What has the impact of BLLING been so far?
I never thought this personal need I had to have a community was shared by others. In hindsight it all makes sense – we all have a core need to belong.
Beyond creating this space for others, BLLING has a “mirrors and windows” effect – when minoritized students see themselves in the speakers, topics, and causes we discuss, they can self-identify as deserving a space as change-makers in academic and clinical settings. This is powerful; it invites minoritized students to dream up futures they have not yet imagined. The speech-language-hearing profession needs a different future that more accurately represents the multiply-braided identities of the people we serve.
There are also the ripples of community service turned activism: once students come in contact with local communities and understand systemic issues that exist, their own critical consciousness is raised and they organize to make change.
“I feel more confident as a LatinX woman in a profession where I felt my voice was one of the few. BLLING gave me the space to grow clinically and personally in ways I could not find elsewhere.”
What are your goals for the future of the organization?
Well, sustainability, first. Membership is free and all members participate on a voluntary basis. Conservatively, what I see as an achievable next step is work we already started this past year – creating a systematic structure that provides a regular flow of information from the community to our professional spheres through blog posts, podcast interviews, guest speakers, and more.
Now that cities are opening up, another goal is being more intentional about reconnecting and reaping the gains from remote learning to create hybrid opportunities for community engagement.
Bigger dreams include:
- Devising a series of training videos (led by students, teachers, and caregivers) to create a flexible curriculum focused on culturally and linguistically responsive and liberatory practices and;
- Working with BLLING’s minoritized faculty and practitioners who are engaged with the organization as advisors to create spaces for imagination and collaboration. I’m envisioning group writing and idea-generating sessions in which we pitch proposed talks, community events, or process major theoretical frameworks we wish to use as guides in the work we will be doing together.
How can readers interested in BLLING join the community?
BLLING will be hosting some in-person events this summer, so anyone interested can feel free to e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org, complete the contact form through our website, or connect us on Instagram and Facebook. Additionally, we are part of NYU Engage, the online community where students of all levels of study can join clubs.
The Communicative Sciences and Disorders Program offers rigorous training for students seeking high-quality education in speech-language pathology.
Through our Bilingual Extension Program (BEP), students have the opportunity to supplement their master’s with training on evaluating and treating clients using culturally and linguistically appropriate theory and methods.