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YWLC X Facebook: Building Your Allies - Start by Practicing It!

“Be the reason someone feels welcomed, seen, heard, valued, loved and supported"

As the workplace and community becomes increasingly diverse, it is ever more important to learn about the diversity of cultures and be inclusive. What does it mean to be an ally, and what does it take to be an ally - be it in the wider community or even the workplace?

In the first of a 3-part workshop series in partnership with Facebook held on 14 August, Rahimah Abdulrahim (Ima), Director of Public Policy for Southeast Asia (Established Countries) for Facebook, shared about what each of us can do to become an ally.

What is an ally?

An ally is someone who does not belong in a minority community and offers their help to you. They stand up for others to proactively build inclusion in their communities and workplaces.

Fine-tuning your “Ally-Radar”

You need to be aware of situations when someone is in need of an ally. We don’t naturally see it if we don’t train ourselves to look out for others in such situations.

Building your Allyship ‘Muscle’

Being an ally can be an uncomfortable experience the first time you call out a situation or action. It is important to practice, make mistakes in a safe environment and even move beyond your comfort zone to build your ally muscle. This makes it easier to take action the next time around.

Own your privilege

Recognise your privilege - the opportunities, resources and power you have that others may not. Your privilege is something that you can use to help others as an ally. It can be as simple as asking a presenter at a meeting to slow down if there are colleagues in the room whose first language is not English.

Accept feedback

Be open to accepting feedback and ask questions such as “How can I make this right?” Clarify, validate, and then work it out by stating an intention of support and then problem-solve together. Building allyship means exposing oneself into the situation, therefore, having open communication is important. Identify who you are as a person, recognise when you can be a strong ally, then start by practicing it!


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Organising Committee: Leadership Development

Speaker: Ima Abdulrahim Partner: Facebook

Artwork: Liesa Desisca

Editor: Joey Ong


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