Statement on the Conviction of Derek Chauvin for the Murder of George Floyd
April 23, 2021
As we reflect on the verdict convicting Derek Chauvin of George Floyd’s murder last May, we hold many reactions in the same space:
- We agree with Minnesota’s attorney general in characterizing the guilty verdict as “accountability” because “justice implies restoration”
- We are disgusted and resigned – but not surprised – that it took such overwhelming evidence for Chauvin to be convicted
- We are furious and heartbroken that – minutes before the verdict was announced – police officers killed Black teenager Ma’Khia Bryant after she called for their aid.
- We are resolute in the need for continued efforts to dismantle systemic racism and white supremacy – systems which uphold and protect police brutality.
The guilty verdict is an important step toward addressing one of many injustices inflicted upon Black sons, daughters, parents, and children, as well as other people of color. And as we have indicated in prior statements, we cannot rest until systemic racism has been permanently dismantled. This is just as true in science communication training as it is everywhere else. We have more work to do.
As we work towards building a just and accountable world, we must remember to build and support an anti-racist community of science communication trainers and science communicators. As a Network it is our goal to bring these ideas into our own efforts, doing the critical and difficult work of both self-reflecting and challenging others when we exhibit racist behaviors, and continuing to actively name and challenge oppressive systems.
Dismantling white supremacy requires centering principles of equity and inclusion in all that we do, collectively and individually. The SciComm Trainers Network continues to be rooted in these principles, and we are stronger as a community if we all commit to doing so.
Racism in STEM is the root cause of underrepresentation of Black scholars across the STEM enterprise, including job opportunities, grant funding, and tenure & promotion. Racism in STEM is also evidenced by salaries, which are lower for Black STEM professionals than white and Asian workers. We challenge you to join us in considering how we, as individuals and a collective, perpetuate white supremacy culture as Science Communication Trainers, and how we can dismantle it. As we grapple with these questions, here are some resources on our reading list:
- Maria Temming. STEM’s racial, ethnic and gender gaps are still strikingly large
- Andres De Los Reyes & Lucina Q. Uddin. Revising evaluation metrics for graduate admissions and faculty advancement to dismantle privilege
- Evangelista et al. Why Diversity Matters Among Those Who Study Diversity
- Stevens et al. Fund Black Scientists
Stephanie J.H. Deppes
John J. Meyer
Statement on Hate Crimes Against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders
March 22, 2021
Over the past year, we have witnessed a disturbing increase in hate crimes. Each attack has been fueled by misinformation. Most recently, we have seen a rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders as a result of false information regarding COVID-19. Racially-motivated violence against any group of people is repugnant. As a Network, we continue to actively oppose all forms of white supremacy culture as a part of our guiding principles for justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion.
As science communication trainers we have a unique role to play to ensure that the facts about COVID-19 are accurately communicated and effectively represented in public discourse. More broadly, we must also maintain a lens of cultural competency in our SciComm training practice; this means remaining open to learning about the history and experiences of others. Below we share a brief list of resources on the history of institutional racism against Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders as well as organizations you can support. This list is not exhaustive and is intended to provide a starting place for your learning.
Stop AAPI Hate coalition members:
- Asian Pacific Planning and Policy Council (A3PCON)
- Chinese for Affirmative Action (CAA)
- Asian American Studies Department of San Francisco State University.
We hope that you will engage with these organizations and continue your pursuit of SciComm training that centers justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion.
The SciComm Trainers Network Board
John J. Meyer
Statement in Support of Democracy
January 11, 2021
Last week we watched domestic terrorists attempting to take the U.S. Capitol with shock, uncertainty, anger, fear, and profound sorrow. We are deeply concerned for the safety of everyone affected and contemplate how these events will affect the future of the nation.
At the core of the SciComm Trainers Network is a commitment to supporting effective communication and discussion rooted in facts and evidence. This commitment is critical now more than ever as we are witnessing the impact of misinformation on America. The events of Jan. 6, 2021 demonstrate how the intersection of misinformation with other toxic forces at play in American society – especially white supremacy culture and white nationalism – can form the genesis of violence against our democracy itself.
These events also demonstrate how the power of both inciting language and complicit silence pose grave threats and cause great damage to democracy and our society. As communication trainers – especially as a community that values justice, equity, and the value of every human life – we believe that forceful language and actions to drive forward justice are one part of a rebuttal to last week’s seditious insurrection against the government.
But forceful language in response to dramatic events isn’t enough. We must recognize the pernicious ways in which white supremacy culture and thinking creeps into our everyday, and act decisively to vanquish it. After all, last week’s insurrection was years in the making, formed step by step as actors with ill intent played on biases to build tolerance and hunger for violence. To counter this, we must be equally diligent in promoting equity and justice every day, especially within our spheres of influence as science communicators.
As a Network, we stand firm in our commitment to center equity and promote evidence-based communication in the service of a fair and just society.
The SciComm Trainers Network Board
John J. Meyer