January 8, 2021
Black In Microbiology, along with many parallel BlacklnX movements, was formed last summer partly in response to the continued violence and injustices faced by Black people in the United States. In the aftermath of the Black Lives Matter protests, many in the scientific and academic communities finally began to have conversations about the persistent infection of white supremacy and racism that plagues our nation.
This past Wednesday (January 6, 2021), we witnessed yet another violent manifestation of these ills as individuals with known ties to white nationalist/supremacist organizations and ideologies trespassed the halls of our nation’s legislative branch. We have seen symbols and images of paraphernalia, including confederate flags and gallows, erected in and around the halls of Congress. This violent display represents an ideology that systematically denies the humanity, dignity, and liberty of Black people, as well as other people of color.
We must acknowledge the impact of this act of domestic terrorism on our community. Silence and/or the assumption that all of us should continue “business as usual” perpetuates harm. Scientists, especially Black, Indigenous, and other POC scientists, must be given the space to process Wednesday’s events which continue to demonstrate that white lives, white anger, and white frustration are valued over all else — even when they are terrorizing others.
To our allies, we urge you to have conversations with your teams, classes, labs, and colleagues in support of Black lives. We urge you to establish a new norm, where violent acts committed by non-POC are not downplayed or accepted —- Failure to acknowledge Wednesday’s events is to be complicit with white supremacy and white terrorism and demonstrates the exact opposite of any statement released this summer in support of Black lives.
To our Black In Micro family, please take care of yourselves during this time. Please do what is necessary to preserve your mental health and to ensure your safety.
–Black In Microbiology Executive Board