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Black Lives Matter: A statement

The Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT) is committed to equality, inclusion and creating better lives for all. We condemn the brutal killing of African-American George Floyd and stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement protesting his killing and wider injustices. 

The RCSLT stands with the Black community and other BAME communities against all forms of racism, whether overt, insidious or structural, and we encourage our members to do the same.

Racism and discrimination are faced by BAME community members every day, and the speech and language therapy profession is not immune from these scourges. It is therefore no longer enough for us simply to stand up and condemn racism: we must be actively anti-racist.

We therefore encourage our members to engage with members of the BAME community, whether colleagues or service users, to understand their reality and to understand the challenges they face on a day-to-day basis. It is essential that we as professionals take it upon ourselves to research more into these issues, for example by engaging with hashtags such as #blacklivesmatter on social media platforms. The onus should not always be on people of colour to educate others on issues.

It is no secret that diversity within the speech and language profession is an issue and has been for a very long time. BAME people have always been underrepresented in the profession and continue to be underrepresented.

There are no easy answers, but the RCSLT continues to engage our membership and continues to learn in order to address this issue. The RCSLT as an organisation, and the speech and language therapy profession as a whole, must be part of the solution and so we will continue to address this head on.

What are we doing?

We’ve made the diversity pages on our website open access so that members may see the work that is currently underway.

Members have also been in touch and suggested a number of actions, which the RCSLT has already committed to undertake:

  • To promote greater visibility of BAME members across all RCSLT communications channels in order to improve representation across the website and social media channels.
  • To create a platform/safe space for BAME members, including SLT students, to express the challenges that they face without judgement or fear of repercussion.
  • To hold a profession-wide online event, led by members of the BAME community, in order to have a candid conversation about racism and discrimination, to support cultural change within the profession.
  • To encourage our membership to learn and engage more through literature to support greater understanding, awareness and active change of racist and/or discriminatory practice and to create a culture of challenging those behaviours.

The RCSLT pledges to actively work with our members to stand with the Black community and other BAME communities against all forms of racism, to be anti-racist, and to do everything we can to bring about a positive change.

We encourage members to get in touch with further suggestions and feedback.

Putting in the work: An anti-racist reading and resource list

Articles

Videos

Books

  • Springer Nature - A collection of books, articles and journals that endorse the statement Black Lives Matter
  • Cambridge University Press - Protests, Policing, and Race: complementary books chapters
  • Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race - Reni Eddo-Lodge
  • Me and White Supremacy: How to Recognise Your Privilege, Combat Racism and Change the World - Layla F Saad
  • Between The World And Me - Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • Black Skin, White Masks - Frantz Fanon
  • Whitewashing Britain: Race and citizenship in the postwar era - Kathleen Paul
  • White Fragility: Why is it so hard for white people to talk about racism - Robin DiAngelo
  • How to be less stupid about race - Crystal M. Fleming
  • Natives, race, and class in the ruins of Empire - Akala
  • So you want to talk about race - Ijeoma Oluo
  • White Rage: the unspoken truth of our racial divide - Carol Anderson
  • The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the age of colorblindness - Michelle Alexander
  • Women, Race, and Class - Angela Davis
  • Small Great Things - Jodi Picoult
  • The Good Immigrant - Nikesh Shukla
  • Raising Free People: Unschooling As Liberation and Healing Work by Akilah S. Richards 

  • Speech and Language Therapy and Professional Identity: Challenging Received Wisdom by Jane Stokes and Marian McCormick

For families and children 

Podcasts

Videos

Charities