June 13th 2020
The murder of George Floyd in the USA and the Black Lives Matter movement across the world has starkly exposed endemic racism at the heart of British culture and institutions, a shameful culture that has stalled anti-racist change at seemingly every opportunity.
White privilege, and indeed intersectional privilege, has kept some of us blind to the lack of freedom of movement, to the oppression, cruelty, and discrimination that Black People and People of Colour can experience on a daily basis. It is true that everyone’s experience is unique, but it is also true that racism is systemic, engrained, institutional, and dangerous.
We at SPPA, like others around the world, want change – systemic, structural, institutional, cultural change. Change that puts equality at the heart of everything, not as an after-thought or a token; change that redresses power imbalances and challenges inequalities; change that serves everyone, without exclusion or exception. We commit to starting this change with ourselves and with our own organisation. With our members, we will be examining what needs to be reconstructed with our governance, website, charter and standards, processes, activities, images and words. There will be small changes and there will be big changes, and we will not shy away from asking difficult questions and holding ourselves to account.
As John Boyega said recently:
“This is an intense time for our community, and the most important thing is for us to maintain momentum and not lose sight of how critical it is to pursue long-term solutions and commitments, for the sake of our generation, and the next.”
SPPA believes that our society needs to consider its current ‘social pedagogy’ (even though we have yet to firmly root the valuable academic and professional discipline of social pedagogy across the four nations) with a view to long-term, systemic change. The UK’s current social education (another way of describing social pedagogy) often lacks a coherent ethical framework for practice, has contributed to the promotion of social control, of serving the dominant and powerful, and of reinforcing racial inequality. The time is ripe for co-constructing a new society, for establishing how the aims of that society will be supported in its structures and systems, and how the helping professions will develop services that address existing inequalities through educational means. We will be hosting a Webinar Gathering to discuss these issues, and crucially – to begin the journey of change on 3rd July 2020 – details to follow.
SPPA Board of Trustees