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News & Events

Anti-Racism Community Conversations and Action

Letter from Francis J. Doyle III

The past few weeks have been sobering on many levels. Events across the country and close to home have highlighted the ways in which racism is structurally embedded both in society at large and in our own institution. These are complex and existential challenges that demand our attention and collective action.  

On Wednesday, June 10th, SEAS will join a national STEM stand-down (https://www.shutdownstem.com/). I urge you to embrace this opportunity to reflect, become better informed, and plan concrete actions. We will suspend for the day research, meetings, and business as usual. (The exception will be ongoing Covid-19-related research activities, which should not be interrupted, especially given that the pandemic has a disproportionate impact on communities of color.)

One day will not resolve the structural racism that is deeply embedded in our country. However, I am committed to this being one step of many in creating an equitable and just SEAS community. This will be a day to identify specific steps we can take as individuals and as a community to confront and address systemic racism at Harvard, and within our School. Specifically, we will use the day to:

Become better educated – The anguish reverberating throughout the nation reflects longstanding barriers to equality that we need to identify, acknowledge, and rectify. At the end of this message is a list of resources you may find useful to become better informed about the historical and contemporary forces that underpin the presence of racism, especially anti-Black racism, in our lives.

Make a plan – Identify concrete actions, on both a personal and group level. Use Wednesday to engage in thoughtful conversations about the work you and your colleagues can do to make our School the community we aspire to be. We ask that individuals document the efforts they will take to address issues related to bias within the SEAS community at a community forum –   https://harvard.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_byMUZd5xv2PN3pz. I am also asking Area Chairs and leaders of our administrative offices to identify, at the end of Wednesday, specific collective actions they will take. You may find helpful ideas on the ShutDownSTEM website – https://www.shutdownstem.com/. Also, if you would like to have your name added to the list of supporters around the country, please visit this website: https://tinyurl.com/ychmbzd3.

Act – The effectiveness of our efforts will depend on the efficacy of the specific steps we take, as individuals and collectively as colleagues in a shared community. For most of us, we will know that we are on the right path if the conversations we have together are uncomfortable.

Fortunately, SEAS engages in this conversation with the benefit of a carefully developed roadmap – the SEAS Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging Strategic Plan, which contains 42 discreet steps to make our School more diverse, more welcoming, and more excellent. In recent months, Alexis Stokes and Veronica Santana of our office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging have been meeting with teams to help them identify practical steps that Areas and offices can take to activate the DIB Strategic Plan at the local level.

Thank you in advance for your thoughtful and constructive engagement in this School-wide action on Wednesday, and in the hard work of confronting our challenges and changing our culture in the days ahead.

Francis J. Doyle III
John A. Paulson Dean
John A. & Elizabeth S. Armstrong Professor

 

Resources:  

National Statistics on STEM degree recipients, by ethnicity 

 

Supporting African American Colleagues: 

Two Pandemics

How White Managers can Respond to Anti-Black Violence 

Your Black Colleagues May Look Like They’re OK, Chances are They’re Not 

Before You Check-In on Your Black Friend, Read This 

 

Resources for Engaging in Anti-Racism Work and Practicing Solidarity: 

Resources for Engaging in Anti-Racism Work  (google drive) 

We are Living in a Racist Pandemic  

Your Black Colleagues May Look Like They’re Okay – Chances are They’re Not 

Affirming Black Lives Without Inducing Trauma 

How Higher Education can Fight Racism, Speak Up When it’s Hard 

Race Forward: What is Systemic Racism? [VIDEOS] 

Understanding and Dismantling Racism: A Booklist for White Readers 

10 Books About Race To Read Instead Of Asking A Person Of Color To Explain Things To You 

Save the Tears: White Woman's Guide 

5Ways White People Can Take Action in Response to White and State-Sanctioned Violence 

Black Culture Films & Shows  

75 Things White People Can do for Racial Justice  

What to Do Instead of Calling the Police 

 

Racial Bias in Scientific Fields: 

Birding While Black 

Scientists Speak out Against Racial Injustice and Discrimination Amid Protests 

Following Outrage, Chemistry Journal Makes a Paper Decrying Diversity Disappear 

How Implicit Bias and Lack of Diversity Undermine Science 

Study Identifies a Key Reason Black Scientists are Less Likely to Receive NIH Funding 

What I Learned While Reporting on the Dearth of Black Mathematicians 

Earth Science Has a Whiteness Problem 

Experiences of Black Doctoral Students Underscores Need to Increase Diversity in STEM Fields 

(More) Bias in Science Hiring 

Task Force Outlines Changes Needed to Increase African American Physics and Astronomy Students 

Racial and Gender Biases Plague Post Doc Hiring 

To Attract More Blacks and Hispanics to STEM, Universities Must Address Racial Issues on Campus 

  

Strategies for Leaders: 

How Higher Education can Fight Racism: Speak up When It’s Hard 

What do Leaders Need to Understand About Diversity? 

10 Small Steps for Department Chairs to Foster Inclusion 

4 Ways that Academics and Scientists can Effectively Combat Racism 

Incentivizing Faculty Diversity 

Top 10 Practical Steps for Advancing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Higher Education