Change – Now
This document is not aspirational. This document presents real solutions to address the significant challenges facing Black people at Fermilab. The calls to action described here are the minimum scale of investment for making real change. These actions must be initiated now to achieve real results. Delaying any further will continue to deny equality and justice for Black people at Fermilab. This moment presents an important and historic opportunity to effect meaningful change on behalf of Black scientists at our laboratory, and we recognize that our proposed changes will benefit other populations at the laboratory and ensure the lab’s mission is successful. Herein, we include plans for internal and external accountability mechanisms for a swift and just implementation of these changes, as well as plans for developing shared leadership models for a new community at Fermilab.
The following items must be implemented, and we aim to work alongside our colleagues in the Fermilab community to design and carry out that implementation.
You can download the PDF here. If you use this work, please cite it (details here).
We acknowledge the work of many of those who have come before us (link; also at the bottom of the page).
Black people are not represented, not recruited, and not retained at Fermilab in science. Our work environment lacks accountability for unwelcoming behavior. Our institution does not make real investments in Black communities in Chicagoland or near the laboratory. Though there were once hints of progress, over the course of decades, lab leadership has not yet developed a welcoming, equitable, and just work environment for Black people.
Upon founding of the laboratory, representation of Black people amongst the technical staff was relatively high, and laboratory leadership made public commitments to recruit and retain Black staff, thereby increasing representation of Black people in STEM and STEM-adjacent professions. Fermilab’s origin story is rooted in the midst of the Civil Rights Movement. Deputy Director Edwin Goldwasser stated,
Scientists are restless in these days of social strife. As a group, they tend to be concerned humanitarians. … At the National Accelerator Laboratory, we have found it possible to pursue scientific objectives, and at the same time, to be more than mere spectators of the crises which grip our society.Edwin Goldwasser1
These public commitments from laboratory leadership to the Black community in and around the greater Chicago area were commendable as a part of the fabric of Fermilab’s origin story. However, currently amongst scientific staff, there are two associate scientists with Black heritage and three postdoctoral research associates who identify as Black.
Fewer than 5% of the science staff are Black. Similarly, 5% of Fermilab’s overall workforce are Black, with the highest percentages in Technical or Mission Support roles2. The laboratory’s long-term demonstrated investment, competency, and will to effect change have not produced results: the laboratory has not recruited us or retained us at levels representative of the US national population, in a scientific role or otherwise.
Black Scientific Staff
Overall Black Workforce
U.S Black Population
As Black physicists, we have competencies and expertise not only in scientific problem-solving but in identifying and navigating structures of white supremacy, and in community-building and -organizing. We call for a complete rejection of the systems that have oppressed Black people for generations. Moreover, we call for a reinvention and rebuilding of the Fermilab community in the context of new models of shared leadership and compassionate accountability. This new community will not only be anti-racist and anti-misogynist; it will actively foster the development and pursuit of dreams and prosperity for all Black people at Fermilab — from employees to visitors, from students to managers.
We call on Fermilab to take action for Black lives by establishing a commitment to revolutionary change, by taking up the calls to action in this document immediately to initiate and carry out systemic change. We call on Fermilab to take this unique opportunity to lead the National Laboratories to a new era of Black liberation, expansive anti-racism, and prosperity for all people. Below, we establish a vision and mission for Black scientists at Fermilab. The calls to action address issues that we know and face. These issues must be addressed now.
Black people are intersectional in their identities and are a part of many communities. We are thus affected by many forms of oppression, bigotry, and prejudice — including racism, white supremacy, homophobia, queer antagonism, misogyny, ableism, transphobia, antisemitism, antiziganism, and many more; when we refer to bigotry and oppression, and dismantling the structures that support them, we are referring to these forms. Being a part of many communities, we are not monolithic in our needs or beliefs. At Fermilab, Black engineers, technicians, and non-technical staff may have other ideas and perspectives that must also be heard. As Black scientists, we can only speak to our own needs and from our own perspectives.
As part of the calls to action, we call for the Laboratory community to fully engage in an equitable manner with all Black employees, users, and other community members and stakeholders — to listen to and to undertake all of their calls to action. This means: listening to and doing what Black employees say they need and not making plans for us without us there. This means listening to all Black community members regardless of sector, location, or career status. This means rethinking and restructuring the system with imagination and creativity to end oppression for Black people and all other minoritized and marginalized people in the Fermilab Community.
We envision an equitable, safe, and just research environment in which Black people can pursue and realize their dreams for scientific discovery. We envision the dismantling of anti-Black racism and other elements of white supremacy that are embedded within structures across Fermilab. Furthermore, we envision the examination and dismantling of the interlocking systems of oppression and privilege within current academic and labor models. The result will be a new community at Fermilab, a new sense of purpose that prioritizes humanity over productivity, accountability over secrecy, liberation over kyriarchy.
We will achieve this vision through a people-centered movement that focuses on social change, that dismantles systemic oppression at Fermilab, and that rebuilds us as a community of individuals with agency and shared leadership. This movement will enable all Black employees at the lab to exercise their collective power to demand transparency of governance and decision-making, with accountability for everyone. Within this framework we prescribe three principles: Recruitment, Representation, and Retention. All three must be implemented to ensure meaningful and lasting improvements. As movement-builders, we do not seek to become members of the system that continually shackles the Black community. Rather, we liberate ourselves by seeking to enact our vision through an intersectional lens. Our goal is to increase generational wealth, generational leadership, and build healthy Black communities in and around the laboratory. This cannot be accomplished while prioritizing a focus on compliance and complicity with the current oppressive systems. A complete dismantling of kyriarchies must be embraced for all laboratory constituents and community members.
Calls for Action
We have enumerated calls to action. These actions begin to address key barriers to Recruitment, Representation, and Retention. In so doing, these actions necessarily work to deconstruct some of the fundamentally racist structures and mechanisms that create those barriers. These problems permeate every aspect of the Fermilab community, and so must be addressed simultaneously. For example, we must address failed leadership modalities and, simultaneously, accountability. Also, complementary with recruitment and hiring practices, we must create a safe and inclusive environment by, in part, establishing deep and long-lasting education processes. These steps cannot be taken in series — they must be taken concurrently to effect lasting change. All efforts must have external oversight mechanisms.
While these calls for action are presented on behalf of the Black Scientists at Fermilab, both the non-scientific and scientific staff contribute to the success of the laboratory scientific program. All employees and users are stakeholders. Therefore, it is imperative that the Directorate and other laboratory managers and leaders meet with every Black stakeholder (and their allies) when the latter are available and willing.
All Black stakeholders must have a seat at the table and work alongside all laboratory stakeholders (including the Directorate and management). They will use their respective experiences, competencies, and fields of expertise to ensure that Fermilab continues producing innovative science. Long-overdue design and implementation of policies are needed to prevent overlooking or mistreating the non-scientific staff, where the majority of the laboratory Black employees have heretofore been hired.
While multiple communities and stakeholders have agency and responsibility to develop plans and strategies for equity and justice, we take responsibility for an active role in this process — we will not sacrifice our agency, and we will not be spoken for. We will determine our own futures and we will share in the responsibility of determining the lab’s future.
We expect an initial response by July 6, 2020 regarding these calls to action. There should be a plan developed by August 6, 2020.
Employment Security and Agency for all Black Scientists
Here, we call for job security and agency for all Black scientists through equitable pay for all work, new mechanisms for mentorship, access to resources, and promotion. All of these elements are critical for recruiting and retaining Black scientists.
01. Equitable compensation for all work
Scientists should be paid for all the work they do and the expertise they have — all hours and all types of effort. This includes EPO, EDI, service work, and the effort and expertise involved in navigating racist research environments. Academic organizations, including the laboratory, undervalue and undercompensate effort and expertise in these areas. Black academics, in particular, hold expertise and skillsets in navigating racist and white supremacist research environments. Additionally, Black scientists endure systemic racism and oppression throughout their educational careers3, which often results not only in non-traditional career paths, but also unequal financial hardship. For example, generational wealth inequality drives Black students to take on disproportionate amounts of student debt relative to other groups. We call for a suite of actions to address these issues: employment contracts must account for realistic working conditions and hours; contracts for employment must include time for and address expertise in all areas4; compensation must be at the market rate; the laboratory must introduce a student debt forgiveness program; and Black scientists (who are called on to do more of this work than most of their colleagues and who have provided this work at low cost or for free in the past) must receive reparative compensation prorated at market rates for that work and expertise. Black employees are called on at disproportionately high rates to enhance the diversity of community groups like the UEC, hiring committees, and conference planning. Black representation in these efforts is critical to ensure an equitable work environment, and this asymmetric set of responsibilities and requirements should be appropriately supported and compensated.
02. PromotionAll Black postdoctoral research associate hires should be undertaken such that individuals are provided opportunities for career advancement, including job security for scientific appointments at Fermilab. Fermilab must create the conditions for postdoctoral research associates to succeed and thrive in their careers, including promotions. There is precedent for this with fellowships at the University of California5, University of Michigan67, and University of Chicago8; these fellowships are used to provide a direct path to permanent-track positions from the beginning of a postdoc’s first appointment— i.e., a postdoc on the scientist-track doesn’t need to reapply for a scientist appointment when completing the postdoc.
The laboratory must establish a mentoring program that connects Black researchers across institutions. The lack of Black researchers at the lab makes it extraordinarily difficult for us to find mentors and develop professional networks. We call for funding for a program that pays for meetings, training events, and other activities that enable connections between Black scientists. When we mentor others, and when researchers at external institutions mentor us, that work must also be compensated at market rate.
04. Professional Development Resources and Opportunities
Black scientists will be given access to scientific resources that are known to enable and accelerate professional development for scientists. This includes, but is not limited to the following activities and opportunities: funding for travel to conferences, workshops, professional society meetings, and collaboration with scientific partners; training on science group management and leadership; training and mentorship on proposal writing; startup funding for every Black Associate Scientist; access to regular meetings with program managers at funding agencies, like DOE, NSF, and NASA; joint appointments at UChicago, Northwestern, UIC, and other Universities.
As scientists, we demand academic freedom and to not be silenced for our commentary regarding science, ethical implications of our scientific results and our scientific collaborations, and our expertise with respect to justice. It is our prerogative to speak about our humanity, our expertise, our efforts for justice without jeopardizing our employment or professional status. We do not need to seek clearance or editorial approval from Fermilab, DOE, or any other authority in order to comment on our lived experience, but we may seek editorial assistance from communications staff9. Moreover, we call for the laboratory to actively promote anti-racist commentary, speech, and news in their media, and across in internal and external communications — including with respect to both the public and to DOE.
The authors of this document will call for individual conversations with Fermilab representatives to discuss and finalize reparative compensation, promotion, and updates to our contracts on an individual basis before August 6, 2020.
Hire Black People with an Intersectional Lens
We call for hiring Black people into scientific and leadership positions in the laboratory to produce full representation (15%) within three years101112. To achieve this, we call for hiring five postdocs, hiring and/or promoting into 10 new scientist positions, hiring and/or promoting two scientists into senior laboratory management, and hiring and/or promoting one person into the Directorate by the second quarter of FY2021. Immediately, one postdoc and one scientist, should be hired — by August 6, 2020. Within six months, Fermilab should hire a new member of Senior Laboratory Management. Within one year, a Black person should be hired into the Directorate. These hirings and promotions should proceed for the two following fiscal years in such a way as to achieve reparative representation levels by the second quarter of FY2023. The American Institute of Physics (AIP) TEAM-UP Task Force Report13 calls for a percentage of Black scientists in a community that meets representational levels. We base the calculations on 15% representation of Black people within the national population. To establish Fermilab as a leader in this area among the national laboratories, and to ensure an enduring and equitable stance, our goal should be greater than 15% representation. The hires called for must be intersectional with respect to identity (e.g., they cannot all be cis-hetero Black men)141516. The hires must be predominantly from the junior level, in order to enhance leadership development and plan for succession that will improve representation of Black leadership in physics.
Restructure Leadership and Decision-making Entities
We call for immediate and long-term restructuring of laboratory decision-making and leadership entities. It is critical that every lab community member establish competence in “equity, diversity, and inclusion” — as well as anti-racism, anti-misogyny, anti-homophobia, and anti-able-ism, and other modes of deconstructing bigotry. The current training programs at the lab are not sufficient to establish these competencies. It is especially important that leaders and managers have expertise in these areas so that they can adequately contribute to the training and professional development of their colleagues. This is currently not the case.
01. Restructure Key Offices
The Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Office should provide leadership, guidance, and oversight for the Office of Strategic Partnerships, which itself oversees the Office of Education and Public Outreach and the Office of Communications. The latter offices have repeatedly demonstrated the inability or unwillingness to effect change with respect to racial justice. As scientists who participate in EPO and communications, and who hold competencies and expertise with respect to racial justice, our work in those areas is undermined by the lack of support and obstruction from these offices.
02. Establish Oversight of the Users Executive Committee
The D&I Office should hold primary oversight and approval responsibilities for the budget, finances, and governance procedures of the Users Executive Committee (UEC). The UEC organizes and leads efforts that are critical to Fermilab Users. It also has an extraordinary amount of concentrated power, especially relative to the amount of oversight, accountability, and transparency it is subject to. It is one of the least accountable Fermilab-related entities. As such, this has led to the significant disenfranchisement of Black scientists within user-related activities.
03. Assess Ethical Implications of Scientific Research
Establish a new office for the assessment, approval, and publication of scientific research in an ethical context. Our scientific research has a broad range of ethical implications — from the positive spin-off applications that improve human life to potential contributions to facial recognition technologies, which add to oppression and marginalization of Black people and other people of color. It is important that scientists take responsibility for the broader implications of how our research is used in society — if we take credit for the positive effects, we have to take responsibility for the negative effects. These must be assessed and reviewed, and discussed openly. The laboratory will make public its investments and responsibilities in these technical areas. All such investments and products that are developed through the Office of Partnerships and Technology Transfer are to be included under this assessment and publication framework. The new office should exist under the D&I Office.
04. Establishment of New Shared Leadership Modalities
We call on the laboratory community to establish shared leadership models of governance and decision-making, which will increase and distribute accountability, reduce concentration of power, and enhance transparency of processes and decision-making. Governance modalities at Fermilab heavily prioritize hierarchical decision-making, non-transparent processes for this decision-making, and lack of consequences for negative behavior. This leads to concentrations of power within the hands of very few people and disenfranchises community members from the decision-making process and removes our agency. Current and previous leadership models have traits that are too fundamentally easy to misuse and abuse. They have been used to prevent inclusion of Black people in the community through both inaction with respect to racial injustice and through permitting racist actions to continue unabated. There are many examples of institutions and working groups with experience in new shared-leadership models and open, transparent decision-making mechanisms, including the American Physical Society (APS) Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity Alliance (IDEA)17 and PISAB18.
Commit to Accountability and Transparency
01. Enact immediate consequences for prejudiced and bigoted behavior and speech
We call for immediate consequences for bigoted behavior and for the development and implementation of an accountability system in which individuals and teams have opportunities to learn and change, and the community has an opportunity to heal. A safe working environment should be prioritized for all Fermilab employees and users1920. Bigoted speech and actions create an unsafe work environment, and they cannot be permitted212223242526. Those who demonstrate lack of basic competence in maintaining an equitable and safe environment that celebrates our differences should not hold positions of leadership nor should they publicly represent the laboratory until those basic core competencies have been achieved. These are competencies that are necessary for leadership, management, and professional interaction. If an employee or user refuses to learn and change their behavior, they must not be permitted to create an unsafe work environment for others. We find examples of organizations that can help teach and train members of the Fermilab community to develop skills in restorative justice, like the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond (PISAB)18.
02. Code of Conduct with Consequences
We call for the enactment of a Code of Conduct that has clear consequences for racist, misogynistic, homophobic, and other prejudiced, bigoted behaviors. The Fermilab Statement of Community Standards (published July 2017)27 does nothing to directly discourage — let alone establish consequences for — these behaviors. A new, more extensive Code of Conduct should be created with oversight from race and gender equity professionals, and must establish direct and specific consequences for discriminatory behavior. All Fermilab community members — employees, users, visitors, and everyone else who has access to Fermilab resources, including the site —- must read and sign this document to acknowledge its existence and their responsibility before they receive access to any Fermilab-related resources.
03. Assessment of Workplace Climate and Culture and Oversight of change
We call for immediate and regularly recurring assessments of workplace climate and culture — including specifically for racial justice — through multiple mechanisms and entities28. The leadership has demonstrably and consistently avoided accountability for its failures. In doing so, it also shirks purview for administering new mechanisms of accountability. External groups are needed to monitor and guide laboratory growth and development, including the planning and execution of actions that would deconstruct the ossified and oppressive infrastructure. We call for assessments from multiple groups — including academic organizations like the American Astronomical Society (AAS)29 and the APS30, and non-academic organizations like the PISAB18 — the reports from all of which will be made public without condition. These external committees have expertise and should be listened to.
04. Fermilab and the DOE must make resource access contingent on anti-racist behavior
Documented racist behavior should result in the suspension or termination of resources for research for individuals and groups. Fermilab should make this a clear policy within the lab31. Fermilab leadership should also push the Department of Energy (DOE) to make this a policy within that Department. The National Science Foundation (NSF) has begun to establish a mechanism for consequences for harassment32; the NSF and the DOE must establish clear, firm, and expansive consequences for bigoted and harassing behavior.
Education and Training
As we create real modes of accountability, we must also create opportunities for growth and learning. All Fermilab community members must participate in anti-racism education and training that will be essential for rebuilding the Fermilab community as one that is fundamentally anti-racist and inclusive.
01. Education and training in the Office of Strategic Partnerships, the Directorate, and Senior Laboratory Management
Establish pilot anti-racism education and training programs with these offices3334. This should also include all individuals affiliated with Fermilab who want to participate in activities developed and led by these offices, such as the Fermilab Friends for Science and Education (FFSE). These offices are the optimal choice for this pilot effort. The Office of Strategic Partnerships will be re-organized within the purview of the D&I Office, and they have direct interactions with multiple sectors of the Fermilab community, both internal and external. The Directorate and Senior Laboratory Management are also representatives of the institution and should model competency and knowledge both to the Fermilab community and external partners. Individuals cannot participate in public-facing activities until they have participated in this training and until they have consistently demonstrated new competencies in anti-racism and related topics — even if it means the suspension of those activities. The first education and training event should take place no later than August 6, 2020.
02. Community-wide Continued Education and Training
This program should expand rapidly to the entire laboratory staff and user community, according to a strategic plan, with the next group undertaking educational activities no later than September 1, 2020. These are not one-time activities, because learning to identify, counteract, and dismantle institutional racism and white supremacy is a difficult task that requires long-term investment of effort and resources.
Fermilab does not have sufficient expertise and resources in-house to perform this training, so it must be performed in partnership with external organizations with documented expertise. There are multiple companies and consultants who have expertise in anti-racist training and education. These organizations include VanguardSTEM35, African American Women in Physics (AAWIP)36, Race Equity Group, the Nova Collective37, CrossRoads Anti-Racism and Training38, and the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond39. Much of the research and program development in this area has been done by Black people, and they should be compensated for their work and long-term leadership.
Invest in Black Communities
We call for immediate and long-term financial and social investment in Black communities. This will increase representation at Fermilab by enlarging the participation and presence of Black people in the Fermilab community at all ages and from all kinds of interests.
01. Innovation Fund Proposal
Fund a program designed by Dr. Jessica Esquivel for professional development, STEM training, and mental health for Black girls and women. This program will establish a summer STEM and mental health camp for middle school aged Black girls; a high school after-school program for Black girls to invest in their future and arm them with technological and knowledge-based tools to help them uplift their community; and a counterspace40 focused on Blackness, mental health, and combating the structural racism for Black women who are undergraduate and graduate students in physics. This proposal41 is firmly rooted in the three principles stated in the mission: Recruitment, Representation, and Retention. This proposal is currently under review by the APS Innovation Fund, and Fermilab should independently commit to providing funding for this work.
02. Public Engagement Partnerships
Fund a program to bolster and maintain collaborations with key partners in public engagement for Black communities in cities near Fermilab, including Chicago424344. Black scientists at Fermilab have already established deep and long-lasting collaborations with partners like the Adler Planetarium45, the Museum of Science and Industry46, and Wakandacon4748, as well as professional societies for Black scientists and engineers.
03. Ex-offenders Re-entry and Hiring Program
We call for the development of an ex-offenders re-entry and hiring program. This program has the capability to make lasting change within the Black community by arming us with wealth-, knowledge-, and skill-building opportunities. This program also directly addresses the structural racism of the prison system by directly refusing to treat ex-offenders, who are majority Black and brown individuals, as less than human. This program must have internal support structures implemented for its continued success. Examples of this support structure include funded programs for GEDs, free or reduced-cost childcare, equitable employee tuition payment programs, job security and clear career advancement opportunities, implementation with an intersectional lens, and mental health services dedicated to trauma and post-traumatic stress encountered in the criminal justice system.
04. Fermi Explorers
Fund a program to provide professional development in STEM for Black communities in the Chicagoland area. This is a three-phase program to engage with communities of color in the city of Chicago and nearby to 1) recruit students from community colleges and four-year institutions for internships at Fermilab; 2) help them build technical and professional skills; and 3) bring them to Fermilab for shadowing visits that introduce them to STEM careers. This program is based in part on the 25-year-old successful program, UChicago/KICP Space Explorers program, which is currently led by Brian Nord. The Fermi Explorers proposal has been funded in part by the DOE office of Workforce Development for Teachers and Students49; Fermilab should independently fund this program50.
05. Connect with Black Research Communities
Fund a program to build connections between Fermilab researchers and Black researchers throughout the US and across the world, with a special focus on African countries. There are a number of methods with which to do this. For example, create a fellowship program (similar to the URA fellowship) for undergraduates, graduate students, postdocs, and other visiting researchers (including PIs) for HBCUs and Primarily-Black Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs). Expand the URA fellowship program to primarily Black institutions in the United States and institutions in African countries, Also, create a fellowship program through which Fermilab scientists visit and work with Black communities on mutual research interests. The proposals for these fellowships will be reviewed collaboratively by the D&I Office and the proposed institution to select applicants with the appropriate skills and competencies.
06. Match Funds for Chicago-based Black-led non-profit organizations
Create an employee donation fund to specific Chicago-based Black-led non-profit organizations. Institute an FRA matching program on top of these employee donations. There are multiple examples of organizations that could be a part of this effort, including Black Lives Matter Chicago51, the Chicago Community Bond Fund52, the Brave Space Alliance53, Black Youth Project 10054, Assata’s Daughters55, and more.
07. Divest from partners who support racism and white supremacy
Fermilab should divest from company agreements and partnerships that demonstrate support for anti-Black racism or that support white supremacy. Fermilab shall admonish institutions that use violence as a tool against Black communities to enforce white supremacy. Fermilab shall publicly censure institutions that fail to provide or actively prevent basic human rights in Black communities.
We call for Fermilab to invest funding and personnel in a new non-profit to carry out the seven activities aforementioned. This non-profit will be created, managed, and operated by Black people, and will also have a controlling stake by Black people.
Make Commitments and Accountability Public
It is critical that the commitments to change be made public to send a message to Black community members and to establish a modality of accountability.
01. Public Release of the 2019 Climate Survey
We call for the public release of all survey data along with accompanying writing/documentation and summaries — barring data that de-anonymizes individuals and puts minoritized individuals at risk. There should also be a public commitment to bi-annual climate surveys and their public release without condition.
02. Public Release of the Complete Report for the Vision for Education and Public Outreach
We call for the public release of the 2018 report from the committee for the Vision for Education and Public Outreach (VEPO)56, which provided analysis and recommendations regarding EPO at Fermilab, and in particular the failures with respect to EDI and racial justice. This effort was convened to analyze Fermilab’s public engagement efforts and recommend actions for innovation and long-term evolution. During the course of that effort, the VEPO committee assessed the public outreach, cited successes and failures, and made recommendations. The VEPO report recommended that EDI be set as the primary foundation for all public engagement activities. For accountability and to demonstrate a commitment to change, it is critical that Fermilab make public the VEPO report, which they originally committed to do.
03. Public Release of all Fermilab Salaries and Benefits
We call for the publication of salaries and pay rates for all employees. We also call for the publication of salary, pay, and employment statistics as broken down by race, ethnicity, gender, and all other axes of identity. We also call for the publication of official salary ranges on a monthly basis or immediately upon them being changed and shared with employees. Hiding salaries is an oppressive tool to prevent individuals and communities from negotiating equitable pay.
04. Recognize and Celebrate Juneteenth as a Paid Fermilab Holiday
We call for Fermilab to recognize Juneteenth as a paid holiday, like all paid Federal holidays. This is a critical holiday for Black people and every person living in the United States. It is a much-needed day of celebration and remembrance of a foundational part of the country’s history: the last day of enslavement of Black people in the United States. Many communities and institutions are including Juneteenth as a paid holiday57.
05. Recognize Federal Voting Days as Paid Fermilab Holidays
We call on Fermilab to recognize Election Day as a paid holiday. This is critical not only for Black researchers, but for everyone at Fermilab who supports equality. The difficulties faced by Black people at Fermilab and the surrounding Black communities make it difficult to travel to a polling location during a work day. Other institutions are establishing paid holidays for this basic exercise in democracy and representation.
06. Public apology for the racist message from the Laboratory
We call for a public apology for the racist message sent to Fermilab staff on June 2, 2020. This apology should also be made public, and it should include the leadership’s long-term complicity in racism and misogyny occurring at the laboratory. It is important that the community addresses together the leadership’s complacency with regard to ensuring an equitable work environment free from racism, misogyny, homo/queer-antagonism, and other forms of prejudice. It is necessary to establish a standard of behavior with regard to the laboratory. The authors and editors of the statement issued on June 2, 2020, addressed the Fermilab community regarding recent incidents of racist violence against Black people and the growing international movement for Black lives. This statement was wrong.
07. Public announcement of changes
The laboratory must make public its commitment to structural changes because it provides transparency, a key mechanism for accountability. Fermilab must publicly stand behind the agreement to honor and initiate these calls to action, as well as to report regularly regarding the community’s healing and growth. The laboratory will acknowledge publicly the critical role that Black people and other non-leadership stakeholders have taken in making this change happen: the laboratory didn’t come up with these solutions. We did. And we aim to make them happen together.
“For the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house. They may allow us to temporarily beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change.”Audre Lorde
The tools and methods to change the Fermilab community must themselves change. Individuals at Fermilab must now come together to reimagine leadership, to rethink success, and to rebuild community. We are many voices, and we are all leaders.
We expect the calls to action to be addressed by July 6, 2020, and we expect to see a detailed plan, which we will co-approve with external accountability partners, by August 6, 2020. We expect to observe measurable evidence of change by October 1, 2020. See the timeline and the FAQ for the latest information
The following is a note from the authors and is separate from the words that signatories have endorsed.
We acknowledge and appreciate the work of Black people who have come before us — writing, speaking, and organizing. We choose to highlight the seminal leadership and irreplaceable energy of Prof. Geraldine Cochran, Prof. Tabbetha Dobbins, Dr. Apriel Hodari, Prof. Jarita Holbrook, Prof. Jedidah Isler, Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson, Arlene Modeste Knowles, Dr. Shirley Malcom, Dr. Jami Valentine Miller, Prof. Dara Norman, and Prof. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein (listed alphabetically). References to their work are within the Change-Now document, and on the resources page.
The work of Black women and Black genderqueer individuals is all-too-often overlooked at the intersection of science and justice. We encourage everyone to seek out, read, and cite their work, as well as that of many others who have laid foundations for the work that we all do.
As of August 15, 2020, after many conversations with laboratory management, they have agreed that the seven major items should be addressed in a deep and fundamental manner. Further, we expect the community to undertake a solutions-based approach in working for the implementation of the specific calls to action, which are well-documented and deeply researched solutions for each of the seven major items.
As a member of Fermilab’s scientific community, you are invited to stand with us by adding your name as a supporter of these calls to action (in which case your name will go on the document, the website, and the form). By signing onto the document, you are affirming that:
- Each of the seven major items should be addressed in a deep and fundamental manner.
- The solutions recommended by the document represent the scale of change that is needed.
- The laboratory must work with the community to achieve this change.
- The calls to action would be truly transformative, and the laboratory should pursue a course of action that will achieve such change.
We are seeking support from all members of the physics community. For Fermilab employees and users, you are showing support as direct stakeholders within the entire Fermilab community. For those who are neither users nor employees of Fermilab, by signing, you are showing support for changing physics – now.
We hope that you will find the calls for action and researched solutions in the Change Now document useful as you design and implement change at your institution.
You can download the PDF here. If you use this work, please cite it (details here).
Supporters from non-Fermilab institutions
Dr. Lothar Bauerdick, Senior Scientist
Marco Verzocchi, Senior Scientist
Ryan Rivera, Electrical Engineer
Nhan Tran, Associate Scientist
Nick Gnedin, Senior Scientist
Julian Badillo, App Developer
Anne Schukraft, Associate Scientist
Kevin Pedro, Associate Scientist
Oliver Gutsche, Senior Scientist
Alex Himmel, Scientist
James Hirschauer, Scientist
Etta Johnson, Division Admin
Pedro Machado, Associate Scientist
Thomas Kroc, Applications Physicist III
Donovan Tooke, Accelerator Crew Chief
Vivian O’Dell, Senior Scientist
Aria Soha, Engineering Physicist
Eric Neilsen, Computational Physics Developer
Lauren Hsu, Scientist
Steve Nahn, Scientist
Anne Norrick, Research Associate
Andres Quintero, Electrical Engineer
Carolyn Johnson, Admin Support
Elizabeth Buckley-Geer, Senior Scientist
Steven Gardiner, Research Associate
Sasha Rahlin, Research Associate
Dan Bauer, Senior Scientist
Sam Zeller, Senior Scientist
Louise Suter, Wilson Fellow
Carrie McGivern, Applications Physicist II
Javier Tiffenberg, Associate Scientist
Dawn M. Staszak, Program Administrator II
Travante K Thompson, Accelerator Operator
James Simone, Scientist
Spencer Schiefelbein, Accelerator Operator
V. Daniel Elvira, Senior Scientist
Irwin Gaines, CISO and Senior Scientist
Valery Stanley, Sr. Immigration Specialist
Lisa Goodenough, Applications Physicist
Lauren Biron, science communicator
Tim Skirvin, Systems Administrator
Adam Lyon, Senior Scientist
Tanaz Mohayai, Research Associate
Mandy Kiburg, Applications Physicist II
Jean L. Reising, Computing Division
Jennifer Gondorchin, Laboratory Benefits Manager
Robert M Harris, Senior Scientist
Gordan Krnjaic, Research Associate
Pamela E. Johnson, Program Administrator
Spencer Pasero, Education
Patrick Dowdle, Accelerator Operator II
Claire Lee, Associate Scientist
Evan Niner, Applications Physicist
Angela Fava, Scientist
Noah Kurinsky, Research Associate
Adam Watts, Engineering Physicist
James K Santucci, Engineering Physicist
Jeny Teheran, Computer Security Analyst
Yuanyuan Zhang, Research Associate
Sam McDermott, Schramm Fellow postdoctoral associate
Brendan Kiburg, Associate Scientist
Bradford Benson, Scientist
James Annis, Senior Scientist
Arden Warner, Senior Eng.Physicist
Pete Cholewinski, Senior Compensation Analyst
Roni Harnik, Senior Scientist
Kevin Kelly, Research Associate
Alyssa R Miller, Engineering Physicist
Kirsty Duffy, Lederman Fellow
Justine Dunn, Administrative Assistant V
Ryan Postel, Media Producer, Creative Services
Mu Wei, Research Associate
Joshua Isaacson, Research Associate
Kevin Burkett, Senior Scientist
Aleksandra Ciprijanovic, Research Associate
Huan Lin, Senior Scientist
Rick Cavanaugh, Scientist/Associate Professor
Amanda Early, Education Program Leader
Joseph Zennamo, Wilson Fellow
Donna Kubik, Engineering Physicist
Luciano Elementi, Principal Engineer
Jonathan M. Paley, Scientist
Leah Hesla, Communication Specialist
Steve Brice, Senior Scientist
Juliana Whitmore, Senior Scientist
Elena Gramellini, Lederman Fellow
Josh Frieman, Distinguished Scientist
Carol Johnstone, Senior Scientist
Javier Sánchez, Research Associate
Beau Harrison, Application Developer
Diana Kafkes, AI Associate
Juan Estrada, Senior Scientist
Burt Holzman, PhD
Karri DiPetrillo, Lederman Fellow
Kelli Rubrecht, Accelerator Crew Chief
Wesley Ketchum, Ph.D.
Margaret Votava, Application Dev and Sys Mgr
Sara M. Simon, Associate Scientist
Petra Merkel, Senior Scientist
Lindsey Gray, Associate Scientist
Adam Anderson, Wilson Fellow
Marcelle Soares-Santos, Assistant Professor / Associate Scientist (LOA)
Patrick Fox, Senior Scientist
Peter Wilson, Scientist
Marguerite Tonjes, UIC Research Specialist
Tristan Bachmann, Undergraduate, University of Chicago, Astronomy and Astrophysics Department
Samantha Usman, Graduate Student, Fermilab/UChicago
Tesla Jeltema, UC Santa Cruz
Amanda Pagul, graduate student, UC Riverside
Felipe Menanteau, Professor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Hailey Hurd, Intern, Latin School of Chicago
Andrés Alejandro Plazas Malagón, Associate Research Scientist, Princeton University
Cristina Schlesier, UIUC
Georgia Karagiorgi, Assistant Professor, Columbia University
Sudeshna Ganguly, Research Associate, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Lucas Tracy, Graduate Student, University of Virginia
Jack Elvin-Poole, postdoc, Ohio State
Jeremy Wolcott, Postdoctoral Researcher, Tufts University
Mateus F. Carneiro, PhD, Brookhaven National Laboratory
Erica Smith, Postdoctoral Fellow, Indiana University
Alexx Perloff, Postdoctoral Associate, University of Colorado Boulder
Peter Madigan, Graduate Student Researcher, UC Berkeley / LBNL
Jake Calcutt, Michigan State University
Susan Dittmer, postdoctoral associate, University of Illinois at Chicago
Nora Sherman, Graduate Student, University of Michigan
Logan Clutch Jackson Rice, graduate student, University of Pittsburgh
Brynn MacCoy, University of Washington
Masao Sako, Professor, University of Pennsylvania
Diego Lopez Gutierrez, Undergraduate Intern
Peter Ferguson, Graduate Student, TAMU
Robert Morgan, Graduate Student, Dark Energy Survey; University of Wisconsin-Madison
Lorenzo Cotrozzi, Master’s Student, INFN – Section of Pisa
Javier Duarte, Assistant Professor, UC San Diego
Mark Lancaster, University of Manchester, UK
Olivia Meredith Bitter, Graduate Student Researcher, UIC/UChicago
Sowjanya Gollapinni, Scientist, Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL)
Thomas Crawford, Research Professor, University of Chicago
Meghna Bhattacharya, University of Mississippi
Zoya Vallari, Postdoctoral Scholar, Caltech
Adam Schreckenberger, Postdoctoral Research Associate, UIUC
J Hewes, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Cincinnati
Luke Pickering, Research Associate, Michigan State University
Kendall Mahn, Associate Professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Michigan State University
Abbey Waldron, Research Associate, Imperial College London
Teresa Lackey, Graduate Student, Indiana University
Sven Dildick, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Rice University
Noah Harvey Vaughan, Graduate Student, Oregon State University
Alexandre Sousa, Associate Professor, University of Cincinnati
Elizabeth Worcester, Physicist, Brookhaven National Lab
W. Hugh Lippincott, Assistant Professor, UCSB
Sean Foster, PhD Candidate, Boston University
Ashley Back, Postdoctoral Fellow, Indiana University
Renee Fatemi, University of Kentucky
Richard Kessler, University of Chicago
Yair Atlas, Research Assistant/Undergraduate, Center for Data and Computing/University of Chicago
David Kirkby, Professor, University of California Irvine
Micalyn Rowe, Graduate Student, Texas A&M University
Kathryn Jepsen, Editor, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
Ellianna Abrahams, UC Berkeley
Joshua Batson, Senior Research Scientist, Chan Zuckerberg Biohub
Lucia F de la Bella, Dr, University of Manchester
Mehmet Alpaslan, PhD, NYU
Johan Sebastian Bonilla Castro, Postdoctoral Scholar, University of California – Davis
Niba Nirmal, PhD Candidate, Duke University
Seth Zenz, Lecturer, Queen Mary University of London
Eric Gawiser, Professor, Rutgers University
Ian Harry, Senior Lecturer, University of Portsmouth
Katherine Dunne, PhD Student, Stockholm University
Heather Phillips, Research Director, NCDVTMH
Ashwin Samudre, EMBL Heidelberg
Kristian Barajas, Graduate Student, APS Bridge @ UCLA
BT Werner, Faculty, University of California – San Diego
Mario Lucero, UIC LCC Associate Director, UIC Office of Diversity / Latinx Cultural Center (LCC)
Rhea Sellitto, undergraduate student, Oregon State University
Erik Shirokoff, Assistant Professor, University of Chicago
Jay Green, Mx., UCLA
Colin Bischoff, Assistant Professor, University of Cincinnati
Bjoern Penning, Assistant Professor, University of Michigan
Tova Holmes, Assistant Professor, University of Tennessee
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