On Wednesday, June 10, Science News will suspend publication for the day to join in #ShutDownSTEM and #StrikeforBlackLives.
This movement — sparked by recent police killings of black people in the United States and the subsequent protests worldwide — is asking for those in the scientific community to acknowledge the role they play in perpetuating racism, and to engage directly in eliminating it.
To that end, we will use this day away from the daily news cycle to start working to improve our coverage of race and inequity. That includes how we use language to describe people and their lives, who we call upon as sources, and the choices we make about news coverage. It also includes efforts to increase diversity in our staff, which is predominantly white.
Science News has a long history covering race in America, including research on stereotypes and stigma, racial bias in research funding, and how the lack of diverse representation in clinical trials risks lives. This year, we covered challenges scientists face in accurately defining race for the U.S. census and how long-standing health disparities have made African-Americans more vulnerable to COVID-19. But this magazine’s past also includes a shameful embrace of racism under the guise of eugenics.
We must do better. We must be better.
Our mission is to explain the workings of science and scientists, and to use science to better understand human behavior, societies and the world around us. But to do that right, we have to make sure we’re not limited by our own biases and presumptions, and accurately report where science works and when it falls short in encompassing the breadth of human experience.
So we are ceasing our daily journalism to devote the day to a series of meetings and conversations around these topics. We know that this won’t be the work of a day, or a year. We are committed to working for lasting change.
We welcome your thoughts; e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.