By Emily Fishbein
WOODS HOLE, MASS. — On Massachusetts’ Cape Cod, more than 9 out of 10 locals are white. The prestigious science community in the village of Woods Hole reflects a similar racial breakdown.
On June 10, some 300 locals and scientists marched past the village’s six marine and coastal science laboratories, demanding racial equity in their community and field. They joined nationwide strikes against anti-Black racism in STEM and wider academia, with calls for concrete action. While Woods Hole leaders have led a diversity initiative since 2004, advocates say change has been incremental.
Diversity and inclusion are critical to building trust with communities affected by Woods Hole institutions’ research. Many of the topics Woods Hole’s scientists study – including climate change and the management of coastal and marine ecosystems and resources – disproportionately affect disadvantaged populations.
“If we as a scientific community want to have a broader impact and relevance across a range of communities, we must be willing to expand our professional demographic composition,” says Larry Alade, a Black research fishery biologist.
Suzanne Thomas, a white laboratory technician at the Marine Biological Laboratory, joined the June 10 protest “because diversity in science matters.”
“When we have a diversity of lives and diversity of minds, science is stronger,” she says. Read more …
Photo: Scientists Ryan Null (left) and Duygu Ozpolat of the Marine Biological Laboratory join protests in Woods Hole, Mass., on June 10, 2020, calling for racial equality in STEM and academia. Credit: Emily Fishbein