There has been a lot of discussion lately on something called allyship. Put simply, allyship within the disability context is when someone forms supportive relationships or associations with marginalized individuals or groups.
Allyship is when a server describes exactly where they are placing everything on the table. Allyship is when someone does this on a busy Saturday night, when I'm with someone sighted who easily could have done it for me. The server is busy, it's stressful, and they know they don't have to, but they do it anyway. Why? Because, for whatever reason, they get it.
Allyship is the teen ticket agent back in the small town where I grew up who excitedly showed me how to work the brand new audio description headphones. He actually sat with me for a bit to make sure everything was working correctly and checked in on my friend and I to see if I wanted popcorn halfway through the movie.
Allyship is my favorite chem. tutor/friend introducing me to his popular, older friends as "his friend" just days after he began tutoring me. He could have said student, he could just have told them my name, but he instead chose to call me his friend because that helped me fit in more.
Allyship is my brother reading aloud the entire Harry Potter series, front to back, start to finish, because the audio books were painfully slow to come out back then. Allyship is when he insisted that it was more fun reading it to me between chugging glasses of water and mountain due to quench his thirst. These are not short books. The official recording of Order of the Phoenix is thirty-one hours long. My brother read it to me in about two days when he was maybe eleven.
Allyship is photo descriptions, Netflix originals renown for audio description, and co-workers at work describing their virtual backgrounds or helping with accessibility issues. It's asking if, rather than assuming that, someone needs help.
It's making people feel comfortable, included, and valued. It's quietly making a difference with or without recognition.
So, what do you think. Would you like to be an ally?