Member Feedback: Standing Against Racism
The senseless and violent murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd provide our most recent reminder that we live in a world that is racist, cruel, unjust, and dangerous. It was gut wrenching to see what it means to be a Black birder in Central Park, and to realize from Christian Cooper’s experience that many of our colleagues literally risk their lives just to do what most of us routinely do -- and take for granted -- as lovers and students of nature. Collectively, we all share a responsibility to expose these hurtful elements of society, to acknowledge their pervasiveness, and to work against them, every day. SSB stands in solidarity with the victims of racist violence and police brutality, with the anti-racist protestors on the streets right now, and with the entire Black community. Black lives matter.

We are acutely aware that the membership and leadership of SSB is mostly white, and we will work harder to make SSB and our broader community more diverse and welcoming to scientists from all backgrounds. We encourage our members to engage in anti-racism and to get involved right now. There are many ways for white people to become better allies for all people of color, and some are collated here: https://bit.ly/2XWC3gS. Some essential reading and additional anti-racism resources can be found here: http://bit.ly/ANTIRACISMRESOURCES. While we strongly recommend that our members, leaders, and colleagues engage in these and other materials, we want to emphasize that anti-racist work starts with personal reflection, in asking uncomfortable questions about ourselves and the world in which we are embedded. We must be more vocal in acknowledging white privilege and work actively to improve our response as a community of scholars.

We are going to do more with your feedback, and we are listening. We welcome collaboration from all across our community and want to hear from you. Over the coming weeks we will be working on new initiatives to better support Black scientists. Please use this form to provide us with your ideas, thoughts, and concerns.

Your response will be anonymous unless you choose to share identifying information. If you are interested in developing and/or participating in activities to build a more inclusive community within SSB, please feel free to contact the SSB Executive Committee via email if you would prefer your response on this survey to be anonymous. You can find the contact information for the SSB Executive Committee here: https://www.systbio.org/executive-committee.html.
Please share your ideas, thoughts, and concerns. The responses will be received by SSB's Executive Committee and the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. Your feedback will be used to prioritize new society initiatives to better support Black scientists and create a more inclusive community for our members. *
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