We, the members of Hunter College’s Primate Molecular Ecology Lab (PMEL), expressly believe that Black Lives Matter. We condemn the rampant police brutality that is disproportionately directed toward BIPOC and stand in solidarity with the individuals, families, and organizations protesting the recent murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, as well as the countless other Black lives that have been lost to long-standing traditions of racism and white supremacy in America.
Our institutions of higher learning are not exempt from this. Academia is steeped in structural biases that serve to benefit white academic institutions and scholars. Biological anthropology, in particular, has played an active role in creating and reinforcing these scientific fallacies, and we are uniquely positioned to help dismantle them. In response to these truths, the members of our lab are committed to doing our part to dismantle the systemic racism in academia broadly, and in our field, in particular.
Toward this goal, we commit to both immediate and long-term actions. These commitments are dynamic in nature and will continue to actively change and evolve as we learn and grow, and as progress is made toward achieving our goals. We encourage our colleagues and collaborators to contribute to and disseminate these and additional materials widely. Any additions can be emailed to PMEL PI Andrea Baden. All materials will be made publicly available and regularly updated on our lab’s website, www.HunterPMEL.org. Through these efforts, we pledge to actively work toward a more inclusive and welcoming lab and to contribute to dismantling the racist and discriminatory practices of our field.
(IMMEDIATE) Broaden and make publicly available our code of conduct to explicitly include anti-racism language
(IMMEDIATE) Engage critically with research focused on racism in academia and fieldwork via lab discussions and blog posts
(IMMEDIATE) Engage with and amplify research done by BIPOC via these same avenues, as well as in integrating these voices into undergraduate curricula
(IMMEDIATE) Create a safe space for peers by engaging in active listening, and avoiding self-centering
Create and make publicly available anti-racist resources geared toward:
Engage with, develop and make publicly available materials toward decolonizing fieldwork, including but not limited to:
Work toward improving and disseminating our undergraduate teaching materials to explicitly acknowledge the history of anthropological racism and the biological outcomes
Offer paid positions in both the laboratory and field (when funding allows) to improve access to research opportunities to BIPOC seeking research experience
Mandate diversity training for all lab members
Increase engagement with undergraduate programs at Hunter College aimed at promoting minority representation in the STEM sciences (e.g., McNair, MARC, RISE)