In Ohio State University’s Department of Neuroscience, we’ve worked hard to build a creative and collaborative research culture, and also a culture that is welcoming to all regardless of their race, religion, gender identification or whom they love. However, the recent heart-wrenching death of yet another African American man at the hands of people who should be protecting lives, has brought the issue of race glaringly to the forefront for all of us. George Floyd’s death, sadly, is not an isolated incident and has served to shine a spotlight on the inherent racism running throughout our society. As scientists, reducing human suffering is in our DNA. We typically work toward that goal in the safety of our labs, surrounded by other well-intentioned people with the same strong desire. However, we recognize that we need to look outside our labs and actively address the suffering affecting so many in our society. We also understand that in this moment, saying nothing is tantamount to acceptance of the status quo, and we are ready to state clearly that we will not be silent.
Therefore, we pledge to review the policies and practices, within our department and its associated training programs, so that we create environments that are welcoming to all, especially to marginalized groups. We will work harder to reach out to underrepresented communities because science is at its strongest when diverse ideas are brought to bear on a problem. We are actively discussing tangible ways to promote diversity and inclusion in our laboratories, department and in science overall. We know there is a long way to go, but we are committed to taking steps forward in the right direction.