- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Scientists and researchers supporting Black Lives Matter carried out a mass protest Wednesday via social media, calling for all researchers and scientists to stop working and instead use their time to figure out how to eliminate racism.

The #ShutDownSTEM website says it is not enough for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics professionals to stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement so they must also be accountable for their alleged racism.

“Your racism is unique to you and your narrative,” the ShutDownStem website reads. “You need to do the work to get out of it. You were not born with the ability to code. You learned it. You can learn this.”

A network of particle physicists and a group of astronomers and biologists reportedly merged their ideas into the large demonstration planned for Wednesday, which was endorsed by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the University of California-Berkeley, and many other individuals.

Researchers at the University of Chicago and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution reportedly made plans to hold physical marches, despite the threat of spreading the coronavirus.

Fermilab astrophysicist Brian Nord told AAAS’ Science magazine that research and academic institutions’ prioritization of diversity is misplaced.

“I don’t want more diversity and inclusion seminars,” Mr. Nord told AAAS. “Those activities are used to provide a shield to institutions so that they can do the bare minimum.”

The #ShutDownStem website requests, “no research, no meetings, no classes, no business as usual” from participants.

Some academic institutions plan to hold Zoom calls as part of their #ShutDownSTEM programming. A University of New Hampshire physicist intends to hold a meeting on Zoom and the University of California-Irvine’s physics department plans to have a similar virtual town hall, according to AAAS.

“Academia and STEM are global endeavors that sustain a racist system, where Black people are murdered,” read the #ShutDownSTEM website. “No matter where you physically live, you impact and are impacted by this moment in history. This is not exclusive to the United States. We must all work against anti-Black racism.”

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