SPAR’s statement of solidarity in support of the fight for racial justice and equality

A Statement of Solidarity from Science Policy and Advocacy at Rutgers

To the members of Science Policy and Advocacy at Rutgers and the larger community of Rutgers University:

We unequivocally condemn police brutality and racial violence against Black Americans. We believe that Black Lives Matter. We are grieving for the recent killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Tony McDade, and David McAtee, as well as countless others. Police brutality and racial violence are part of a long history of institutionalized racism in this country. Black Americans have long suffered chronic emotional and physical trauma from deep-rooted discriminatory policies that have deprived their communities of educational, financial, and public health resources.

As scientists at Rutgers we must acknowledge the privilege that our institutions have been given at the expense of Black Americans. Our Rutgers Newark Health Sciences campus was built on the homes of uprooted Black Americans. In facing budget cuts caused by COVID-19, our University has proposed laying off hundreds of maintenance, public safety, and custodial workers, who are among the most vulnerable members of our community.

We recognize that science is a crucial input for public policy. Yet, we are aware of SPAR’s failures to connect our group’s work in bridging the divide between scientists and the public with dismantling the racism present in our own communities. First, we strive to do better in listening to those anti-racists who have experience in organizing and advocacy. We pledge to do the following:

  • Amplify the work of student organizations led by Black members that dismantle racism in research and academia
  • Engage with organizations in our communities that advocate against police brutality and discriminatory profiling
  • Discuss the history of science, policy and politics in the context of institutionalized racism against Black Americans
  • Highlight issues of oppression, marginalization and discrimination when advocating for evidence-based policies

Our group’s mission statement strives to instill trust between the scientific community and the public. We have a long way to go in achieving this trust, and we expect to be held accountable for our actions. We welcome input not only from other members of our Rutgers community but also from those that we live and work within Newark and New Brunswick.

We are here to support you, and please take care of one another.