June 3, 2020
The SMCM Physics Community wholly condemns systematic racism, racial inequality, and the resulting violence targeting Black people and other people of color. Excellence in society, and in physics, requires racial justice. A diverse and inclusive physics community is inseparable from a racially just society.
The ongoing racial injustice is thrown into sharp relief by the tragic killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and too many others, as well as the reminders of the danger of being Black in public and private spaces, and the highly unequal racial toll of COVID-19. We are especially concerned for our students who are Black or other people of color, who face the danger and pain of systemic racism and racial violence.
One of our departmental goals is for each person to be able to be fully themselves in physics spaces, and not have to represent a group of people. Each individual will react differently; only you can assess your own feelings and reactions to these events. Similarly, only you can make the decision of what actions you take, as you balance the needs for justice, well-being, and safety. Based on our interactions with you in class, we know that you are each making thoughtful decisions about how to respond.
We are here to support you as you process and respond to these events. Please know the faculty and staff of the SMCM physics department are all here: to listen if you would like to talk, to hear any feedback or requests, and to share ideas back and forth about how we are each responding. You are each valuable members of the St. Mary’s physics community; your voice is important and appreciated.
Erin De Pree, chair