Today, George Floyd was laid to rest in Houston. His senseless death two weeks ago underscored the urgent need to address injustice and prejudice everywhere we find it – including anti-Black racism in academia and STEM. In solidarity with colleagues calling for change, and in support of this global movement, on Wednesday, June 10, the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology will participate in the #ShutDownStem #ShutDownAcademia strike.
To be clear, this is not a day of no work. On the contrary, this day marks our commitment to doing the hard work necessary to bring about systemic change.
As defined by its organizers, #ShutDownAcademia and #ShutDownSTEM is “the time for white and non-Black People of Color (NBPOC) to not only educate themselves, but to define a detailed plan of action to carry forward.”
Tomorrow, our actions will include:
- USC Leonard Davis School scientists will close our newly reopened laboratories* for the day and will instead devote our time toward developing a plan for how we will act to eliminate anti-Black racism. As suggested by our colleagues at AAAS, activities can include reading, conversing, and engaging in constructive demonstrations or other activities. The #ShutDownSTEM website has resources to help make a plan and share it with others.
- We will hold a special faculty meeting session to engage in conversation around antiBlack racism in STEM and academia and discuss what actions we will take to enable education, change and healing.
- USC Leonard Davis School social media accounts will forgo our usual school and research-related posts and instead publish a single post in support of the daylong strike and then will amplify the cause by sharing posts using the #ShutDownSTEM and #ShutDownAcademia hashtags.
* The organizers of #ShutDownSTEM acknowledge the important work of those in the community who are working on research related to COVID-19, and these labs will remain open.