Physics Department Statement and Actions on Anti-Racism

Dear Students, Postdocs, Staff, and Faculty,

The U.S. is in turmoil, and as physicists we may feel out of our element when trying to address the on-going pain and conflict. We abhor the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and Tony McDade by current or former law enforcement officers. We express solidarity with individuals and groups organizing privately and publicly in resistance to systemic anti-Black racism in policing. However, statements of affirmation are not enough. As President Cartwright recently wrote to the UCF community, “What is needed now is action — a commitment from our university to not merely celebrate our diversity, but to be actively anti-racist. Systemic racism, sexism, homophobia and other hateful ideologies seek to deny our shared humanity. They must be called out and confronted. They do not reflect the values of our UCF community.”

Physics training generally does not prepare us for what it means to take action against racism. Here are some questions we should all consider and some valuable resources:

  • What can we learn about the history of race, racism, and anti-racism in the US and racism in policing specifically? Many people are curating lists of anti-racist resources to promote self-education. Now is the time for us to use them:
  • What can we learn about race, racism, and anti-racism in physics?
    • Learn about your biases and how to work against them when applying course, departmental and university policies. Some resources include:

We all have occasion to learn here — including the people who put together the document you’ve just been reading. The people who wrote this message do not know everything, and there is strength in our individual experiences. If you have ideas about additional information and resources the physics department should provide or actions it should take, please reach out to Eduardo Mucciolo.