Fighting Against Institutional Racism @LSHTM
Dismantling Colonial Legacies in Global Health Education
Independent group of current and former LSHTM staff and students, working collaboratively with LSHTM
On 2 June 2020, a Black employee at LSHTM began a movement when she posted a letter (template from Rachel Elizabeth Cargle) calling for the Institution to be held accountable for it's silence after George Floyd’s murder and in the midst of the worldwide Black Lives Matter protests.
The letter gathered over 600 signatures from LSHTM staff, students and alumni and more than 60 testimonies in just 7 days, before being sent to LSHTM Senior Leadership Team. Subsequently, an anti-racist movement began within the School.
Black Lives Matter-LSHTM is an independent grassroots collective of LSHTM students, staff and alumni. While the group is not an official BLM charter, its roots and values are influenced by the global Black Lives Matter movement.
The group is committed to supporting LSHTM’s transformation into an equitable, decolonized and anti-racist institution. In order to realise this goal, the group aims to to hold LSHTM accountable for institutional racism and neo-colonialist practices as well as to provide a space for people to voice their concerns.
The Fight Against Institutional Racism (FAIR) Network is a more formal realisation of the ambitions of Black Lives Matter-LSHTM. While remaining essentially external, the FAIR Network is woven into the fabric of the Institution, working more closely with teams, departments and leadership to push for the anti-racist praxis, racial equity, historical accountability and radical reform desperately needed at the School.
The FAIR Network and LSHTM have agreed to work together in good faith. All involved recognise the value in working collaboratively while acknowledging the challenges inherent in addressing racism within an institution with a long colonial history, particularly in the field of global public health.
Explore this website to find out more about our actions, events and learn how to join this fight.
True equality can be achieved only when white people – and Western society as a whole – internalise the difference between blame for racism and responsibility for reducing it. It is natural to rationalise one’s role (whether complacent or complicit) in racist systems by feeling not personally to blame for the existence of a racist system. However, It is our personal responsibility, both as citizens of the global community and members of a powerful public health institution, to do our part to dismantle it.
At LSHTM, non-white people have repeatedly described the toxic professional and academic culture that permeates the institution. Despite the existence of clearly discriminatory narratives and mechanisms rampant in the educational curriculum, scholarship and research funding, as well as in hiring and career progression of academics and staff, racism is seen as a taboo subject.
A deeper understanding of these dynamics is necessary to create awareness of entrenched behavioural patterns and biases, reorient LSHTM values to revere humility and respect for all peoples and cultures, and create a safe and supportive environment that nurtures the potential of all of our community members.