SPA Social Justice Statement

Dear SPA community, 

We know that no simple statement can possibly capture the complexity, intensity, and importance of the current situation, and simply making one is certainly not enough.  Statements of solidarity, no matter how sincere, can ring hollow when they come in a flood from a range of organizations.  We acknowledge this, but are speaking out because the SPA leadership team believes our community stands against racism, supports diversity, and is deeply troubled by the inequities that exist within our scientific community and institutions and around the world.  We take this moment of change very seriously and we feel it is important to not stay silent.

We have wrestled with what our community can do in tangible ways.  We want to do more than just add our voice to the outcry of support for the ongoing protests against racism and the unconscionable police actions against the Black community in the United States and elsewhere.  As supporters of individual and collective actions, we encourage you to join us in participating in June 10’s #ShutDownSTEM / #Strike4BlackLives, pausing our “science as usual” for one day to join our colleagues in discussion and educating ourselves on how to take responsibility and act for change. Additional resources can be found here

Moving forward, we know that a small representative team cannot possibly craft an appropriate actionable plan without the community’s help.  We ask you, as scientists and individuals, to listen (collect data), to seek out the fundamental principles (underlying causes), and to imagine the changes (create new paradigms) that are needed to fix the current system. Then, with your help, we are committed to turning this knowledge into action.

We do not yet know what the steps on this journey will be or where it will ultimately lead us - but please tell us your experiences with racism and other systemic barriers to freedom of thought, freedom of action, and your career.  Connect with your colleagues, share your ideas, and help us develop concrete steps we can take over the next weeks, months, and years. To paraphrase a fundamental question; how do we make our community one where scientists are judged by the importance of their ideas and not the color of their skin?

the SPA Leadership team (
Christina Cohen
Geoff Reeves
Larry Paxton
Liz MacDonald
Romina Nikoukar
Christina Lee
Nicholas Gross
Ale Pacini
Chris Gilly