Complicated and Critical

Submitted By:
Jeremy Sandler, The Potomac School, McLean, VA

Allies: Real Talk About Showing Up, Screwing Up, and Trying Again edited by Shakirah Bourne and Dana Alison Levy
DK Penguin Random House, September 14, 2021

How can you be an ally for others? This anthology proves that such practice is complicated and of critical importance. Readers will come to understand that the complications are not hindrances to learning, reflecting, and showing up. Instead, they can motivate us to embrace the ongoing work of allyship, even after missed opportunities and mistakes, in order to create meaningful action and change. The stories and teachings feature a wide array of identities, backgrounds, and experiences. Additionally, each essay's point-of-view encourages readers to step into the shoes of various people: the commuter speaking out in response to bias, the classmate failing to step up, the friend disappointed in their peers’ reactions. Schools promoting diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice (DEIJ) are advised to make Allies a resource. Since most of its authors primarily write for young adults, the anthology is an inviting and empowering read for middle and high school students. The stories could promote empathy, discussion, and action when shared in the context of book clubs or advisory activities. Faculty and staff, too, will gain insight and inspiration from reading Allies as part of PLC-work addressing DEIJ competencies and initiatives.

Teaching Practice
Leadership Practice