On Wednesday, June 10, Tiny Earth will join an international initiative to call out racism in STEM and academia and take action to destroy that racism. #ShutDownSTEM and #ShutDownAcademia are part of the #Strike4BlackLives and Black Lives Matter movement.

A mission of these movements is to eradicate anti-Black racism in higher education and STEM. As a concrete step toward that goal, the movement calls for Wednesday, June 10, to be a day of rest and healing for our Black colleagues. We are also calling for a day of rest for non-Black People of Color and Indigenous allies who carry the burden of anti-racist work. On that day, white people will literally and symbolically carry the burden of all anti-racist work.

Because Tiny Earth is committed to inclusivity and anti-racist actions, we feel it is essential to honor the intent of these international movements. We encourage our white instructors and students to spend the day educating themselves and creating plans to confront racism in STEM and academia and for those in our community who suffer the mental and physical impacts of racism to seek healing and prioritize their needs.

June 10 was scheduled to be the opening day of Tiny Earth’s first virtual symposium. In order to make space for our community to participate in these movements, we have consulted with all of our presenters who are Persons of Color and have adjusted our schedule so that no programming is planned for the day. If you are registered to attend the symposium, please make sure to review the amended schedule — if the changes impact your ability to participate, please contact us so that we can help you find other ways to engage with the content. We encourage our symposium attendees to use the time that they had planned to spend at the Tiny Earth Symposium on Wednesday to seek out resources and engage with anti-racist work or rest and heal from the impacts of racism. We look forward to welcoming our community to the symposium starting on Thursday, June 11, and continuing these important conversations throughout the event.

Building understanding of the problem of structural racism in STEM and beyond is the first step to taking action and solving it. #ShutDownSTEM provides resources for non-Black people to educate themselves, organized by different levels of experience with anti-racist action. They also have resources for Black people looking for healing and self-care resources. We encourage you to visit shutdownstem.com/resources and explore these resources — read, create dialogs, join organizations, share messages of support, and begin or continue your anti-racist work.

Have any comments, ideas, or thoughts? Please let us know. We are also trying to be very deliberate about integrating this important message into the Tiny Earth network and value the voices of our community.