Ally is not a noun
Being an ally is not a fixed identity that can be claimed or achieved. There is no ‘finish line’ that can be crossed that affords the winner the title of ‘ally to the disability rights movement’. Being an ally is not pre-given. Having a close relationship with a disabled person doesn’t automatically make someone an ally to the disability rights movement.
Ally is a verb
Being a non-disabled ally to the disability rights movement is a practice and a process. It is something that is done through every day acts of resistance to oppressive power structures with and alongside disabled people in their fight for justice and equality.
Making a choice
Being an ally brings with it invisible privilege in the form of choice: people choose to be or not to be an ally.
Choice means that non-disabled allies are able to step out of the fight for justice and equality if, and when, it suits them. While non-disabled allies are able to choose to step out of the struggle, disabled people can’t choose to ‘take a break’ from the everyday realities of living in a disabling society and choose to step out of the struggle. Being an ally is about choosing to stand against oppression whenever you see it instead of choosing to ignore it or walk away.
To be a disability ally, then, requires commitment and action to dismantling challenging political, social, and economic structures and institutions that discriminate, exclude and disadvantage disabled people. Every. Single. Day.
Take a look at this piece…