We, the BBM Organizing Committee, are dedicated to providing a safe, respectful and professional space for scientists of all backgrounds to share their research. To this end, harassment based on an individual’s race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or any other legally protected characteristic will not be tolerated at the meeting. In addition, we take a strict stance against sexual harassment, which is defined as behavior of a sexual nature that is unwelcome and offensive to the person or persons it is targeted toward. As a regular recipient of NIH funding we operate under Title IX procedures. If a participant feels they have been harassed, we encourage them to report this to the Organizing Committee, and the matter will be investigated discreetly and confidentially. Any participants engaging with discriminatory or harassing behavior will be subjected to disciplinary measures up to an including being denylisted from the conference.
We stand firmly in continued solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. We condemn the longstanding tradition of anti-Asian violence in the United States and the continued harm brought upon Latinx and Indigenous communities throughout the country. Ultimately, dismantling systems of oppression will require an intersectional framework, and we the BBM Organizing Committee maintain our commitment to anti-racism and to promoting equity in all its forms.
While this work is not new, a hard line on anti-racism is essential to our efforts to build a more equitable community where all can thrive. The past two years of extensive participation in protests all over the US and beyond, in the middle of a pandemic, has underscored how critical it is to speak out and take action. Silence also speaks volumes. Through silence and inaction, we perpetuate the prejudice and violence that have been part of the daily lives of our BIPOC colleagues and friends, both inside and out of the science community.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we as scientists have increased visibility, bolstered public trust, and a magnified voice. We have the means to augment underrepresented voices. As scientists, employers, educators, science communicators, and clinicians, we have the power to implement real change by challenging injustice and prejudice in our labs, classrooms, and clinics. At BBM, we strive to promote inclusivity and diversity. To this end, we are committing to the following:
- Offering a dedicated space for discussion on race and representation in the sciences by holding a breakout session on Diversity in STEM.
- Continuing to offer our “Underrepresented Minorities in Biomedical Sciences Scholarship” which waives the registration fee.
- Expanding our scholarship to include a Travel Award to help underrepresented minority microbiologists attend our meeting. All proceeds from our online store will go towards furnishing this award for next year. You can also support our scholarship by donating here. If you or your company wish to sponsor this endeavor, contact us at email@example.com.
We acknowledge that there is still work to be done to ensure equity, diversity, and representation both at BBM and in the scientific community. We have provided multiple resources on our website so that you too can participate. It is on all of us, especially those of us who have the privilege to speak out, to fight against injustice. This message is also an invitation for comments and suggestions from our participants on how the Organizing Committee can practice good allyship as BBM organizers, and ways we can promote BIPOC and underrepresented voices. We are here to listen and act together, and to ensure that we all enjoy the same privileges and basic human rights.
The BBM Organizing Committee
Members of our community can take action through some of the following resources:
- Sign petitions.
- Here is a growing list of petitions you can sign your name to.
- Mental health resources: Make sure your students/post-docs/employees, especially Black and underrepresented minority employees, are aware of mental health resources available to them.
- Resources specialized for Black people experiencing trauma:
- Resources specialized for minorities
- Inclusive Therapists: https://linktr.ee/inclusivetherapists
- Ayana: Online therapy for marginalized and intersectional communities
- Address disparities in Black and minority representation in academic departments,
- Keep the conversation going and continue to learn:
- Resources for anyone dealing with mental health crises (US):
- Suicide & Crisis Lifeline Call and Text Line: 988
- Suicide & Crisis Lifeline Online Chat
- Educational Guide on Opioid Use Disorder & Suicide