June 10, 2020 | A Day to #ShutDownSTEM

Dear faculty and staff, 

I write this to share my perspective as a person of color and a professional.  My opinion was solicited, and I share these sentiments with the utmost respect.  

By now you may be aware of the #ShutDownSTEM initiative, in response to the most recent murders of Black men and women in the U.S. Many of you may be thinking that GMS’s participation in the STEM shutdown event is not something within the realm of possibility because of the potential inconvenience it may pose.  As a person of color, I can tell you that I don’t have such privilege.  I stand firmly with the Black community to say that Black Lives Matter, and it saddens me to know that the reason I have to say it is because some find it an inconvenience to recognize this simple fact.  It is not up for debate or rationalization. I matter.  So, I don’t have a choice but to keep fighting for this truth to be realized by all.  

As faculty, I believe we have a responsibility to our students to make a clear statement of solidarity.  We put forth statements of diversity, equity, and inclusion that state that we believe in creating a welcoming environment for all.  I think it is imperative that we demonstrate these are more than words.  This is a call to scientists and those in academia to stand by their words of inclusivity.  This is an opportunity to transition the spoken narrative from the conditional (“I would like to”) to the actionable (“I am doing something about the injustice”).

I encourage us to look at the shutdown from the vantage point of opportunity rather than inconvenience.  Our colleagues at MIT are a bold example of solidarity. On March 11th, we were all told to stop business as we knew it and transition to a completely remote learning platform.  Had we the privilege of debating our response as an institution, the suggestion to go remote would have probably seemed unfathomable, but we did it.  We educated ourselves and came together for support. What I learned from this spring is that together we can do more than we ever thought could be possible for the good of the community.  I think we’re being asked something quite similar, in my opinion.  


Fadie Coleman, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Medical Sciences & Education
Director, Biomedical Laboratory & Clinical Sciences Program
Pronouns: She/her/hers

BU Profile: https://www.bumc.bu.edu/busm/profile/fadie-coleman/
Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion: https://www.bumc.bu.edu/gms/dei/leadership/
BU-PREP: https://www.bumc.bu.edu/gms/dei/undergraduate-summer-and-youth-programs/bu-prep/
NSF INCLUDES DDLP: Broadening Experience in Scientific Training – Beginning Enhancement Track (BEST BET)