Dear SICB Community,
The insurrection in Washington, DC on January 6th has been deeply unsettling and disturbing to many SICB members. We acknowledge the impact of the violent and seditious acts perpetrated by a group of destructive individuals on our democracy, but also recognize the value of continuing our scientific gathering. We support the continuation of SICB’s planned events, while also committing to creating spaces for our members to respond to the broader national crisis.
SICB recognizes that the events that have unfolded in Washington DC, including the woefully inadequate response of law enforcement agencies, are acts of white supremacy, a problem pervasive in institutions across the United States. SICB leadership condemns these acts unequivocally.
SICB also acknowledges that the impact of these events does not fall equally on all of our members. We are cognizant that Black, Indigenous, Latinx and other people of color and members of other minoritized groups may experience a greater mental and emotional burden during these unprecedented times. We encourage all members to be especially kind to themselves and to each other in the next few days, and moving forward.
SICB is responding to this crisis in two key ways. First, we added flexibility to the meeting schedule by immediately reaching out to symposium organizers and speakers for Wednesday and Thursday symposia to offer the option to suspend and reschedule, or continue. All six symposia have elected to continue with their planned events. We support everyone’s individual decision to participate in SICB today or not, including our individual symposium speakers who may not be able to participate in live Q&A. Additional opportunities for Q&A will be made available in the coming days for any live interactions that were affected this week.
Second, we have created spaces for SICB 2021 attendees to discuss and respond to current events. These spaces include a series of new, open meetings with SICB leadership, and adjustments to our already-scheduled, society-wide member meeting. One of the open meetings was held on Wednesday evening, and SICB attendees are welcome to review and participate in the ongoing chat from the January 6 event on the event’s Pathable page. Two additional open meetings and the member meeting will take place today, January 7th. These events, found on Pathable under ‘Special Events’, can be accessed with following the links:
Open Meeting: 9:30-10:00 AM EST
Society-Wide Member Meeting: 12:00-1:00 PM EST
Open Meeting: 3:30-4:00 PM EST
Conversations about allyship and white supremacy are already occurring within the conference. As a resource for enriching these conversations, SICB urges all SICB 2021 participants to attend a special screening of Kendall Moore’s film ‘Can We Talk 2: “White Allies” at 1 PM EST today. Please note that this event will not be recorded, and is only available live today.
Based on these conversations so far, we have felt encouraged to continue with the conference. Science can be a positive force in the world, and we want to carry on with the exciting scientific interactions and connections that are happening at SICB 2021. We will also continue to keep the lines of dialogue open between SICB members and SICB leadership. Please look for additional opportunities to speak to SICB leadership and interact with other SICB members to be offered through the meeting platform (Pathable). Notifications will be sent via email, Pathable notifications, and the SICB Twitter account.
SICB leadership wants all of you, our friends, colleagues and co-members, to know that you are supported as you work to disseminate valuable work in the midst of distressing events. We also want you to know that you, as an individual, are more valuable than your work. SICB encourages meeting attendees and all SICB members to take the practices they need to process these unprecedented events and maintain their mental and physical well-being. We developed the digital conference to allow members to engage with SICB’s content when they have sufficient time and mental bandwidth to do so. All SICB presentations, most workshops and meetings will be available on-demand through the Pathable platform until February 28th, 2021. Please take a break when you need one, and come back to the meeting when you are ready and able.
SICB leadership will continue to monitor the situation and work to support SICB members affected by this ongoing crisis. Again, notifications about town hall discussions and other special events with SICB leadership will be sent via email, Pathable notifications, and the SICB Twitter account. We are also including our names and SICB addresses below. Please contact any of us with your ideas, thoughts, concerns or suggestions.
Sincerely, SICB Leadership:
Beth Brainerd, President, firstname.lastname@example.org
Melina Hale, President-Elect, email@example.com
Patricia Hernandez, Incoming President-Elect (no SICB address yet)
Jake Socha, Program Officer, firstname.lastname@example.org
Thomas Sanger, Program Officer-Elect, email@example.com
Molly Jacobs, Communications Editor, firstname.lastname@example.org
Alice Gibb, Secretary, email@example.com
Michele Johnson, Secretary-Elect, firstname.lastname@example.org
Shaz Zamore, Public Affairs Committee Chair, email@example.com
Brett Burk, Executive Director, firstname.lastname@example.org