My commitment to social justice

Below is an incomplete and imperfect statement on my own learning around matters of social justice.

This isn’t intended as an information source for others, more an act of accountability to myself and an exercise in open communication. I want to understand broader perspectives beyond the mainstream privilege that I hold as a white, able-bodied, cisgender, university-educated, middle-class westerner. I want to contribute to the ways we shift power and move towards equity for all.

There are many great educators out there providing essential information on the topics of antiracism, trauma-informed care, neurodiversity-affirming practice and more. Follow the threads of your own internet searchings, ask friends for recommendations, pay attention to what’s around you and who it’s written by. This is work we all need to do. I endeavour to keep going, especially when it feels uncomfortable.

Within our work we’re in a position to inform how people view a child, understand their needs and make choices about how to support them. This is no small position of power.

Speech and language therapy as a profession is majority white, able-bodied and middle-class (source), while the population we serve is vastly more diverse than this.

We work with many that are historically marginalised: people of colour, neurodivergent people, transgender people and those who are disabled.

With that in mind, it’s essential that we better understand the impact of intersecting forms of oppression, consider our own layers of privilege and reflect on how all of this influences our work.

The systems in place impact:

  • funding choices for research
  • data gathering and what becomes the ‘norm’
  • behaviours considered acceptable and from whom
  • the opinions and experiences that are prioritised
  • whose stories are told

I’m learning to be more aware of resources I use, the information I call on, who I listen to in my ongoing learning and what I choose to share.

I renew my commitment to the following values and principles within my own work: radical acceptance, joy and curiosity. I want to work within flat hierarchies, where everyone’s contributions are heard, everyone’s safety and wellbeing prioritised.

I want to keep having conversations about how we achieve this. What can we fix? What do we need to let go of, break down or change entirely?

Writing a statement on social justice isn’t enough. I hope it might lead to more discussion and an unfolding path of tiny steps we can take together.