The horrific killing of George Floyd by police officers in Minneapolis (U.S.) has shocked many people and organisations around the world. The protests and the calls for change by Black Lives Matter and black and minority ethnic communities in many countries across the world have caused them to look at how they themselves can do better.
We all need to step up and do more to make change happen. Police brutality does not occur in isolation – it happens in the context of a deeper systemic racism that too often goes unnoticed and unchallenged. I see it as every organisation’s responsibility to examine its way of working and its culture – to identify and remove any source of systemic or other discrimination. At MSIF, we can and will do more to proactively address structural inequalities, racism and discrimination.
People with MS face discrimination for being poor, for being disabled, for being unemployed or less privileged. We know that in many countries people from minority ethnic backgrounds who live with MS or other disabilities can face even more barriers than others living with MS. The inequities in healthcare systems often hit them extra hard. All this adds extra responsibility to the work of our movement.
Over the coming months we will engage with our trustees, staff and member organisations to examine and address institutional inequalities, discrimination and ethnic barriers across our members and the global MS movement. We will explore changes to our governance to diversify our organisation. We will change how we recruit our staff and our contractors. Through our advocacy work, as we address inequalities in access to healthcare for people with MS, we will ensure that racial inequality is not neglected. In our campaigns and our research activities, we will do even more to ensure that people from minority ethnic backgrounds are included, represented and heard. Above all, we will not let racism or xenophobia of any kind go unchallenged, because, as Martin Luther King wrote:
‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere’