Artist: Michelle Robinson

In times of duress, distress and hardship all over the world, now and as we reflect on the many injustices, crises, conflicts and warfare that have tainted history, what gives us strength during hostile times are true allies standing by our side no matter what. As we take this COVID situation triggering the world to come to a momentary halt, as an opportunity to reflect, it is also high time we considered how we ourselves can act as allies to support people at grass-roots level, in collective defence of civil action (as well as civil behaviour) and human rights while we try to beat the authoritarian system as best we can.

As we currently witness a repeat of historical imbalances leading to violent eruption followed by mass protest and rebellion, true allyship has been achieved if we experience a sense of relief and catharsis when observing a satisfactory outcome of these civil rights efforts. With the Black Lives Matter movement garnering increased media attention in the aftermath of one of the most horrific recent single events sending shock waves across the world, the brutal killing of George Floyd has shaken the democratic foundations of an American nation whose democratic privileges are reserved for but a few. While on wider reflection this case is really just another example of cruelty against black people from past to present, the both nationwide and worldwide ripple-effect response to the deed has produced real action on the part of protest groups all over who now come together in mass demonstrations against the establishment and where the architecturally oriented grand finale of these pervasive efforts has lately included the forceful removal of statues and monuments representing colonizers judged as oppressors from today’s perspective; “historical key in hand”.

These many efforts and protests symbolic acts of sympathy for those victimised, persecuted and maltreated through time, when it comes to women’s rights ̶ equally important as black lives ̶ the Me Too Movement has since it first was coined in the media in 2017, likewise caused shock waves and left an impact in society at large. These two important movements call for a worldwide response, acknowledgment and rectification of racism, and sexism and misogyny, respectively. When people start to feel, connect with their hearts and allow empathy for the common man ̶ and woman ̶ to seep into the system, that is when allyship can lead to real action with the power to change societal structures in the present and future.