Earlier this summer, as a global society we were reminded; our societies are riddled with inequalities. The deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and other Black people over minor infringements of the law if any, flooded our news feeds; Black people like myself were reminded of just how dangerous our world is. The remnants of slavery and Jim-Crow era segregation are still felt in the United States. Today while they take a different form, Black people must overcome exclusionary barriers on their paths to success. Because of these barriers, especially those in the educational system, we see very few Black professionals exceeding in disciplines such as Science, even though a survey conducted by Yale and George Mason University found that those who identified as Black, Indigenous, or People of Color were more concerned with data surrounding climate change than other demographics. This just highlights the exclusion, not lack of interest that reduces the diversity in Science fields.
Earlier this year a group of marine scientists, frustrated with state of the field but energized by events such as #BlackBirdersWeek #BlackBotanistsWeek and #BlackinGeoscienceWeek came together to plan #BlackinMarineScienceWeek. From November 29th– Dec 5th, #BlackinMarineScienceWeek is creating a virtual space for Black marine scientists. The space will showcase a diverse and brilliant group of Black marine scientists from all over the world! We have events planned on topics ranging from hair care in the field, to our favorite scientific techniques. Black marine scientists from around the globe will take part in conversations about their research, and what got them interested in marine science. During the week, we have also planned events targeted to inspire the next generation of scientists, young and old. We will have behind-the-scene tours of aquariums across the United States, discussions with prominent Black scientists from around the globe, and Instagram and Twitter take-overs of accounts dedicated to science.
#BlackinMarineScienceWeek events will cover a range of topics highlighting the diversity of Black marine and ocean scientists however, we will also take the time and space to discuss one thing that unites us; the presence of systematic racism and oppression in our field. Discussions will be heavily based in our lived experiences as a platform to initiate the changes we would like to see when it comes to diversity and inclusion in marine science. We encourage all allies to attend these sessions. We are using our voice to stop the culture of silence surrounding race in science and we will encourage all attendees to do the same by informing themselves and creating space for Black people in marine science.
Follow us on Twitter @BlackinMarSci and Instagram @blackinmarinescience to learn more, and check out our website for the most up-to-date schedule of events for next week. We hope you join us during this action-packed week.