protester at George Floyd Protest in NY raised arm face mask
Highsnobiety / Alessandro Simonetti

For people who actively want to be an ally right now, it can be confusing to know the best way to help. Resharing footage of police brutality might seem necessary at this moment, but the pain it causes POC during this emotionally traumatic time is likely to outweigh the political impact of your tweet.

As writer Mireille Harper identifies, our online conversations can feel “like screaming into an echo chamber.” But if you aren’t Black, there are valuable ways to activate beyond social media and without centering your moral correctness.

Harper has compiled an invaluable 10-step guide “to Non-Optical Allyship” that provides practical tips to move forward and make a change in our society. Swipe through to read each step.

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Social media has been a bit overwhelming since I first put up this post so it has taken some time for me to post this. On Friday, I shared this content on Twitter after I felt the conversations online were like screaming into an echo chamber. I wanted to provide those who wanted to support and be an ally with practical tips to move forward and make a change in our society. I am still somewhat surprised and overwhelmed by the reception so please take patience with me at this time. — For a note on who I am to those who have followed me from Twitter, my name is Mireille. I'm an assistant editor and I do freelance writing, PR and sensitivity reading and other bits on the side. I am extremely passionate about diversity and inclusion, and everything I have shared is not new knowledge to me. From as far back as I can remember I've been campaigning, fighting for equality and supporting and working with black owned organisations. I have worked in the diversity and inclusion space for around four years and I have been equipped with knowledge, skills etc through that work as well as through wider, intensive reading and being raised by a Jamaican mother who has a degree in Women's Studies. I felt as a mixed race person who was emotionally capable despite the current situation that I could use my learned experience, skills and compassion to offer this advice to allies and anyone else who was seeking advice but didn't know where to turn. This is now on my stories as a highlight so please feel free to share from there or here. — A small reminder that this took emotional labour and POC, especially black people are not here to teach you everything. When I said ask how you can support, I meant on a personal level as a friend etc. I hope this toolkit provides you with the starter info you need but there are genuinely people more experienced than me who warrant your listening to – please go and follow @nowhitesaviors, @laylafsaad, @rachel.cargle, @ckyourprivilege, @iamrachelricketts, @thegreatunlearn, @renieddolodge, @ibramxk + a few more: @akalamusic, @katycatalyst + @roiannenedd who all have books or resources from many more years of experience. _ Peace, love and light ??❤️?

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She begins by explaining that optical allyship only serves at the surface level. It’s aimed at amplifying the “ally” rather than breaking away from the system that oppresses. In the guide, she recommends checking in with Black friends and family, recognizing that acknowledging your privilege will not be pretty or fun, and reading up on anti-racism work.

Later she stresses the importance of not sharing traumatic content or work by platforms that promote hate, and instead, donating to organizations that support and protect Black people.

Importantly, Harper cautions against centering the narrative around your experience. While your outrage is real, inserting yourself into the issue can take away from the severity of the situation. It’s far more effective to continue to support Black media, initiative, and platforms after the news cycle has moved on and attention has shifted. She also recommends thinking about how you can make a long-term impact by committing to long-term plans.

The toolkit is a helpful resource made possible by the emotional labor of black people. But it is designed as a point of departure, into deeper reading and more difficult conversations. Thankfully, the toolkit also includes other accounts to writers and resources including @nowhitesaviors@laylafsaad@rachel.cargle@ckyourprivilege, and more.

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Weekend Staff Writer

Isabelle is an Australian writer based in Berlin.