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Anti-Oppression Resources for UNLV Students: Becoming an Ally

For UNLV students, or friends or family who want to help.

About this guide

With a focus on student safety and well-being, this guide is designed to provide general information and links to resources about anti-oppression and related topics such as diversity, inclusion, and social justice for the UNLV academic community. Intended to be non-partisan, many resources offered here are for everyone regardless of political affiliation or viewpoint. In some cases, resources and links related to issues and specific policies proposed by elected officials are part of this guide as these issues and proposed policies directly impact professional and personal lives of members of our community, such as immigrants or people of color. 

We would like to offer our appreciation to the following individuals and other valued colleagues who contributed to the development of this guide.

Christine Clark, Professor, Teaching & Learning

Brittany Fiedler, Teaching & Learning Librarian 

Mariana Sarmiento Hernández

Sue Wainscott, Engineering Librarian

This guide seeks to serve as a starting point and is not meant to be exhaustive. It is our goal to continue its development in response to evolving needs of the community. We welcome suggestions from all members of the UNLV academic community.

If you have feedback about this guide or would like to suggest additional resources, please contact Sue Wainscott, Engineering Librarian


Resources to become an Ally


(Go to the Report Hate/Get Help tab for immediate help, if an emergency dial 911.)

Becoming an Ally

Artwork of a person with eyes closed, right hand closed pushing on forehead, as if in pain with the words "Arte de Mujer Fiera". Next to a quote "The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people. - Martin Luther King, Jr."

(Artwork by Anita Revilla, Quote added, Used with permission from the artist)


If you experience privilege because of one of your identities, there are things you can do to become an ally of the marginalized group that experiences the form of oppression you have never experienced. Becoming an ally takes a lot of hard work. Simply saying you are an ally is not enough. You must educate yourself about the issues, examine your own privilege, and do the hard work that is involved in reversing that privilege so that you treat others with marginalized identities as equals, instead of inadvertently advancing your own privilege and contributing to their oppression. Then, there are actions you can take to challenge and dismantle systems of oppression and injustices in our society. This whole process can be very challenging, and as you become more self-aware, you may experience guilt or shame and make mistakes along the way. However, it is better to engage in this difficult process in order to become an ally than do nothing yourself to fix the injustices that you are a part of because of your privilege. Below are some resources to help you get started.

What does it mean to be an Ally?

Becoming an ally can be a difficult and painful process, yet it is so important to become an ally if you care about the marginalization of others and want to engage in the fight for social justice. Here are a few things to remember if you seek to become an ally, a list from Everyday Feminism -

  1. Being an Ally is about Listening - Remember, this is not about you; it is about learning about and understanding others, though allies should not expect others to educate them. Seek out written resources and discuss your privilege with other members of your dominant group.
  2. Stop Thinking of ‘Ally’ as a Noun - 'Ally' is not a label you can just choose, it is a process. It does not give you bragging rights. Always remember that you benefit from your own privilege ​daily, and in doing so, you still contribute to others' oppression.
  3. 'Ally' is not a self-proclaimed identity ​- Being in solidarity with others is always something we can strive for, but in the end, it is up to others whether or not they trust us and choose to receive support from us.
  4. ​Allies don't take breaks ​- Oppression is constant, so too must be the fight against it.
  5. ​Allies educate themselves​, constantly - ​One thing we shouldn't do, though, is expect people of marginalized groups to educate us. Education is up to us, it is our responsibility, and we shouldn't place that responsibility on anyone else other than ourselves and the dominant group to which we belong.
  6. ​You can't be an ally in isolation ​- you must find others in your dominant group with whom you can be held accountable, and you must remember that you are accountable to the group that experiences marginalization because of your power and privilege.
  7. ​Allies don't need to be in the spotlight - ​Allies provide support to others rather than highlighting their own work.
  8. ​Allies focus on those who share their identity - ​It's not our place to engage with marginalized groups to discuss their own marginalization. That is asking something of them that should be our responsibility. Talk to people in your dominant group, call out instances of racism, sexism, ableism, or other forms of discrimination and hate when you see it.
  9. When Criticized or Called Out, Allies Listen, Apologize, Act Accountably, and Act Differently Going Forward - ​We all make mistakes, and you will slip up along the way. Take responsibility for your mistakes, and move forward.
  10. ​Allies never monopolize the emotional energy - ​While being an ally can be hard, being marginalized is harder. Avoid dwelling on your own pain or asking others to sympathize with you, especially when you are with members of an oppressed group.

Additional Ally Resources

Please I'd like to Grow: 60 Years of Student Activism. An Exhibit by Heidi Johnson

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