Andrea Ayzazian argues that in a world of powerful social systems it is easy to feel overwhelmed by inequality and oppression. She says that learning what an ally is and taking on this role is an important step toward change around a particular issue and reigniting hope in society.
She identifies an ally as a member of a dominant group in society who works to dismantle oppression that s/he benefits from for being part of that dominant group. For example, as a male, I have a systemic advantage based on my gender. Therefore, I can be an ally to women by working to promote equality and "leveling the playing field," which may even mean rejecting ideas that could benefit me personally in the short term because of my gender.
Allies often carry significant influence and authority because they are part of the dominant group and are able to more easily get the attention of that same dominant group on certain issues. While I have always considered myself somewhat of an ally to women. This class as encouraged me to be more vocal and speak out, particularly when I am with other men about women's issues and not let sexist ideas/jokes slide.
Here is a poignant video that talks about how to be a good ally, 5 Tips for Being an Ally. She starts out by saying that a good ally must be willing to listen and learn from the communities or groups. For me that means me listening and learning from my mom, my sister, my girlfriend, my female coworkers, teachers, classmates and women that I interact with on a daily basis.
One of my main take aways from this article is that I am a change agent. You are one too!