Editor’s Note: This week, I’ll be sharing guest blog post from folks who identify as allies and share what that means to them.
Christpher Whitlatch is the Manager of Marketing and Communications at The Pittsburgh Foundation. We met via Twitter and have gone on to connect across multiple social media forums.
It is important to be who you are.
In 5th grade on class picture day, I told my mom I wanted a “true” photo of who I was. So, I donned my retainer, my glasses and my favorite shirt. My mother always supported and encouraged my quirkiness. On this occasion, she also counseled me that be careful as some might not understand this and treat you differently, maybe even bad. I was stubborn and she appreciated that in me so off I went to schools as I wanted. Here’s the photo:
My class thought nothing of it. Some would say I was lucky that my classmates accepted my uniqueness. But, take a look at the class photo:
We are all unique and that is a great photo. All of our differences, personalities, character traits, socio-economic classes are all on display. I don’t think I ever took a better class photo.
The celebrated writer, Sherman Alexie, was asked what it is like to live in two worlds (Native American and White). He replied, “I belong to 10,000 tribes and so do you.”
Your political party, your religion, your gender, your beliefs, whatever – those are only a few of the tribes you belong to. When you recognize that you can be open and honest and accepting of others tribal affiliations and respect their uniqueness just like my 5th grade class did for me.
Sue Kerr asked me to write this as an ally. And, I am. I’m also a friend. A supporter. A cheerleader. And, I hope so much more for her because it is important that she is who she is. Who are you? I bet we share a tribe somewhere.