Dear Ciencia Puerto Rico Family,
I write this message to you with regret, dismay and anger. The recent murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor — and too many more before them — have once again exposed the urgent need to work towards inclusion, fairness, justice, and respect for all.
The Ciencia Puerto Rico network owes its strength and dynamism to its diversity and the inclusion of all those who identify with our mission. We express our sincere empathy and solidarity with those who suffer and fight injustices, especially in these moments with members of our community who identify as Black, Afrolatinxs or Afrodescendants.
Discrimination and intolerance are not exclusive to the United States. Racism exists in many parts of the world, even in many of the academic and scientific spaces that we occupy. We are all participants in systemic racism and it has an effect on all of us. In the same way, everyone can and should be part of the solution.
In these times of physical distancing and in the midst of a pandemic which is itself disproportionately affecting Black, Hispanic, and poor people, it is easy to feel alone and powerless. But there is much we can do. Inspired by our friends from the AAAS Caribbean Division, we make a call for action against racism and racial injustice. Here are some ways we can get started.
- Let's be compassionate with others and with ourselves. Listen. Offer words of understanding and sympathy and, if needed, resources for emotional well-being. This is even more important if you are in charge of students or youth who could benefit from guides and mentors during these difficult times.
- Let us reflect on our own biases and educate ourselves about injustice and systemic racism, including colorism, in Puerto Rico, the US, and around the world. A good start is this extensive bibliography compiled by the Ilé Collective. In particular, we recommend to our educators books like this one, by colleagues from UPR Cayey, that provide tools for anti-racist teaching. We also recommend Revista Étnica, which seeks to make visible and promote positive representations of Afro-Latinxs.
- Be militant to help fight discrimination in all its manifestations. Let's use our lungs, voices, and privileged positions to speak on behalf of those whose voices have been taken away. Let's denounce injustices and propose improvements. Let us be allies. You can find examples of actions you can take here and here.
- If you have the ability to do so, support organizations that promote racial justice in Puerto Rico and the United States. Here are some of these organizations: Colectivo Ilé, National Urban League, NAACP, National Action Network, Black Women's Roundtable, National Bail Fund Network, Black Lives Matter, Center for Policing Equity, Black Visions Collective, Campaign Zero and the George Floyd Memorial Fund.
Let’s walk together towards an equitable society and a future of dignity for all humanity.
Wishing you health, safety and prosperity,