Letter to Community from Executive Director Dr. Ian Billick, RMBL on 6/04/2020
Dear RMBL Community,
Many in our community are reeling from violence directed towards the Black community, including the recent killings of Ahmaud Marquez Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd. A core value of RMBL is to promote the joy of discovery of the natural world. However, when going for a jog, sleeping at home, or sitting in your car can inexplicably lead to death because of skin color, joy disappears. Science becomes secondary.
There will be no easy path out of the cesspool of racism and violence that has become institutionalized in our country. However, we can move forward by standing in support of all members of the community, being honest about what is happening, and being intentional about how we dispel, or promote racism, whether through action or inaction.
We wish to make it unequivocally clear that RMBL stands in support of the Black community. Black lives matter, as do the lives of all people of color. Furthermore, RMBL and field science, like all scientific disciplines, lacks diversity. Society, and science, suffer from the narrowness of perspectives and backgrounds from those leading the charge in understanding how the world works.
RMBL’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee has put together an analysis of the challenges we face, as well as a list of resources to aid us as we move forward. You can read more about their work here. Additionally, RMBL’s Board has already been working on how we can better promote diversity at all career stages in the field sciences.
The challenges of confronting racism feel huge and overwhelming and it is easy to feel powerless. But any journey starts, and continues, by taking a step. Please join us, recognizing that while the step may seem small, it is part of a journey that we must all take together.