The faculty and research and support staff of the d’Arbeloff Lab are outraged by the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, Manuel Ellis, and many others. Their unjust treatment implies systemic anti-Black racism in the regulation of lethal force in state-sanctioned policing as well as elective policing among members of America’s civilian population.
It is often assumed that the academic community, especially STEM, is immune to the pervasive nature of unjust bias because of our affinity for objective reasoning. This is a farce. Anti-Black racism is present in the systems of our field and our university. It is our responsibility to work toward justice and to undermine the racially biased practices subjugating the Black members of the communities to which we belong.
At the institute level, we endorse the petition of the MIT Black Graduate Student Association (BGSA) and call upon the MIT administration to achieve the petition’s objectives.
At the department level, we call upon the administration of the Mechanical Engineering department to implement the demands of the open letter of the department’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion working group.
At the personal level, we commit to fostering inclusion and diversity in our own work by actively recruiting members of underrepresented groups; taking the anti-bias training recommended by the BGSA and other groups; participating in community outreach such as the Cambridge Science Festival and MIT Summer Research Program; and signalling our support by proudly displaying Black Lives Matter signage in our lab, offices, and website.
As engineers, we have a responsibility to the world to design and create tools that improve life. Academia fails to train enough students and hire enough faculty from underrepresented groups, and society misses out on the unique contributions these individuals would have made. It is therefore our responsibility to amplify underrepresented voices in STEM and accelerate our discipline’s long journey along the arc of justice.