies.

"I believe the easiest way to be a good ally, for any purpose, is to genuinely care," Hamilton told POPSUGAR. "Don't say you're an ally because you think that's what we want to hear." The 18-year-old college student who currently lives in New York City also said it's important for white allies to remember that it's not about them. In addition to support, being an ally means understanding that role. "Your ally-ship is not dictatorship. The most important thing is to listen. Listen to their concerns, their solutions, their critiques, and go from there. Communication is essential."

Here are Hamilton's tweets that have since gone viral:

When asked about a time where felt like she had support from a white ally, Hamilton described an experience she had at school when she was one of two or three black students in a class. During a discussion about students who had petitioned another school to remove a statue of Thomas Jefferson because he was a slave owner, Hamilton was offended by her teacher's defense of Jefferson.

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"He suggested that the statue should be left up because, and I quote, 'Everyone had slaves back then, who cares?'" said Hamilton. She was outraged and "ready to explode." However, before she had a chance to respond, the other students — who were white — "finished him off." Hamilton said she was grateful because the other students "listened, cared, and acted."

Hamilton's advice is a guide to supporting people of color and movements like Black Lives Matter. At the end of the day, white people will never know what it's like to be persecuted based on their skin color. Being an ally means recognizing that and, as she says, exercising "the appropriate way to use your privilege."

Image Source: Getty / Sean Rayford
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