We stand in unconditional solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, including the protestors and protests. State-sponsored violence that disproportionately affects Black and Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) is rampant in the United States, and the world. Regardless of your own identity or political views, it is undeniable that racism is a weapon wielded by law enforcement and other authorities to enforce white supremacy, subjugate BIPOC, and commit theft of human life and human dignity worse than any looting or destruction of property.
Our colleagues in this university and others are affected by this. When our lives or the lives of our classmates, coworkers, students, friends, and loved ones could be taken from us in an extra-judicial killing, we have a responsibility to speak up, to act out, and to affect change. We fundamentally cannot have a safe, inclusive culture in our department if that culture does not exist in our society. We cannot continue on as if nothing is happening, while our peers suffer their fear and anger in silence. What use is any of our science if we cannot protect and support the people who want to do it? What use is crewed spaceflight to the ISS while Law Enforcement Officers are arresting journalists, violating human rights, and disappearing protesters? We owe it to our colleagues to pay attention, and to build a better world, and that starts with acknowledging our support for our peers and for those putting their lives on the line to protest injustice.
To those of you who identify as BIPOC, PICA supports you and we affirm your need to take care of yourselves however you can. You are entitled to the space to feel grief, fear, anger, and anything else coming up, and to not feel the academic pressure to perform or produce right now. The PICA administrators are here to listen to you, support you, and fight for you. We have included some links here but if you want to learn more or need anything, please reach out.
Places to donate:
- Black Lives Matter
- The Bail Project
- The Liberty Fund
- Split donation between many small bail funds
- Anti-Racism Resources for White People
PICA is a diversity group primarily run by graduate students with support from faculty members in the Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences Department. We dedicate our time to raising awareness of actions that can increase diversity and inclusiveness within the Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences Department. We work towards providing a safe space for graduate students to discuss challenges they face in the department as well as in the wider field of STEM.
We meet one Friday a month at 1:30pm in Duane Physics - G126. To receive updates about upcoming meetings, please email Hayley to be added to the email list.
Each meeting, we assign one student to be the "shepherd" who presents background information (generally a mix of scientific papers and online articles) and guides our discussion. They are also in charge of enforcing our Ground Rules that help create a level playing field for discussion and growth. All interested graduate students and faculty are invited to come and participate in these conversations, but we expect all participants to be aware of and follow these rules.
For more information, please get in touch with one of our student leaders: