Science, engineering, and medicine are not immune to the discrimination, subjugation, and silencing of minority colleagues and voices. The reasons for this are deeply ingrained in the systems that govern the conduct of these fields. When we hold up a mirror to the scientific enterprise, we see that it’s not only politicians and law enforcement that need to be reminded that Black lives matter.
Almost every generation has arrived at a similar moment of opportunity born of tragedy. Progress will require systemic change that, as of yet, we have been unable to make. To be clear, AAAS is part of that system. As we plan for the actions to ensure this moment does not slip away, it’s time for us to pause, listen, and reflect on how—as an organization, as members of the scientific community, and as members of our broader communities—we can and must be a powerful force for change.
As part of this, AAAS acknowledges and supports #ShutDownSTEM, a grassroots movement that aims to “transition to a lifelong commitment of actions to eradicate anti-Black racism in academia and STEM.” We are committed to education, action, and healing at AAAS, and we hope to encourage other institutions and individuals to get involved. This is not a moment that our community can let pass. It is time to stop what we’re doing, take time to listen to our friends and colleagues, and commit ourselves to taking the actions needed to bring about real and lasting change.
Black academic and Black STEM professionals are hurting because they exist in and are attacked by institutional and systemic racism. Black people have been tirelessly working for change, alongside their Indigenous and People of Color allies. For Black academics and STEM professionals, #ShutDownAcademia and #ShutDownSTEM is a time to prioritize their needs— whether that is to rest, reflect, or to act— without incurring additional cumulative disadvantage.
We encourage everyone in our community to observe in some way #ShutDownSTEM on June 10th. The #ShutDownSTEM website has resources to help make your plan and share it with others.