Black Lives Matter – a message from the SCL Trustees

“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” Dr Martin Luther King

SCL’s tagline is ‘tech law for everyone’. As an educational charity we strive to be open to everyone and to share learning and experience with anyone wishing to participate. But we are also a reflection of the tech law sector that we serve and in which we work, and the sector has more to do in order to encourage and foster diversity. We must acknowledge that it’s not enough for us to operate on the understanding that “everyone” implicitly includes people of colour. We must act to ensure that the Black community is actively and intentionally included in everything that we do.

The death of George Floyd at the hands of officers in the Minneapolis police force and the subsequent worldwide protests have served as a wake-up call to many of the racism inherent not just in the USA but in varying forms around the world and in our systems and in our culture. Recognising this is only the start. 

We can and must do better. 

Starting the conversation can be worrying, we might do or say the wrong thing, but what’s a couple of moments of awkwardness compared with a lifetime of prejudice? We should take courage, have the conversations, be prepared to get it wrong and continue the dialogue and educate ourselves. Being a better ally demands that we do not remain silent. 

We want SCL to use its position of privilege and influence within the tech law sector to help make a meaningful change. While our annual Student Tech Law challenge is full of bright, new talent and is wonderfully diverse, this diversity does not appear to be reflected in higher levels of the profession. 

“You can’t be what you can’t see”. Marian Wright Edelman

SCL speaker panels are not as diverse as they could be, and we need to address this now and improve so that young lawyers from the BAME community feel inspired and encouraged.  

Last November, Haben Girma gave the SCL Annual Lecture during which she challenged the profession to be more inclusive. We accept the challenge and want to lead by example. We are soon to launch the SCL Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Group that was first discussed after Haben’s lecture. The Group will work with the Trustee Board to help the Society affect meaningful change. SCL commits now to reporting back in six months about the specific steps we have taken to advance diversity, and we commit to review and report back on progress annually thereafter. As we work towards these changes, we hope that you keep us accountable. 

We see you. Black Lives Matter.