Dear SML Community,
Like many of you, over recent years, the SML team has been engaged in learning about systemic bias and how it intersects with our mission. We have been taking to heart what Maya Angelou recommended: “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” As a result, we have been making changes and have crafted a plan to increase belonging at SML.
For me personally, something Dr. Ayana Johnson said echoes in my mind a lot: “Consider the discoveries not made, the books not written, the ecosystems not protected, the art not created, the gardens not tended.” This is my motivation to learn and adapt to improve equity and belonging at SML. I think about all the things we do not know about the oceans, ecology, science education because we don’t have everyone at the table. I look at the story about blatant sexual harassment at the Smithsonian field station and at UNH (see below) and I wonder about all the women who have walked away from science and how we all suffer the consequences of that. I also wonder: Would the Smithsonian story have come to light if these women were not white? Were any Panamanian women also caught in the crossfire of that clearly biased culture? Where is their story?
It is easy to feel unmoored by revelations like these, but we are focusing on how we can act in response. We are making changes at SML to do better and this work will continue. It is going to take resources, time, training, and action. We will do our work and I hope we can count on you - our community - to join us