The Geobiology Society acknowledges the terrible events of the past several weeks, including the killing of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor by members of the police, and Ahmaud Arbery by white supremacists, painful reminders that the systemic racism and anti-black violence on which the United States was built still plagues us today. The Geobiology Society is a new society, and during its creation, we agreed that a foundational premise of our Society expressed in our mission statement is to “promote a diverse and inclusive geobiological community”. We recognize the disproportionate suffering of our Black, Indigenous, and People of Color members of this Society, and we want to state unequivocal support for this community. Black lives matter. We must acknowledge that the geosciences, and academia in particular, are built on systems and structures of racism – we can only move forward by acknowledging the role these structures have played in the advancement of a few of us and the suppression of many. As an example, the number of Geoscience PhDs awarded to underrepresented minorities has held stable since 2012, at less than 7% of the total PhDs, 2% of which are African Americans (1). We call on our members to educate themselves on systemic racism and the roles that many of us have played in it and make a commitment to promote equity and anti-racism in our field. A continuation of the status quo is not an option.
Please consider the thoughtful work of many geoscience colleagues who put together a list of anti-racist actions professional societies can take. The Geobiology Society will work with our community to meet these goals.
(1) C. Wilson (2018), Status of the Geoscience Workforce, American Geosciences Institute