We are living in a monumental, historic moment. One that our children’s children will learn about in school. A reckoning. A great awakening for many. And an opportunity for everyone to face systemic inequity and injustice with courage, resolve, and a commitment to change.
My role, as a Black man and as a social justice leader, is to use my platform to elevate these issues. To lift up the voices of Black women and others who face multiple forms of group oppression. To speak my truth. To share my lived experience—even though it can be traumatic and is primarily for the benefit of furthering White folks’ understanding. Still, I am committed to using the influence I have to pursue a more just and equitable world.
Our work at A CALL TO MEN seeks to end gender-based violence and discrimination and address intersectional oppression at its roots. We intentionally look to those “at the margins of the margins” to articulate their own lived experience and help define solutions that will be effective in their lives. When we center our attention and efforts on those folks, it is our belief that everyone will benefit. This philosophy holds true for any anti-oppression work—and is especially relevant as we look at racism in America in 2020.
Our country—and most of our world—was built on male supremacy and white supremacy. Each of us is born into already established social, cultural, economic, gender, and racial constructs. Just like I was born with male (gender) privilege, White folks were born with white (race) privilege. We have inherited these privileges whether we want them or not. This doesn’t mean that White folks’ lives have been easy. It just means that they haven’t been questioned, restricted, and discriminated against because of the color of their skin. Just like men can be the solution to ending gender-based violence and discrimination, White folks can be the solution to ending systemic racism.
The greatest opportunity I see right now is to use our work promoting gender equity as a model for those who want to promote racial equity. You see, you can’t be anti-sexist without also being anti-racist. For decades, A CALL TO MEN has mobilized hundreds of thousands of male-identified aspiring allies to women and girls. We have called them into this work, while holding them accountable, and educated and empowered them to speak out against and take action to prevent gender-based violence and discrimination. And we can do the same for those who want to be aspiring allies to Black people and other people of color.
Our community is rich with folks committed to defining this moment as one of hope, meaningful accountability, great love for humanity, and lasting change. We are proud to have you come alongside us. And we know we will all benefit in the end. As Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. famously said, “No one is free until we are all free.”
Here are some things you can do right now as an aspiring ally.
We continued to dig into these issues in a Community Conversation with Glen Mazzara and Shan Foster back in June of 2020. Glen is a writer and producer and has been instrumental in educating television writers on issues of healthy manhood, diversity and inclusion, equality, and gender equity. Shan is a former collegiate and professional basketball player who has dedicated his life to engaging men in healthy manhood and ending gender-based violence. You can watch that call here.
As always, I’d love to hear how you are calling folks in to our work promoting gender and racial justice. You can tweet me @TonyPorterACTM or get in touch with us at email@example.com.