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