Black History Month for the Sciences
On May 25, 2020, Amy Cooper—a white Canadian woman—called the police on Christan Cooper—a black birdwatcher—after he asked her to leash her dog in an on-leash part of Central Park, New York City. From this incident rose Black Birders Week, an event organized by BlackAFinSTEM with the goal of increasing the viability of Black scientists in natural sciences and of highlighting the unique challenges and dangers faced by Black folks participating in outdoor activities.
Black Birders Week sparked the BlackinX movement and was fueled by the police killings of Geoge Floyd (which happened on the same day as the Central Park incident), Breonna Taylor, and countless other Black and Indigenous people in the U.S., Canada, and around the world. Today, there are BlackinX groups or hashtags representing nearly every discipline of science, including Black in Geoscience, Black in Marine Science, Black in Engineering, Black in Science Communication, #BlackinAtmosphere, #BlackinClimate, #BlackMeteorologists, Black in Science Policy, and #BlackinHydrosphere. All of these groups are working hard to uplift the work of Black scientist around the world.
For Black History month, many of these groups will be blessing us with science-related Black history social media posts, articles, events, and more. The sciences—in particular, the Earth sciences—may have along way to go to in creating equitable opportunities for people of colour but the immense work done by BlackinX movement is giving us a huge shove in the right direction.