4 June 2020

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 oth people of colour 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 Black, Asian and minority ethnic 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 Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, 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. Black, Asian and minority ethnic 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 Black, Asian and minority ethnic 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 Black, Asian and minority ethnic 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 Black, Asian and minority ethnic 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 people of colour 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.