20 Oct 2021
October is Black History Month in the UK. British history cannot be understood without Black history and this month gives us all a chance to learn more about the many under-represented people and events that have shaped our country.
There have been Black people on these islands since at least Roman Britain, playing important roles in our society and history. In 1948 our NHS was founded and the HMT Empire Windrush arrived at Tilbury Docks, bringing with it generations of Black people who would become the nurses, doctors, dietitians, support staff, and others providing healthcare for us all.
Understanding our history gives us the tools to understand our present and build for our future. Black history is a vital part of that understanding and Black History Month is a great opportunity to understand it better.
Black History Month is also an excellent opportunity to celebrate the history that Black people continue to make today. With the theme this year of ‘Proud to Be’ we are excited to be profiling some of our amazing Black members and the important work you do throughout October.
The number of Black dietitians is growing, but – as this article from the Black Lives Matter in Dietetics event in 2020 shows – they still face discrimination and mistreatment from both colleagues and patients. This is unacceptable and we must all work to eradicate racism from our profession and our society.
One way we, as dietitians, can contribute to this goal is by building our knowledge of different diets and foods across the cultures we serve. The advice and care we provide our patients and clients should always be individualised, and we may be unintentionally providing a lower standard of care to our Black patients if we are not able to meet them where they are. Look out this month for guidance on healthy eating across different cultural diets.
As a Professional Association and Trade Union, we support and stand in solidarity with our Black members. As a part of doing that, we are pleased to share an update on our new Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Committee.
The Committee will hold their inaugural meeting next month. Thank you to everyone who put themselves forward for election to the EDI Committee and for the reserved seats on our Trade Union National Executive Committee (TUNEC). You can learn more about the committee here.
Chair, British Dietetic Association