Two years ago, we adjusted our sails due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Phrases rarely used have entered our everyday vocabulary: vaccination, booster, asymptomatic, contact tracing, flatten-the-curve, social distancing, herd immunity, isolation, lockdown, mask up, quarantine.
One of the ways out of this pandemic is to learn new phrases. I want to introduce you to the word of the year from dictionary.com. I hope it, too, will enter our everyday vocabulary. It is allyship (noun): and means, “the status or role of a person who advocates and actively works for the inclusion of a marginalized or politicized group in all areas of society, not as a member of that group but in solidarity with its struggle and point of view and under its leadership.”
The word allyship combines the noun ally, “a person who advocates for or supports a marginalized or politicized group but is not a member of the group,” and –ship, a noun-forming suffix here denoting “status, condition.”
While newly added to my vocabulary, allyship is, of course, not a new word in the English language. But maybe we can make it a regular word. In trying and divided times, the word allyship sounds like a much-needed note of hope, optimism, and possibility for the future—hopefully a future in which the word is not just given lip service but lived out.
This week, find a way to use it in your spoken communication. Then, live it in your deeds. I’m hoping allyship has the power to bring us all together.