The murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, George Floyd, and Rayshard Brooks have focused our collective attention on the issue of systematic & systemic racism in the United States. This is not a new issue nor is it an issue that exists only in this time and space. This is an ongoing and prevalent problem that has been and continues to affect the lives of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) here in the United States.
In light of the recent events and movements, we want to acknowledge the hurt that many scientists and members of our broader community are feeling right now. Scientists and science communicators must denounce systemic racism and police brutality against all Black people. We demand justice. ScienceBites stands in solidarity with #BlackLivesMatter. #STEM fields have had, and continue to have, a long history of exclusion and violence against BIPOC. This is also true in SciComm.
As scientists and science communicators, our work is not separate from its societal consequences. We must acknowledge that science is complicit in upholding and perpetuating structural racism. Science has a long-standing history of justifying the inequalities between races and exploiting marginalized groups. From the eugenicist program, the theft of cells from Henrietta Lacks, the Tuskegee Study, to the mass surveillance technologies used to terrorize communities of color, we are enmeshed in racist ideologies and instruments. There is no doubt that there are many more such instances and that science continues to propagate the tenets of white supremacy. We thus have a responsibility to commit to meaningful, actionable, anti-racist change.
In the words of Angela Davis, “…it is not enough to be non-racist, we must be anti-racist.” The weight of advancing racial justice cannot rest solely on BIPOC. It is an effort we must all be involved in. BIPOC members of our community must be supported and white silence must end now.
The leadership at ScienceBites has been reflecting on our own anti-racism efforts and we are committed to doing the work to better educate ourselves and those we serve. As we launch this new website which brings together the efforts of the hundreds of graduate students that are part of the ScienceBites community, we want to ensure that our present and future actions are anti-racist. We do not want to ignore the impact of these current events. As your peers, we respect you and care for your safety and success. ScienceBites welcomes feedback and dialogue about how we can contribute to and affect positive social change. We as a collaboration are actively discussing what specific actions we can do to right the wrongs that we’ve perpetuated.
Resources on this topic have been compiled by several members of the ScienceBites community including:
- Astrobites’ post series #BlackInAstro
- Astrobitos: “#BlackInAstro: ¿Cómo podemos apoyar a los astrónomos de la comunidad negra?”
- Chembites: “We need to talk about racism in chemistry”
- ComSciCon’s statement on BlackLivesMatter and Science Communication
- Geobites: “Whose Faces do we See in Geology Textbooks?”
- Laetitia Meyrueix on what it means to be anti-racist and how you can take action to end white silence
- Nutribites’ statement on #ShutdownSTEM
- OncoBites Statement in Support of Black Lives Matter
- PERbites: “What do students draw when asked to “draw a scientist”?
- ForensicBites stands in support to Black Lives Matter