Hello Black Lives Matter-LSHTM! The summer’s hot, but we are on fire! It’s been another couple of busy weeks, so this is what we’ve been up to.
Reaction to Director Piot’s retirement
On 31 July, the Council chair Don Robert let the school know that Peter Piot would be retiring as Director, effective July 2021. He also expressed a refreshing openness to input from the LSHTM community on choosing his successor. Black Lives Matter-LSHTM took advantage to pen our own letter in response, calling for equitable recruitment, holistic selection criteria, and the right tools and incentives to meet ambitious objectives in equity, diversity and inclusion. You can read the original email, as well as our response, here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/12NCrGC_Td4rtjHb4T3RU4VI4bclxNvEy/view?usp=sharing
New Council member election
Elections for a new Council member to represent professional academic staff are open this week, and we wanted to help keep racial justice and decolonization high on the agenda. We have released an open letter with a few questions for the candidates (available here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1GJybKyMMQtrP6ZzXqIibYXOSXPzimTOi/view?usp=sharing). We hope for some great engagement and also hope that we can endorse someone based on their response. More news in the coming week!
School-wide virtual meeting
We also held our first school-wide Zoom meetings on Thursday, 6 August, and Monday, 10 August. The Steering Committee was really pleased to have the chance to introduce ourselves, hear your suggestions, and answer your questions. If you couldn’t make it either day but are still interested in hearing the conversation, you can access:
● the video recording: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1axP23Bf790ckPqNxfH8M2MhyQTCGYlXg/view;
● The audio file: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1gPqT5tyWXQuS6FzHE8hCfQ0m8pTIoAm7/view?usp=sh aring
● Or the powerpoint presentation: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1753VgQK9RIrvRBAhvR57EFi2Ti-sSqh9/view?usp=shari ng
Ongoing project updates: ‘What Can We Do Now?’ toolkit & plan for formalizing BLM
We’re actively working on the toolkit to help professional and academic staff integrate anti-racism into their work, and we’ve identified several champions within the school to help get it off the ground. Before sharing a consolidated draft within the next month or so, we are looking for a volunteer for sense-checking and critical review. Let us know if you have the time. We’ve also been busy on our organizational plan for formalizing Black Lives Matter into the institutional fabric of the school, under the name of the FAIR network (Fighting Against Institutional Racism). We will be excited to share the draft as soon as it’s ready.
On the agenda
Next week we have two meetings with the Senior Leadership Team. Along with discussing our ideas for FAIR, we will also hear Kara Hanson out on what the school has planned for realizing its stated objectives on the Race Equality Charter. We have some important concerns, and we’ll keep the pressure up for a rigorous, external assessment of LSHTM’s challenges.
Call for volunteers
If you would like to be more involved, don’t hesitate! Join the BLM strategic planning group (https://chat.whatsapp.com/CQTaNHG8a8QG7hw6ja7F44) or write to firstname.lastname@example.org and introduce yourself and let us know what you’d like to work on.