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Allyship in Community Engagement and Service Learning

The mission of the Center for Service Learning is to advance service-learning, community-engaged scholarship, and civic engagement through community and campus partnerships, fostering a commitment to participation in creating a diverse, just, and global society.

Allyship and cultural competence are important aspects of effective and inclusive engagement with and in our communities. It is important to collaboratively work towards assuring conditions that support equity, particularly for communities and groups who may have a history and increased likelihood of experiencing marginalization.

It is what we do that defines us.


In addition to protests and demonstrations, below are a few examples of types of social change strategies and how you can apply them in the current moment. The majority of these strategies can be found on Iowa and Minnesota Campus Compact's Social Change Wheel 2.0.

Advocacy involves supporting an idea or cause through public and private communications and collecting evidence to support one’s position. It could mean speaking or writing to individuals, groups, or elected officials on behalf of a cause. You can also learn about local and national advocacy campaigns by visiting Color of Change’s website. If it is your first time contacting elected officials and you are nervous, you can invite your friends to join you on a video call to send emails and make calls together while keeping it on mute. This way you feel connected to others and know you have support if you need it!

Voting & Formal Political Engagement involves mobilizing others to influence public policy through formal political channels and participating yourself. Visit csl.ku.edu/voting for more information about voting and elections!

If you have the means to do so, Monetary Donations are another way to contribute to social change. To stay updated on opportunities to donate, follow Black-led organizations and groups like the Movement for Black Lives, local Black Lives Matter chapters and other local affiliated partners on social media.

Socially Responsible Daily Behavior means acting on one’s values and civic commitments in one’s personal and professional life. Examples of this include challenging racist words or behavior or buying from Black owned businesses. If you are looking for books on anti-racism to help you navigate difficult conversations with loved ones about race and commit to an ongoing journey of developing critical consciousness, support Black owned bookstores and Black authors at the same time—here is a list of 47 black-owned bookstores that you can support across the country.

What other spokes of the Social Change Wheel to you consider to be useful and relevant in racial justice and allyship work?


Below is also a non-comprehensive anti-racism reading, listening, and viewing list to start or continue your actively anti-racist journey:

  • An African American and Latinx History of the United States—Paul Ortiz
  • Americanah—Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • The Autobiography of Malcolm X-- Malcolm X
  • Between the World and Me- Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • Black Feminist Thought-- Patricia Hill Collins
  • The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration-- Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • The Bluest Eye-- Toni Morrison
  • The Burning House: Jim Crow and the Making of Modern America—Anders Walker
  • The Color Purple: Alice Walker
  • The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Urban America—Khalil Gibran Muhammad
  • A Different Mirror: A History of Multiculrual America—Ronald Takari
  • Divided Sisters-- Midge Wilson and Kathy Russell
  • Dying of Whiteness: How Politics of Racial Resentment is Killing America’s Heartland—Jonathan Metzl
  • Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower-- Dr. Brittney Cooper
  • Fatal Invention-- Dorothy Roberts
  • The Fire Next Time-- James Baldwin
  • Go Tell It On the Mountain-- James Baldwin
  • Heavy: An American Memoir-- Kiese Laymon
  • Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women That the Movement Forgot—Mikki Kendall
  • How To Be An Antiracist-- Ibram X. Kendi
  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings-- Maya Angelou
  • I'm Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness-- Austin Channing Brown
  • Just Mercy-- Bryan Stevenson
  • Kindred-- Octavia Butler
  • Lifting as We Climb: Black Women’s Battle for the Ballot Box—Evette Dionne
  • Locking Up Our Own-- James Forman
  • Me and White Supremacy-- Layla Saad
  • The Miner's Canary-- Lani Guiner and Gerald Torres
  • The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness-- Michelle Alexander
  • The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the 21st Century-- Grace Lee Boggs
  • A People’s History of the United States—Howard Zinn
  • Redefining Realness-- Janet Mock
  • Roadmap for Revolutionaries—Elisa Camahort Page, Carolyn Gerin, and Jamia Wilson
  • Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches-- Audre Lorde
  • So You Want to Talk About Race-- Ijeoma Oluo
  • Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America—Ibram X. Kendi
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God-- Zora Neale Hurston
  • They Can't Kill Us All by Wesley Lowery
  • The Warmth of Other Suns-- Isabel Wilkerson
  • This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color-- Cherrie Moraga
  • We Should All Be Feminists—Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • When They Call You a Terrorist—Patrisse Collors and Asha Bandele
  • White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism-- Robin DiAngelo
  • Why are all the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?—Beverly Daniel Tatum
  • Women, Race, and Class-- Angela Davis
  • The Wretched of the Earth-- Frantz Fanon
  • You Can't Touch My Hair-- Phoebe Robinson

Movies/Shows to Watch:

  • 13th-- Ava Duvernay (on Netflix)
  • American Son -- Kenny Leon (on Netflix)
  • Black Power Mixtape: 1967-1975 (available to rent)
  • Clemency-- Chinonye Chukwu (available to rent)
  • Dear White People-- Justin Simien (on Netflix)
  • Fruitvale Station-- Ryan Coogler (available to rent)
  • I Am Not Your Negro-- James Baldwin (available to rent)
  • If Beale Street Could Talk-- Barry Jenkins (on Hulu)
  • Just Mercy-- Destin Daniel Cretton (available to rent)
  • King in the Wilderness (on HBO)
  • See You Yesterday-- Stefon Bristol (on Netflix)
  • Selma-- Ava Duvernay (available to rent)
  • The Hate U Give-- George Tillman Jr. (on Cinemax)
  • When They See Us-- Ava Duvernay (on Netflix)
  • The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution (available to rent)

  • 1619-- the New York Times
  • About Race
  • Code Switch-- NPR
  • The Diversity Gap
  • Intersectionality matters! by Kimberlé Crenshaw
  • Momentum: A Race Forward Podcast
  • Pod for the Cause-- Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
  • Pod Save the People-- Crooked Media
  • Seeing White

  • Black Lives Matter (@blklivesmatter)
  • Black Visions Collective (@blackvisionscollective)
  • Color Of Change (@colorofchange)
  • No White Saviours (@nowhitesaviours)
  • Layla Saad (@laylafsaad)
  • Rachel Cargle (@rachel.cargle)
  • Check Your Privilege (@ckyourprivilege)
  • Rachel Ricketts (@iamrachelricketts)
  • The Great Unlearn (thegreatunlearn)
  • Reni Eddo-Lodge (@renieddolodge)
  • Ibram X Kendi (ibramxk)

This is by no means a comprehensive list of actions and resources available to be actively anti-racist. Educating and preparing ourselves to be actively anti-racist and an ally is an ongoing process. Utilize the resources we’ve shared to discover additional resources and exchange recommendations with your friends and family. Here's another helpful resource from the KU Libraries. As you are doing your own self-work and learning, please share with us any resources you have found helpful so we can add them to this list for the benefit of the rest of our community!


Resources in this page were compiled from a number of sources, including a newsletter sent out by Lesley University’s Office of Community Service, a document created by Sarah Sophie Flicker and Alyssa Klein, an article by Layla F Saad, and countless Instagram posts including those by Mireille Harper and Good Good Good Co.


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