Anti-Oppression & Advocacy

The following resources were created by WISE to support social justice advocacy and anti-oppression efforts. These resources were designed to help educate the public and grow awareness of social injustices and systems of oppression. They are free to be shared on social media and distributed to the public.

WISE also advocates for self-care and self-love in social justice movements. Social justice must encompass levels of self-awareness regarding one’s identity and role within social movements and the larger society. This includes knowing when to stop and care for your physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing before continuing onwards.

Visit our database of team-building & anti-oppression activities

By sharing these resources we hope to encourage a workplace culture rooted in anti-oppression and that which empowers teams, beneficiaries, and communities to practice empathy and self-preservation.

WISE staff drinking coffee while painting ceramics
 

WISE Strategic Goal 7:

Challenge systems to become culturally responsive to the needs of immigrant and refugee women and girls in the areas of education, safety, economic justice, immigration, and health and wellness.

 Advocacy Actions: Ways to support social justice 

A woman holding a sign in protest

1. On-the-ground support

  • Peaceful protest -- be in direct action!

  • Collect, distribute and deliver food.

  • Help clean up with your neighbors or community organization.

This is a globe with the letters "www" to indicate the internet.

2. Remote support

  • Make donations to supporting organizations (monetary, food, in-kind, etc) or share donation information.

  • Share information/resources from advocacy organizations with your network.

  • Call, email or write to officials or representatives.

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3. Educate

  • Have conversations with friends, family and community members about white supremacy and social justice.

  • Research and educate yourself about white supremacy and social justice.

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4. Social-emotional support

  • Connect with family and friends who reside in major protest areas.

  • Open your home to those who need it away from areas of distress.

 

 Terminology & Phrasing 

Advocacy

An activity by an individual or group that aims to influence decisions within political, economic, and social institutions (Wikipedia); the act or process of supporting a cause or proposal (Merriam-Webster).

Anti-Oppression

The “strategies, theories, actions, and practices that actively challenge systems of oppression on an ongoing basis in one's daily life and in social justice/change work. Anti-oppression work seeks to recognize the oppression that exists in our society and attempts to mitigate its effects and eventually equalize the power imbalance in our communities” (Simmons University).

Colorism

Colorism is the discrimination of someone based on the color of their skin. Colorism favors individuals with lighter skin and discriminates those who have darker skin. It is rooted in racism and promotes white standards of beauty.

"I don't see color."

Saying “I don’t see color” minimizes and makes invisible the issues BIPOC individuals experience based on their racial or ethnic identity. This essentially ignores the fact that race and colorism play a very influential role in our society regarding power and privilege.

Example 1: A company chooses not to interview someone because their name sounds too "ethnic".
Example 2: A black man lives in a predominantly white neighborhood and his neighbors call the cops on him because they assume he doesn't live there.

 

What can you do?

  • Recognize that race is a social construct designed to alienate and segregate communities. [See “Social Construct” below]

  • Understand that while race is socially constructed and that we all belong to one human race, racial discrimination is a real and daily experience.

Downloads

This is a social media graphic explaining the do's and don'ts of saying "I don't see color."

Positionality

Positionality is the advantages and disadvantages a person holds based on their perceived social identity and the social groups in which they belong, such as their education level, gender, ethnicity/race, and class. The power these identities hold are not fixed but can change based on the time and location of each unique individual and the extent to which those identities are valued in society.

See Blog Post: The Power of Positionality in Social Justice Efforts

Social Construct

A social construct is the meanings, understandings, assumptions, and biases we form about the world as a result of human interaction. From human interactions, we form rules of social conduct and acceptability. Examples include standards of beauty and stereotypes.

 

Race is a Social Construct

  • Humans created race in order to hold power and privilege over others. It is a classification system that is used not only to stress physical human attributes (hair type, eye color, height, facial structure, etc.) but it is also used to oppress different groups by putting them on a hierarchy of superior to inferior races based on said attributes (Center for Health Progress).

  • Race is used to create feelings of “otherness” for groups of people who might differ based on geography, language, or other social identities.

  • The concept of race is constantly shifting. For example, individuals who are multiracial might perceive themselves as reflecting more of one “race” than the other based on the time, location, how they were raised, or what language they speak, etc.

 

Example 1: A girl of Hispanic descent doesn’t recognize herself as Hispanic because she was raised by a European family.
Example 2: A multiracial woman of African and European descent is seen by others as only black.

Systemic Racism vs. Institutional Racism

Institutional Racism: rules and practices within institutions that control and limit BIPOC individuals from accessing resources and opportunities. Those who resist these rules and practices will oftentimes be isolated or punished.

Example: A black teen was barred from attending his high school graduation and senior prom due to a school policy that forbade boys from having long or braided hair. Read the story.

Systemic Racism: racism that has been historically integrated into public places, policies, institutional practices and cultural norms of society. Systemic or structural racism is oftentimes subtle as it is normalized and interwoven into society.

Example: A highway is built in between a predominantly black neighborhood and a predominantly white neighborhood. Read the story.

Downloads

This is the social media graphic describing the difference between systemic racism and institutional racism