On June 10, HSCRB participated in the national #ShutDownSTEM movement, stepping away from our scholarly work to focus on educating ourselves about systemic racism in academia and to begin to chart a course to change the biases in our culture.

HSCRB is dedicated to ensuring that everyone feels welcome and supported in our community. We used the day’s meetings among lab groups, faculty, students, staff, and divisional leaders to discuss the impacts of structural racism on research and education at Harvard and beyond, and to identify anti-racism actions we can begin to implement immediately.

Although we recognize that the conversation is just beginning, there were some major areas of impact that emerged from these initial meetings, including expanding mentoring and career support for Black students, increasing visibility for Black scholars and scientists, and curricular innovation. Many individuals and groups within our community have engaged very deeply in these still ongoing discussions, including the Melton Lab, which has proposed comprehensive plans for creating cultural and systemic change that would allow individuals in our community to thrive, regardless of their background.

HSCRB’s day of action is the first step to bring the community together to tackle this critical issue. We look forward to further discussions with all members of our department, and to learning and working together with everyone to make HSCRB a more inclusive place.