CPLC Researchers Participate in #shutdownstem #strikeforblacklives

6/10/2020 5:57:02 PM

Dear CPLC Students, Postdocs, Faculty, and Staff,

We write you today to state our unequivocal support for Black students, faculty, staff, and researchers, both past and present in the CPLC. We will not tolerate anti-Blackness as it manifests in the criminal justice system nor within the walls of our University. 
We know that, as our Deans of the College of Engineering stated in their email, “Diversity is a prerequisite to excellence.” and "we must also do all we can to erase systemic racism, discrimination, and prejudice within our circles of influence, our communities, and our college and campus.”
So along these lines, we invite your participation in two immediate efforts:
  1. We have already signed up to participate in the College of Engineering’s new Anti-Racism Task Force, and welcome ideas and participation from anyone in the CPLC who wants to contribute to this effort. The goal is to develop long-term initiatives that will promote and normalize an anti-racist  culture which actively and continually challenges biases among students, faculty, and staff alike in order to cultivate belonging and to recognize the contributions and potential of each member of our diverse community.
  2. We want to encourage everyone who is able to participate in the worldwide "Shut Down STEM / Academia" efforts for today, June 10:  https://www.shutdownstem.com/about. This movement suggests taking the day to engage in education and action, or healing and self-care for Black students and other students of color who may need respite from the mental and physical tolls of racism. The CPLC supports any student or researcher who wants to participate in this important effort. We will be using social media to post about what our scientists are doing today, so please share your ideas and activities by tagging the CPLC or emailing denos@illinois.edu. The College of Engineering's IDEA Institute has gathered additional resources for you to consider. For non-Black students, faculty, and staff, please do not ask your Black colleagues, friends, or community members for anything at this time, but instead use this as an opportunity to educate yourselves. Among our reading today will be a recent article that explains a possible strategy for interrupting racial micro aggressions and which may form the basis of bystander trainings to help those of us who want to be better at speaking out.
We do not want this to be a one-day effort, but instead to spark a stronger commitment over the long term to ensure equitable opportunities for Black students, postdocs, and faculty in scientific research and also to change the culture of scientific working and learning environments to ensure that all our researchers' and staff members' contributions, talents, and ideas are recognized and valued. Please do email us your ideas and continue working with us on these efforts. Together we can create lasting change.
Yann Chemla, CPLC Co-Director
Zan Luthey-Schulten, CPLC Co-Director
Sharlene Denos, CPLC Associate Director of Education and Inclusivity