As many friends and colleagues have done, yesterday (#ShutDownSTEM) I posted a pledge on Twitter to continue opposing racism and hate, including systemic racism in science, my teaching, and to do this work every day.
I don’t want this to be an empty gesture, and am expanding on this pledge here.
I have been a proponent of equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) initiatives, but that is not enough – *I* have not done enough. I am making a commitment not for any recognition, but for accountability. I welcome feedback and criticism, and look forward to working with others towards these goals.
I will learn – I will continue to listen to BIPOC & LGBTQ2S+ people (e.g., see the #BlackInTheIvory stories) and read/view/share the many resources available. (As a start … Patricia Elzie’s massive resource list, EdSurge: Black Teachers Matter … , Kobo book list) I will not expect/demand to be educated by the people I should be supporting. I will take actions to support of BIPOC & LGBTQ2S people (and fight racism/discrimination) in science, my university, my teaching and the professional organizations I belong to.
After learning about incidents the campus where I work* (e.g., this, this, & this), I realized how little awareness I had about this. I need to learn more about our campus and departmental environment. Do BIPOC & LGBTQ2S+ individuals feel welcome in our department/classes? Are we making sure that they have access to the opportunities for success (e.g., access to research experiences, TA positions, study abroad)? What can we do to prevent harassment, racism? What can I do to make my own classes more inclusive?
The professional organizations I belong to, including oCUBE and CSM/SCM (CSM FOME committee) have also discussed EDI, and additional steps need to be taken. Offering online/virtual workshops/conferences is one small step that we’ve begun that could allow wider participation in meetings, but we also need to improve support and provide relevant resources to BIPOC & LGBTQ2S+ members. These members need to feel welcomed and valued in our organizations. We all need to recognize the importance of voices across communities, and deliberately make our spaces safe and rewarding. And through these educational organizations, we can work to improve experiences for our students across multiple institutions.
There is much I yet need to know, and do.
Thanks to the many tweeps who shared information/perspectives/history on Twitter, and discussions with colleagues Tamara Kelly, Dennis Higgs, Kirsten Poling, Christina Semeniuk, Catherine Febria, & Oliver Love, which helped shape my recent reflections and this pledge.
* The University of Windsor sits on the Traditional territory of the Three Fires confederacy of First Nations, comprised of the Ojibway, the Odawa, and the Potawatomie.