Statement on systemic Racism
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Published originally on 06/05/20
Dear Future of Research Community,
At a time when there is a continued need for as much collective grieving as there is for concrete actions, writing a statement can feel hollow. When so many in the Black community, on a regular basis, decry the systemic, state-sanctioned violence against them, writing a statement today can feel like social media virtue signaling. When so many corporations are writing statements while likewise continuing to employ discriminatory and racist practices, writing a statement can feel empty. When institutions are quick to assert support for the Black community but just as quickly decry the violence against property before decrying the undeniable violence and escalation of police against Black, unarmed civilians, words feel diluted of meaning.
Nevertheless, words and language do have power, as much when they ring true as when they are used to manipulate and distract. Therefore, speaking up when others remain visibly silent in the face of injustice is the bare minimum and the first of many important steps in bringing about the radical restoration and transformation so desperately needed in our country.
As early career researchers working to dismantle systems of inequity, we know all too well that there is no “right” way to protest. We also know that speaking truth to power is always met with resistance and requests for placation and patience. We wish to make it clear that we fully support all forms of protest from the Black community, and condemn the continued and escalating racist, systemic use of force by the police against those asserting their right to autonomy and safety.
The work of Future of Research has, and always will be, focused on creating a sustainable, equitable, and inclusive system of academic training. We aim to create a system where everyone feels safe, included, and valued not just for what they contribute scientifically, but for who they are. Our work must always be anti-racist while aiming to decry and dismantle the systems of white supremacy, patriarchy, and capitalism, even and especially when these issues, so prevalent in our own microcosm of the academy, are not as visible in the media or public eye.
In the last few months, we have been planning an “anti-racism in academia” advocacy project for the coming year. Yet anti-racism ideology and work must permeate every single one of our projects, and we are, and always will be, committed to doing this work within the early career researcher community. In the days, months, and years to come, this statement will serve as a benchmark for individuals and other organizations to measure us against and with which to hold us accountable should we fall short.
In solidarity with all of those coordinating, organizing, and rising up,
The FoR Board of Directors
The Board of Directors of Future of Research continues to recognize the ongoing, state-sanctioned violence and attempts at erasure of Black and Indigenous people in the United States. Academic environments are no exception. Following the easing of pandemic restrictions, we have witnessed institutions at the federal, state, and local level return to business as usual, failing to meet their promises to improve training environments and move towards greater inclusion and equity. In our individual work and as a collective, we continue to challenge leadership and those in power in our organizations to move beyond empty statements of commitments toward actionable change that truly empowers Black and Indigenous researchers.
Fátima Sancheznieto, FoR President