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Ally-ship and Position

Written By Rosey Thomas Palmer

I was warned that within Greens of Colour that there were some rumblings of misgiving about ally-ship. I decided to examine what the idea of being an ally means to me. What I jotted was: friend, supporter, empathetic observer from within, “standing in the shoes of main players”, sharing work, awareness or skills.

I heard that a position identified for or by an ally was problematic for some. My concepts arise from sociology so, please, allow for the omission of psychological implication. To me position means: authority, leadership, recognition, autonomy, policy, and implementation. None of these are characteristics of ally-ship.

Unmusical though I am, two songs lilt in my memory: “Lean on me” and “I want to hold your hand.” Two of Greens of Colour’s major faith groups will recognise the story of Moses, a great leader in his prime. Moses was dying. He could not go forward to receive the promise. They held up his hands and the battle for new opportunities was won by recognised leaders.

I wanted to share what membership of Greens of Colour means to me, a senior ally. It replaces a vision of a life’s work falling into abeyance with hope. It empowers me to hand on the baton. I am not required to decide who will take it up but I am glad someone does. Accordingly, “ally” also means recognition of my capacity and that of others; humble understanding that one life can’t do everything; joy, satisfaction and relief that issues which have been experienced and combatted will not be forgotten.

I hope this adds to discussions in a useful way. Keep on Greens of Colour. Continue to grow in numbers, strengths and depth. There are things to be changed and it takes all of us to do it.