Scientists, Researchers Go On Strike to Fight Racism, Shut Down STEM exempts COVID-19 Researchers

Showing solidarity with the Black Lives Matter campaign and protesting against racial injustice, thousands of researchers and STEM professionals would be observing a one-day strike on June 10. The strike is being staged under the banner Shut Down STEM.

Shut Down Stem
Shut Down STEM

Apart from scientists, two prominent scientific journals, including Nature, would be participating in the strike.

Strike Aims to Eradicate Anti-Black Racism

On its website Shut Down STEM, the organizers of the campaign said that they intend to utilize the time to understand more about racial injustice and how members can better address it.

According to Science, a number of university laboratories, scientific societies, technical journals, and others have pledged to spend June 10 focused on issues of racial equality and inclusiveness. The call has been made under the banners of #ShutDownAcademia, #ShutDownSTEM, and #Strike4BlackLives.

"In the wake of the most recent murders of Black people in the US, it is clear that white and other non-Black people have to step up and do the work to eradicate anti-Black racism. Our responsibility starts with our role in society," stated the website.

"Black academic and Black STEM professionals are hurting because they exist in and are attacked by institutional and systemic racism. Those of us who are not Black, particularly those of us who are white, play a key role in perpetuating systemic racism. Direct actions are needed to stop this injustice. Unless you engage directly with eliminating racism, you are perpetuating it," it added.

The strike organizers have called those in the STEM field to stop meetings, research, classes, and other usual activities to instead focus on "education, action, and healing".

COVID-19 Researchers Will Not Be Participating in the Strike

Even as researchers and scientists across the globe would be stalling their work for one day to participate in the strike, those involved in COVID-19 work have been exempted.

The organizers stated: "To be clear: #ShutDownSTEM is aimed at the broad research community who is not directly participating in ending the global pandemic, COVID-19. If your daily activities are directly helping us end this global crisis, we send our sincerest gratitude. The rest of us, we need to get to work."

Hashtag ShutDownSTEM was trending on the number three spot on Twitter, with users of the microblogging site offering their support to the campaign. "Today, I stand with #StrikeforBlackLives #ShutDownSTEM. I hope you join me in taking concrete actions for Black lives in our labs, our departments, our universities, and our communities beyond academia," wrote a user.