Celebrating Black History Month: Allies Today, Allies Tomorrow

Allyship is a continuous journey towards justice and equality


By Naeema Hasan

As we continue to celebrate Black History Month, we are granted a profound opportunity to honor and reflect upon the immeasurable contributions of the African American community. This month allows us to fully acknowledge the brilliance, creativity, and resilient spirit of African Americans and how they have played an enduring role in driving American history towards progress and justice.

Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC is recommitting to learning from the past and supporting the ongoing struggle for justice and equality for African Americans. We understand that true allyship with the African American community necessitates a comprehensive understanding of their unique experiences and the significant challenges they confront. It is imperative for us to delve into not just the historical aspects of the African American experience but also the present-day issues they face.

By engaging deeply with both the history and current challenges of the African American community, Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC is better equipped in its efforts to advocate effectively and stand as dedicated allies both today and tomorrow.

Confronting and Addressing Critical Issues

It is undeniable that substantial challenges persist for the African American community. Confronting and addressing these critical issues is a key step in paving a path forward. The insights below shed light on several critical challenges currently facing the African American community.

Criminal Justice System Disparities

Step into the courtroom, where justice is meant to be served. Yet, the blindfold slips, revealing systemic bias against African Americans. Disproportionate targeting, arrest, and sentencing rates cast a long shadow over fairness and equity. The disparities prevalent within the criminal justice system further illustrate the systemic bias against African Americans who face disproportionate targeting, arrest, and sentencing rates. Law enforcement’s gaze falls disproportionately upon African Americans. Routine encounters escalate into life-altering events.

  • Stop-and-frisk policies disproportionately target Black individuals, eroding trust in law enforcement. Traffic stops, innocuous, unfold with unequal scrutiny. Statistics reveal that African American drivers are more likely to be pulled over, searched, and detained than their non-African American counterparts.
  • Educational institutions unwittingly feed the pipeline. African American students face harsher discipline for minor infractions, propelling them toward the criminal justice system.

Such systemic biases not only devastate the lives of Black individuals and their families, but also contribute to a cycle of racial inequality that erodes our nation’s societal fabric.

Economic Injustice

The struggle for financial prosperity is an uphill battle for African Americans. The path is strewn with barriers — pervasive unemployment, underemployment, wage disparities, and education and housing inequities.

Unemployment and Underemployment:

Wage Disparities:

Education and Housing Inequities:

  • Quality education remains elusive for many African American children. Underperforming public schools and gaps in digital infrastructure exacerbate learning losses. The promise of a brighter future dims.
  • Housing opportunities, too, are restricted. The dream of homeownership, a cornerstone of wealth accumulation, remains out of reach for far too many.

These are not mere statistics; they are the pulse of a community striving for dignity. Addressing wage disparities alone could propel an estimated two million Black Americans into the middle class, reversing current trends and uplifting the next generation.

Active Allyship: A Weapon in the Fight Against Injustice

As we grapple with the critical issues facing the African American community and the long journey towards true justice and equality, it’s crucial to remember that active allyship is a potent tool in our collective fight against injustice. Active allyship isn’t passive; it requires us to educate ourselves about African American history and culture, advocate for equitable policies, and engage in open, honest dialogues. It’s about showing up, speaking out, and stepping in when injustices occur.

As we commemorate Black History Month, we are reminded of the enduring strength, resilience, and contributions of the African American community. Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC is committed to standing as an ally, learning from the past, and advocating for a future that acknowledges and addresses the unique challenges faced by African Americans. We believe that by understanding and confronting these issues, we can contribute to a more equitable and just society. This month serves as a reminder that our commitment to allyship isn’t confined to a single month but is a continuous journey towards justice and equality. Together, we can make a difference, today and every day. Let’s continue to honor, learn, and grow, for a better tomorrow.

To expand your allyship, check out At the Intersection of Solidarity: A Reading List for Black and Asian Communities.

Naeema Hasan is a Communications Temp at Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC.

Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC has a mission to advance the civil and human rights of Asian Americans and to build and promote a fair and equitable society for all. Visit our website at advancingjustice-aajc.org.



Advancing Justice – AAJC
Advancing Justice — AAJC

Fighting for civil rights for all and working to empower #AsianAmericans to participate in our democracy.