Wearing your tee every day: Allyship beyond the trend

Wearing your tee every day: Allyship beyond the trend
You went to a march. You shared some content. You elevated bla(c)k voices. You followed bla(c)k accounts. You donated. You signed a petition.
You brought from bla(c)k businesses––Now what?

Image source: Instagram. Photographer: @alesha.caroline

In the weeks leading up to January 26, and the few days in January that followed–we saw heightened support opposing the annual questionable celebration of invasion and the continued impacts of colonisation.

Businesses with large followings were using their social media platforms to provide a source of education as a way to elevate and amplify First Nations voices. In solidarity with mob, we saw shopfronts across the country keep their doors open despite January 26 being a national public holiday, and we received an influx of countless of messages about further education.

Image source: Instagram. Photographer: @_seangilligan_

We can’t help but wonder ––where is the continued momentum?

In parallel with the constant churn of the news cycle, we see the same thing happening with the awareness and dismantling of issues impacting First Nations people time and time again.

Unfortunately, justice and liberation for First Nations people is at the centre of conversations for only a short time. These conversations briefly gain momentum, awareness increases, the pressure builds and then­ it stops and doesn’t commence again until the next significant event transpires. Essentially, the movement loses ‘popularity’ and stops trending–January 26 is not the only example of this ‘trend’. We are still fighting to #FreeTheFlag and black deaths in custody continue #BlackLivesMatter.

What we are calling for is visibility, energy and pressure all year round––not just around culturally significant events or dates, and not just to align with what’s trending, because the romanticised rhetoric of moving on from the past is not possible for First Nations people. First Nations people aren’t afforded the privilege of just getting over it.

The work of dismantling colonisation is ongoing because it continues to violently manifest itself within every institution in this country­–in health, education, justice, child protection and land acquisition to name a few (more on this is in our 8 Things You Need to Know About January 26 blog). 

As a collective society, there is little visibility of the systems of oppression that benefit the majority, and First Nations people are othered, de-centred and in a ‘constant state of duress’ (Lynda June-Coe for Indigenous X, 2020).

Injustice continues even when allyship stops trending. There is much more work to do.

Find your role in the movement, not the moment.

If your allyship is transient or burdening towards First Nations people, you must rethink the work.

Continue listening to and elevating First Nations people. Continue to educate yourselves and those around you. Learning and unlearning is crucial and important, every day of the year.

Be mindful of taking up space and instead––create and uphold space for First Nations people.

Consider whether you’re lending your voice to allyship or performative activism and adjust accordingly. @officialmillenialblack has created an excellent resource on Instagram that dives into this further.

Consider how can you use your current skillset and experience to support First Nations people and movements. Maybe you’re a writer. A photographer. An organiser. A graphic designer. Maybe you have social influence. Maybe you have a large audience. Or maybe your workplace holds influence. Could you utilise and leverage these experiences and positions?

Show up. Create consistent pressure. Use your privilege. Call out behaviours. Include us. Centre us. Continue the momentum­. To be outraged, particularly for a fleeting moment, is not enough.

Reflection

  • Are you decolonising your knowledge and spaces just as you are your wardrobe?
  • Are you taking advantage of the conversations your tees spark?
  • Are you wearing your tees regularly as part of the movement or just for a transient moment?

We invite you to keep up the momentum.

To help you do so, a reflection postcard is included with each Clothing The Gap purchase.

 

We are keen to see yours. Fill out your postcard, upload it and tag us using the hashtag #ContinueTheMomentum.


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