On behalf of the Hubbard Brook Research Foundation, I am adding my voice to the chorus of outrage at the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and Breonna Taylor.
HBRF condemns violence against Black communities and stands in solidarity with our social justice partners who are demanding change.
In conversations with staff, trustees, and collaborators, I have been scrutinizing our organization’s history and my own beliefs and coming to the difficult realization that we have not done enough to enable the leadership and participation of underrepresented groups in our work. This written statement itself was the subject of clarifying conversations with colleagues, which I see now as opportunities to listen, learn, and sharpen my perception.
Speaking to this monumental issue, my voice and perspective are impossibly small. In concert with hundreds of messages from leaders across organizations and sectors, I can contribute to a resounding, unrelenting call for change.
We are looking in the mirror. At HBRF, we are taking a close and critical look at our organizational structures, compositions, and programs. We recognize that we are far from reflecting or reaching the diverse mix of people and perspectives that comprise our population. We are redoubling our commitment to address diversity, equity, and inclusion at HBRF as part of a dynamic effort to enrich the work and combat systemic racism and other forms of discrimination. DEI will underpin our recruitment and outreach programs.
We are acting. We know that reading, talking, and writing aren’t enough, and we are taking action.
- We are leading DEI discussions and initiatives at Hubbard Brook and participating in a nation-wide network of scientists and science communicators who are actively addressing DEI priorities.
- We are identifying and removing barriers to participation in our programs, including making free bus transportation available to underserved students and teachers.
- Many of the same communities of color that are disproportionately threatened by violence and the COVID-19 pandemic are also on the front lines of climate, water, and air quality crises. We are connecting to environmental justice partners who use science to advocate for people at greatest risk of flood, fire, ice, and pollution.
We are listening and amplifying. HBRF communications staff are sharing social and classic media related to racial justice. For example, the following opinion pieces help us to understand and address the challenges faced by our scientific colleagues of color.
*Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson was a featured speaker during HBRF’s Youth Climate and Clean Energy Town Hall for presidential candidates in February 2020.
We are just getting started. Our goal is to weave DEI into every initiative and action and at every level. It is not a separate program; it is a component of everything we do, and it will guide our decisions around leadership, service, partnership, and communication. Our commitment to DEI is ongoing, and the work will never end.
We are open. I invite your advice and your criticism. Your perspectives will expand my thinking and enable me to do a better job. Please write to me or call.
So much feels broken in this moment. Our health, our natural world, our commitment to civil rights. From this fractured place, we have a responsibility to re-form. As a nation, we can confront inequities and ask “What can I share?” Wealth, space, resources, clean air, and fresh water are urgent and obvious. We must also share opportunities for meaningful participation in the rebuilding process at every institution and organization.
I invite you to join us in this effort at HBRF and applaud your activism as private citizens.
Let’s stay engaged.
Let's stay healthy.
Let's stay humble.
Let's stay hopeful through this challenging time.