Friday, July 8, 2016

Sterling Castile Statement: Black Lives Matter

Cross-posted with permission of Angela Little, on behalf of the undersigned (members of the APS COM and AAPT COD). 

See also this recent unofficial statement signed by members of the CSMA, and this other unofficial statement of solidarity signed by members of peer "diversity" committees (CSWA, SGMA and WGAD). 
These statements have not been officially endorsed by their corresponding professional societies. 

Dear Members of the Physics Community,

We, the undersigned, members of the American Physical Society’s Committee on Minorities (APS COM) and the American Association of Physics Teachers Committee on Diversity (AAPT COD) stand with Black physicists and all members of the Black community in the U.S. as we are faced with the recent killings, within 36 hours, of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile at the hands of police. Although Sterling and Castile are referenced here and are the impetus for this statement, we note that their names add to a long list of police injustice against Black people as well as other people of color.

Last night, during a protest in Dallas affirming the value of Black lives, snipers unaffiliated with the protest killed 5 officers, and wounded 7 officers and 2 civilians, further highlighting the violence and tragedy that systemic racism can bring about.

These events affect the physics community. Safety, justice, and equality underlie our ability to succeed at all endeavors, including physics. Systemic racism exists. Systemic racism exists in physics. And we all must work tirelessly to challenge the structures that allow it to exist. 

The APS COM and AAPT COD are dedicated to building a community where people of color can learn and practice physics free from racial harassment, bias, and fear. We are alarmingly far from this goal and we call on the entire physics community to join us in making this endeavor a reality. One way to move toward this goal is to engage in self-education and anti-racism training to build understanding in the ways that power structures combine with bias and racism to differentially impact physicists of color1. This understanding is critical to our ability to affect change. We must create a climate that encourages and supports people of color in their pursuit of physics and physics careers.  

The undersigned affirm our commitment that Black lives matter and that racial justice matters, in our society and in the physics community.

Nadya Mason, Chair, APS COM
Edmundo Garcia, APS COM
Angela Little, APS COM
Marie Lopez del Puerto, APS COM
Jesús Pando, APS COM 
William Ratcliff, APS COM
Luis G. Rosa, APS COM
Dimitri Dounas-Frazer, Chair, AAPT COD
Ximena C. Cid, AAPT COD
Abigail R. Daane, AAPT COD
Deepak Iyer, AAPT COD
Mamadou Keita, AAPT COD
Geoff Potvin, AAPT COD
Mel Sabella, AAPT COD
Monica Plisch, APS Director of Education and Diversity
Asmaa Khatib, APS Bridge Program Coordinator
Arlene Modeste Knowles, APS liaison to COM
Kathryne Sparks Woodle, APS Education & Diversity Programs Manager

1Please reach out to APS COM and APS COD for strategies and resources on working toward equity in our field. and are the respective websites.

This statement is an unofficial statement by members of the American Physical Society Committee on Minorities and the American Association of Physics Teachers Committee on Diversity. These are our personal views and the statement has not been officially endorsed by the APS, APS COM, AAPT, or AAPT COD formally.

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