Together with colleagues from Astrobites, I am sharing a statement which appeared first on the Astronomy in Color blog and later on the Women in Astronomy blog. I have appended further thoughts inspired by the writings of Sarah Tuttle, Abigail Stevens, and Startorialist. Thank you all.
The recent extrajudicial killings of two Black men, Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, by the police have shocked, disturbed, and frightened many of us today. We express our unequivocal repulsion to these acts, which are just one manifestation of the underlying systemic racism in our country. These events affect our community directly. Many Black astronomers in this country, especially those in junior positions, are suffering at this moment. We encourage all of you to be mindful as you reach out to our fellow Black astronomers, and be present with them during these difficult times. The undersigned reaffirm our commitment to ensure the inclusion, support, and safety of every Black person in astronomy. Black lives matter!
To our present and future Black colleagues: your lives matter, and your contributions to science matter, too. We affirm that science does not happen in a societal vacuum. Science is done by human beings. We recognize that many forms of systemic racism take a real toll on you, and we know we cannot ignore this if we are serious about fostering an inclusive, equitable, and productive scientific community.
To everyone else: we need to stand in solidarity with our minoritized peers and colleagues, and with our Black colleagues in particular. The astronomical community is much more willing to discuss sexism than racism, and that is wrong. We live in a world where the inherent value of Black lives needs to be continually restated. White supremacy is what enables these extrajudicial murders by the police. White supremacy is what twists reality to tell you that Black Lives Matter is “political” and that science has no business acknowledging these atrocities. We disagree; inaction is not acceptable. There is humanity and there is racism. We hope you will join us in choosing humanity.
Dr. Meredith L. Rawls
Leonardo dos Santos
Dr. Courtney D. Dressing
The above signatories are members of the Astrobites Collaboration (astrobites.com). This statement reflects our own personal views, and is not an official statement by Astrobites.