June 5, 2020
The Worldwide Youth in Science & Engineering (WYSE) program, in The Grainger College of Engineering Outreach and Public Engagement Office at the University of Illinois, joins in solidarity with the many individuals and organizations across the nation and the globe who are outraged by the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, David McAtee and so many others who have been victim to the repeated acts of violence and injustice against Black Americans across generations. We condemn the institutional racism that is at the root of these injustices. We can not be silent on this matter, and we must take action that pushes back against injustice and systemic racism. In his May 31st statement, President Killeen said, “Let us make this outrageous act of aggression a pivotal point in history that begins to reverse generations of systemic racism and discrimination. Let it start here and let it start now.”
WYSE is committed to advancing historically excluded populations in STEM, and we bear witness to the many racist systems in place that create barriers to participation, from inequities in the education and healthcare systems to the effects of red-lining and segregation. We demand accountability from law enforcement and the judicial system to condemn racism and to dismantle oppressive systems, AND we will hold ourselves and others accountable to do the same. WYSE will strengthen its efforts to develop WYSE LEADers who know how to be upstanders rather than bystanders in the face of racism and inequity, and who have the tools to advocate for systemic change. WYSE will continue to consciously provide anti-racist education that recognizes and celebrates the contributions of Black and marginalized scholars, the hidden figures of STEM; as well as to provide inclusive opportunities for new scholars to grow and develop. And we will deepen our partnerships with schools and community organizations to identify and address the barriers that create inequitable access and participation in STEM. We echo the words of SACNAS and “encourage the STEM community to reflect on the ways in which we have contributed to the upholding of racial injustice and to be dedicated to removing the systemic barriers that have served to exclude persons of color from full participation in society and the scientific enterprise.”
Here are a few resources to educate yourself and others:
- The Institute for Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access list for understanding and addressing racism
- How to Support Black Lives Matter, No Matter Where You Are
- Diversity & Social Justice Education at Illinois
- Recursos en Español sobre el Anti-racismo A list of actions and resources being compiled by the Chicago Latinx Scholars.
- Pew Research Center’s findings of STEM workforce racial disparities and this STEM by the Numbers anti-racist education lesson plan from Teaching Tolerance.
This is OUR problem and it will take all of us, together, to make change happen. To the Black community and our members, partners, and friends: let us continue to work together to keep one another safe, each doing our part to drive change in the wake of these injustices. Black Lives Matter.
In Solidarity / En Solidaridad,