URMA condemns police brutality against Black individuals

The Board of the University Research Magazine Association condemns police brutality and stands in solidarity with those working against systemic racism and pushing for change. .

We acknowledge the pervasive racism underlying the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and many other Black Americans year after year by police. 

We in research communications have been complicit in reinforcing this racism by our actions or inaction. Insufficient diversity in our own profession weakens representation of Black researchers in the research we promote.

We as a Board commit to diversifying our membership and supporting professional development for Black research communicators by:

  • Establishing two new travel grants for Black science communicators.
  • Providing matching funding for an annual internship for a Black student focused on science communications at an URMA member institution.
  • Offering anti-racist programs at our annual conference.

We urge our non-Black members to educate themselves and challenge anti-Blackness and other forms of prejudice in their work, hiring practices and work environments. First steps could include:Having the courage to ask tough questions about race in America, not being afraid of the answers you may receive, and understanding that one conversation will not serve to explain the multitude of experiences and traumas.

Listening with an open heart and mind, and being receptive to a broader understanding of a shared American experience that is different depending on the color of your skin.

Learning more about the history of racism in America. See Ibram X. Kendi’s Anti-Racist Reading List (It’s a long list. Plan how you’re going to tackle studying this over the long-term.)

Reading about the experiences of Black academics using the hashtags #BlackinIvory and #BlackintheIvory

Suggesting your institution participate in an investigation to examine equity and inclusion in STEM such as the SEISMIC project.

Tracking the diversity of the sources quoted in your publications. Read about science journalist Ed Yong’s experience with this in The Atlantic:

Updating your house style guide with guidance from resources such as The Diversity Style Guide and Resolve Philly.

Learning about racism in science. Read Superior, Angela Saini’s recently published book on this topic, or Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-create Race in the Twenty-First Century by Dorothy Roberts or The Social Life of DNA by Alondra Nelson. 

Learning about systemic issues that lead to a lack of diversity in STEM. Read reports such as the American Institute of Physics’ The Time is Now: Systemic Changes to Increase African American Representation in Undergraduate Physics and Astronomy.

In addition, the National Association of Science Writers recommends:

It is not the responsibility of the Black members of our organization to educate the rest of us. However, we want our Black members to know that we are here to listen if there are experiences or suggestions you wish to share.

All URMA members, please share additional thoughts and resources with URMA President Catherine Zandonella at czandone@princeton.edu. 

Black Lives Matter.