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  • Writer's pictureSertrice Shipley

The Hard Part of Allyship: Advocating for DEI When It’s Under Attack

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives are crucial for building workplaces that are fair, innovative, and successful. But lately, there's been a rise in negativity surrounding DEI efforts. So, how can we, as allies, keep the momentum going even when facing resistance?

Strive to Understand the Pushback 

First, it's important to try to understand why some might oppose DEI. Fear of change, misinformation, or a misunderstanding of what DEI actually entails can all contribute to negativity. It is important to recognize that while you may not agree with the person's perspective, it stems from their lived experience and is valid to them. You must take the time to actively listen to understand their perception to learn how to best address their concerns, while also addressing your concerns as well.  

Be a Vocal Advocate

Here's where your allyship comes in! Here are some ways to champion DEI even in challenging environments: 

  • Educate Yourself: Stay informed about DEI best practices and research. This knowledge empowers you to address misconceptions and frame DEI as a win-win for everyone. 

  • Speak Up – Respectfully: When you hear remarks against DEI, calmly counter them with facts and the benefits of DEI. You can provide the business case for DEI, or make the ethical argument that everyone deserves to feel like they belong in their workplace. 

  • Amplify Diverse Voices: Being an ally is more important now than ever. Support colleagues from underrepresented groups. Encourage them to share their perspectives in meetings and highlight their contributions. 

Lead by Example

Beyond words, your actions can speak volumes: 

  • Challenge Unconscious Bias: We all have them! Be mindful of your own biases and challenge them in your daily interactions. 

  • Celebrate Differences: Take the initiative to learn about and appreciate your colleagues' backgrounds and experiences. Organize events to foster inclusion and support employee resource groups (ERGs) that create a community for individuals. 

  • Hold Yourself and Others Accountable: If you witness microaggressions or unfair treatment, speak up. Encourage respectful communication and inclusivity within your team. 

Remember, Allyship is a Journey 

Being an ally for DEI is an ongoing process. There will be setbacks, but don't get discouraged. Celebrate small victories, learn from mistakes, and keep the conversation going. By working together, we can create workplaces where everyone feels valued, respected, and empowered to thrive. 


Looking to advance DEI through data-driven insights in your organization? Contact us at Plan to Action today to drive meaningful change, together. 

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