Black Lives Matter
We are heartbroken and infuriated by the murder of George Floyd by Derek Chauvin. We demand that the continuing, unprovoked violence against Black Lives Matter protesters by police end now. The engine behind this violence is overt and covert white supremacy.
But white supremacy is not just physical violence. It’s housing practices that literally poison Black children while leaving their white neighbors less affected. It's the unequal burden of climate change, which is mostly caused by white people, on Black and BIPOC communities. It’s doctors treating Black patients with less care than their white patients. It's unequal hiring practices that pass over Black people time and time again.
To be a scientist and to support science now, in the past, and forever, is to support Black lives, communities and research. It is centering Black scientists, their experiences and their work. It's making science a benefit for Black lives.
Massive's mission is to help scientists write and communicate to a wide audience. If we are only helping white people, then we are failing. We know that science often fails to reach people who are historically underserved and we are taking concrete steps to change that. If you are interested in science writing, join our Consortium of scientist-writers (the code BLACKINSTEM will waive the training fee) and we will help you hone your voice and get heard. We are also starting a regular column on scientific racism and racism in science media (if you’d like to contribute to that, let us know).
It is critical that we use this momentum to make changes. Let this moment radicalize you, especially if you are white and are only just coming to terms with white supremacy and privilege. If you are a scientist, we encourage you to read about all the ways science has been abused to further white supremacy, get involved in creating science-backed policy, and resolve to change science for the better. That means making science a safe and equitable place to work, and ensuring that the benefits of research touch everyone's lives equally.
This isn’t a competition between companies to see who can come out with the most radical statement. We are simply stating the truth: white supremacy kills Black people. Sometimes they are murdered like Floyd, Breonna Taylor, David McAtee, and countless more whose deaths never registered with anyone beyond their loved ones. But white supremacy also kills covertly, without the need for weapons, with policy and systemic injustice.
As an outlet for science writing and journalism, we want to make clear what policies an equitable and science-based society has. No half measures. These are our positions:
- Abolish the police. Police create violence, especially against Black, Latinx, Muslim, BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ people, and protect the property of the wealthy. We don’t need them.
- Redistribute police budgets to social welfare programs. This includes but is not limited to universal health care, community organizing, universal basic income, free childcare, and free higher education. Without these measures, Black communities are excluded from the benefits of society that white people enjoy every day, which results in worse living conditions, worse educational outcomes, and shorter lives.
- Reparations. The United States has never addressed the fundamental poverty it inflicts on Black people, which (among many effects) adversely impacts their health. Address it now.
- Support politicians at local, state, and federal levels that use science to inform policy. A functioning government cannot suppress scientific research, cannot unleash climate change and COVID19 with its negligence, and cannot leave people with lifelong neurological wounds through its policy.
- Restore the Voting Rights Act. The equal right to vote must be ironclad, otherwise voter suppression will run rampant. An equal electorate ensures that policies on climate change, healthcare access, and education are free and equitable.
All these demands are equally critical and they are not ranked by importance. This list is in no way an exhaustive telling of all the ways American society needs to change. If you are interested in reading further on social justice, policing, and racism, especially where it intersects with science, we have a brief reading list here. But remember, reading lists are only one small, passive part of acting in solidarity.