Thousands of physicists, astronomers, and other academics have pledged to pause their work – forgoing research, classes, meetings, and other normal business – on Wednesday, June 10, 2020, in order to pursue a day of action dedicated to protecting the lives of Black people. The strike is taking place due to the efforts of multiple organizers operating under banners including the Strike For Black Lives, #ShutDownSTEM, #ShutDownAcademia and #Strike4BlackLives. A group of 15 physicist organizers wrote on the website Particles for Justice that the Strike for Black Lives is needed to:
… hit pause, to give Black academics a break and to give others an opportunity to reflect on their own complicity in anti-Black racism in academia and their local and global communities.
Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, a particle cosmology theorist and feminist theorist at the University of New Hampshire, said:
I want non-Black people to respond as if lives depend on it because they do.
The organizers of #ShutDownSTEM state on its website:
In the wake of the most recent murders of Black people in the U.S., it is clear that white and other non-Black people have to step up and do the work to eradicate anti-Black racism. As members of the global academic and STEM [science, technology, engineering, and math] communities, we have an enormous ethical obligation to stop doing ‘business as usual.’
Bottom line: University laboratories, scientific societies, technical journals, and others have pledged to strike on June 10, 2020. The focus is on issues of racial equality and inclusiveness. The strike is taking place under multiple banners including the Strike For Black Lives, #ShutDownSTEM, #ShutDownAcademia, and #Strike4BlackLives. EarthSky is joining the strike.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.