As we pass the one-year mark of the horrific and unjustified killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others, we the BBM Organizing Committee stand firmly in continued solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. We condemn the longstanding tradition of anti-Asian violence in the United States that led to the death of 8 individuals in Atlanta this past March. We denounce 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 year 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.
- Although this year’s registration is free, we have always provided an “Underrepresented Minorities in Biomedical Sciences Scholarship” which waives the registration fee. We are committed to continuing this in the future.
- As of 2022, we are 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
We acknowledge that there is still work to be done to ensure equity, diversity, and representation both at BBM and in the scientific community. Below we have provided resources 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 2021 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 minorities
- Inclusive Therapists: https://linktr.ee/inclusivetherapists
- Ayana: Online therapy for marginalized and intersectional communities
- Resources for anyone dealing with mental health crises (US):
- National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
- National Suicide Prevention Online Chat
- Crisis Text Line: Text “HOME” to 741741.
- Address disparities in Black and minority representation in academic departments,