Updated: Oct 3, 2020
Hello to the Black Lives Matter-LSHTM community! It’s been another great couple of weeks, as our volunteers continue working hard to advance racial equality at LSHTM. Here are the
Release: An anti-racism toolkit. Part 1: Decolonize LSHTM
In just over a month, our team of volunteers was able to put together this primer on decolonizing academia, and last 14 September we started disseminating it through our networks. While it’s directed primarily at white faculty and staff who want to know how to thread anti-racism into their own work and departments, the toolkit will be useful to anyone who wants to understand the key concepts needed for constructive conversations around race, both within and outside of academia. Please feel free to share; we hope you find it useful.
External review of racism at LSHTM
We are pleased to share that the school’s Senior Leadership Team (SLT) and the Council
have, in principle, agreed to commission an external review of racism at LSHTM. For us,
this is great news, and it comes in response to the joint call by Black Lives Matter-LSHTM
and the Decolonising Global Health (DGH) group, among others, for an objective, external
evaluation of the problems at LSHTM. Over the coming weeks and months, we will update
you on the scope of the review and the professional(s) commissioned to carry it out. If you’d
like to be involved as an observer or participant in this process, just let us know.
Forum for Dialogue
The SLT and Council have also called for a Forum for Dialogue, to bring together the school
leadership; BLM; DGH; the department for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI); and the
unions in order to discuss issues around racism and EDI at the university. One of the early
agenda items is expected to be the terms of reference for the external review.
The BLM Steering Committee is happy to see the SLT and Council commit to leading this forum. However, although we believe the invitation to BLM was offered in a spirit of collaboration and openness, the Steering Committee was disappointed that none of the
heads of department were expected to take part, limiting the potential for transversal
impact. Moreover, the power differential between the SLT/Council, on the one hand, and
BLM/DGH/EDI, on the other, also seems to set up a dangerous dynamic, wherein our group
and others advise the leadership, while they make the decisions and adopt strategies. On
the back of our letter against free labour , we responded by stressing that the onus of work
must necessarily be on those with power. We will take part as observers and stand ready to constructively comment on the School’s plans, but ownership for this work must be concentrated at the top.
BLM-LSHTM External website
We are working on our communication in order to make everything easily available. If you
have experience in web design, please reach out to us and join our communication team.
Channelling future work: Black Lives Matter-LSHTM and the Fighting Against
Institutional Racism (FAIR) coalition
Our revised proposal for a Forum for Dialogue, along with our plans for BLM and the FAIR
coalition, were sent to the SLT in a concept document . With regard to the future of BLM, we believe we can do the most good by staying true to our grassroots origins, that is, by
maintaining our independence from the School. Although the SLT has expressed their
openness to compensating our work as an internal body, we advocate for project-specific
commissions, including on parts 2 and 3 of our toolkit.
At the same time, we argue for LSHTM to develop a school-wide network for anti-racism:
the FAIR coalition. Its mission would be to connect disparate initiatives in anti-racism;
identify and fill gaps in knowledge and activities; channel resources to anti-racism and
decolonial activities; develop networks of racially minoritised people; and field reports of
racial bias incidents and advocate for victims.
Presentation: Black Lives Matter and the practice of Tropical Medicine
Emilie Koum Besson and Sham Lal joined the new Diploma of Tropical Medicine & Health
cohort and presented the links between Black Lives Matter and the practice of Tropical
Medicine. See the presentation in the activities
On the agenda
24 September 2020 from 10.00 to 12.00 and 15.00 to 17.00 BST - Emilie Koum Besson will be joining the stall for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at the new Student Marketplace ,
set up as Zoom rooms where new students can get to know the groups operating at
LSHTM. Spread the word!
9 November at 17:15-18:15 BST - Black Lives Matter presentation and Q&A at the Global
Health Lecture Series , via Zoom
More in the document attached