4 easy steps to be a better ally to minorities and others, in a comic.

In the early fall of 2016, French artist Marie-Shirine Yener, aka Maeril, had her first viral hit with a comic about how to stand up to Islamophobic harassment.

Maeril channeled her own experiences with street harassment as a woman of mixed Iranian, Turkish, Kurdish, and Armenian descent into the illustrated how-to guide for helping Muslims. But she also understood the irony that her voice as an ally resonated more loudly than the voices of actual Muslims who have been targeted.

"There is a tendency people have not to believe a minority group when they speak of oppression," she wrote in The Independent. "We always rely on some sort of a 'bridge' — a more familiar, non-Muslim person like me, in this situation — and I wish we didn't have to."


Maeril's first comic was meant to address the specific issue of Islamophobia. But readers realized that the lesson could apply in other situations, too.

Muslims are hardly the only marginalized group to suffer from unfair bullying, hate, or harassment. So rather than detract from or erase their unique and very-real struggle, Maeril created another illustrated how-to guide for being a better ally overall, especially at a time when hate crimes are on the rise.

"We need to protect those who don’t have the privilege of not fearing for their lives from now on," she said on Tumblr. "If we don’t have any support in the authorities, we must at least have each other, and stand strong in the face of adversity. I believe in you."

So if you want to be a better ally to people of color, people who are LGBTQ, people with disabilities, women, and others, these four steps are a great place to start:

All images by Maeril/Tumblr, used with permission.

"1. Listen. Be here for them. If they need you to escort them somewhere, do it. Don't take action without their agreement, like forcing them to report something to the police. Be open, and be ready to help."

"2. Compile emergency data. Look for useful informations concerning the minorities around you: Emergency hotlines, shelters, lawyers, therapists... You can also print your compilation and pin it in your town-hall, college campus, high school, etc."

"3. Enroll. Associations and shelters are going to be the backbone of the fight: networks & logistics they provide are vital. Consider joining one near you, or volunteering for online services and support hotlines. If you don't know where to start, reach out to NGOs to ask where you can be of any help."

"4. Educate. Share those steps with those who want to help. Tell them about what you learned: where to redirect who, the nearest trans youth shelter, a lawyer who specializes in racist hate crimes, therapists who provide accessibility solutions for people with disabilities, etc."

Across the world, people are waking up to the need to stand in solidarity with marginalized people. Lip service alone is not enough for equality.

Maybe recent events have made you aware of how many people in the world are still suffering. And maybe you're feeling a little overwhelmed by it all — you want to do your part to help, but there are just so many different words and terms to memorize and learn, all these different groups and identities to keep track of and try understand.

With so much ground to cover, it's tempting to just throw your hands up and say, "Forget it! I can't keep up! They don't need me!" But remember: A lot of people don't have that option. Their mere existence brings them hardship and struggle every day. Which is why they need your support — perhaps now more than ever.

So listen: You're gonna screw up. You're gonna make mistakes. That's OK.

But as this comic shows, if we truly believe in a better and more equitable society full of equal opportunities for everyone, then we all need to step up.

We need to do the work, learn, speak out (but not over other people), screw-up, get better, and keep moving forward, together. Let's get to it.

More

On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

Culture
via Cadbury

Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

Cadbury was prompted to help the organization after it was revealed that 225,000 elderly people in the UK often go an entire week without speaking to another person.

Keep Reading Show less
Well Being

Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

WE Teachers
True
Walgreens
via KGW-TV / YouTube

One of the major differences between women and men is that women are often judged based on their looks rather than their character or abilities.

"Men as well as women tend to establish the worth of individual women primarily by the way their body looks, research shows. We do not do this when we evaluate men," Naomi Ellemers Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today.

Dr. Ellers believes that this tendency to judge a woman solely on her looks causes them to be seen as an object rather than a person.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture