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ASIS&T Statement on Injustice and Standing with George Floyd

On May 25, 2020, George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, died in Minneapolis, at the hands of police brutality and, as a community, ASIS&T grieves with his family and so many other families who have suffered as a consequence of racism and injustice. We stand in solidarity with those speaking up for justice on the streets of US cities, and the world over, with communities facing their own systems of oppression. It is time to say "Enough!" and not just offer words of hope that “it will get better”, but let's commit to individually, and collectively, making a difference.

As an information science and technology community, we know information is power. Our research, practice and teaching can expose the injustices and offer solutions to create a more just, peaceful and sustainable world. This is a call to action!

At ASIS&T, we are heeding the call. First, the ASIS&T Diversity Statement guides the association “to ensure the most welcoming and engaging environment possible for our stakeholders.” Second, the focus of this year’s annual meeting is "Information for a Sustainable World: Addressing Society’s Grand Challenges,” which provides an opportunity to learn and acknowledge the research and other work our community is doing to advance the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). SDG 16 promotes peace, justice and strong institutions. President Clara M. Chu and her advisory group, Kendra Albright, Jia Tina Du and Bharat Mehra, have additionally been working on information actions devoted to information for sustainability and understanding society’s grand challenges. Third, there will be an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) series at the annual meeting, planned by Nicole Cooke and Joe Sanchez, Co-Chairs of the EDI series. Fourth, the Diversity and Inclusion Task Force, co-chaired by Ana Ndumu and Hamid Jamali, is evaluating the progress on the recommendations of the “Diversity and Inclusion in ASIS&T: A Report and Recommendations from AM16 Luncheon Discussion”. Their report will be submitted to the Board by September and they will host an ASIS&T Hour on August 12, 6pm ET. Fifth, EDI is a value in the draft strategic plan, developed by the Strategic Planning Task Force, chaired by President-Elect Brian Detlor.

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we also acknowledge the health disparities impacting marginalized communities globally. This social injustice is killing Black communities such as African-Americans at a higher rate than other races. As expressed through the worldwide Black Lives Matters protests and rallies, racism is a global problem that touches all of the regions to which ASIS&T members belong. We encourage everyone to stay safe, and look out for each other’s well-being. COVID-19 is a silent killer, but we don’t need to be silent about racism and other forms of visible injustice. Let’s begin virtual conversations and collaborations to understand and tackle these issues, and change our culture.

Adopted June 4, 2020