Harvard University COVID-19 updates

Department Message from the Chair

Message from the Chair

Dear MCB Community,

The recent, horrifying incidents of violence against Black Americans are only the latest examples of the long and tragic history of systemic racism that is prevalent in American society. Racism takes many forms in America, from killings and violence to pervasive indignities that chip away daily at people’s confidence and strength. The protests that have swept the US, and a groundswell of activism and awareness, offer us hope that this is a moment that can bring actual change for the better.

We need only look at the underrepresentation of Blacks in science and in our own department, or listen to the experiences of Black colleagues, to see that MCB has its own problems with systemic racism in science. We must face these uncomfortable truths forthrightly, and we must give our Black colleagues more voice and power, in order to make MCB a better community for everyone. We took an important step in taking a harder look at our departmental culture in a fall 2019 climate survey under Venki Murthy’s leadership. One action after that survey was the formation of a task force on Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging, led by Michelle Cicerano, with the goal of catalyzing discussion, awareness, and positive change across all of MCB. There is an enormous body of knowledge about the Black experience in science, and we must learn from that work. The task force, which includes representatives from each segment of our population, is evaluating every aspect of our culture through the eyes of community members who have not previously had a voice. Working groups within this unit have projects underway, to address issues such as improving our engagement with undergraduates, demystifying the “hidden curriculum” of academia, and breaking down existing barriers to meaningful conversations about racial and structural inequities in our labs, institutions, and society. We pledge to be transparent in our work, and will keep the community up to date on our progress.

We must not only do better, we must make substantial and lasting changes in our department’s culture – not only because it is morally necessary, but because it will make MCB’s science stronger. We want to attract the best scientific talent from the widest talent pool, and to foster a community where all of us feel supported and welcome, which will ultimately help all of us succeed at doing our best work.

I hope everyone will read and reflect on these issues, and I welcome your ideas and suggestions at any time.

Sean Eddy

Chair, Department of Molecular & Cellular Biology


Resources for Engaging in Anti-Racism Work and Practicing Solidarity

Resources for Engaging in Anti-Racism Work  (google drive)

We are Living in a Racist Pandemic 

Your Black Colleagues May Look Like They’re Okay – Chances are They’re Not

Affirming Black Lives Without Inducing Trauma

How Higher Education can Fight Racism, Speak Up When it’s Hard

Race Forward: What is Systemic Racism? [VIDEOS]

Understanding and Dismantling Racism: A Booklist for White Readers

10 Books About Race To Read Instead Of Asking A Person Of Color To Explain Things To You

Save the Tears: White Woman’s Guide

5 Ways White People Can Take Action in Response to White and State-Sanctioned Violence

Black Culture Films & Shows

Taking Action in Solidarity with Minneapolis

10 Books About Race To Read Instead Of Asking A Person Of Color To Explain Things To You

75 Things White People Can do for Racial Justice

What to Do Instead of Calling the Police

Resources for Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) to Engage in Self-Care

Surviving & Resisting Hate: A Toolkit for People of Color

Self-Care Tips for Black People Who Are Struggling with this Very Painful Week

Self-Care for People of Color after Psychological Trauma

Dear Bruh. A Eulogy. A Baptism. A Call to Action

The Four Bodies: A holistic toolkit for Coping with Racial Trauma

Ways to Support:

BlackLivesMatter: Ways you can help

Black Lives Matter: Healing in Action

Minnesota Freedom Fund

Black Visions Minneapolis, MN

Reclaim the Block

Supporting African American Colleagues:

Two Pandemics   Division of Science and SEAS Community Conversation on June 2, 2020 —  Gazette article

How White Managers can Respond to Anti-Black Violence

Before You Check-In on Your Black Friend, Read This

Data for Science Fields: 

National Statistics on STEM degree recipients, by ethnicity

Racial Bias in Scientific Fields:

Birding While Black

Scientists Speak out Against Racial Injustice and Discrimination Amid Protests

Following Outrage, Chemistry Journal Makes a Paper Decrying Diversity Disappear

How Implicit Bias and Lack of Diversity Undermine Science

Study Identifies a Key Reason Black Scientists are Less Likely to Receive NIH Funding

What I Learned While Reporting on the Dearth of Black Mathematicians

Earth Science Has a Whiteness Problem

Experiences of Black Doctoral Students Underscores Need to Increase Diversity in STEM Fields

(More) Bias in Science Hiring

Task Force Outlines Changes Needed to Increase African American Physics and Astronomy Students

Racial and Gender Biases Plague Post Doc Hiring

To Attract More Blacks and Hispanics to STEM, Universities Must Address Racial Issues on Campus

Strategies for Leaders:

How Higher Education can Fight Racism: Speak up When It’s Hard

What do Leaders Need to Understand About Diversity?

10 Small Steps for Department Chairs to Foster Inclusion

4 Ways that Academics and Scientists can Effectively Combat Racism

Incentivizing Faculty Diversity

Top 10 Practical Steps for Advancing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Higher Education