What is allyship? ABC7 News Anchor Kumasi Aaron shares ways to partner with black community

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- To say the last week has been a lot would be an understatement. Watching George Floyd die on video while being pinned down by multiple police officers is traumatic. Hearing him cry out for help, for his mother, is traumatic.

Yet sadly, this is a trauma black Americans have had to endure time and time again; watching someone who could be them, or someone they love die because of systematic racism and police brutality. The whole thing feels like a funeral - the heaviness, the sadness, the pain.

What's encouraging this time seeing people of other races, who have not been impacted in the same way by police brutality and systemic racism speaking out about it, putting actions behind those words, and thinking about the role they can plan in creating real and long lasting change.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom said, "We have to own up to some very difficult things. The black community is not responsible for what's happening in this country right now, we are. We are, our institutions over and over again, we are responsible we are accountable to this moment."

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That is acknowledgment, and what I believe is the first step in being an ally. It's acknowledgment of your role, whether intentional or not, in creating and maintaining a system of inequity, and the privilege that system affords you. From there, being an ally is about taking action and using that privilege to help create equity.

It can be overwhelming to think about what that looks like. The first and natural response is to ask a black person, but many black people are already dealing with the issue itself. Connect with people and organizations actively working in this space that can offer guidance, or take it upon yourself to educate yourself on ways to be an ally. There are plenty of resources online, and from there you can take action in the ways that make sense for you. That could be taking to the streets in peaceful protest or donating to an organization working to bring an end to systemic racism and police brutality. It could be speaking up when someone says or does something that is racially unjust, or fighting for diversity if you are in a position of leadership at company.

There are concerns that you might do or say something wrong and make things worse. You might, but it's okay to make mistakes. Everyone is learning and what matters most is intention and action. It will take everyone to working together to address the issues we're faced with today.

Take a look at the latest stories and videos about the investigation into George Floyd's death in Minneapolis and protests across the U.S.

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