Statement on Racism and Violence Against Black People

AAPT reaffirms its commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and condemns the recent and historical violence against Black people in the US at the hands of the police and self proclaimed vigilantes - violence that resulted in the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and too many others to name. Further, we stand in solidarity with Black communities who experience daily injustice and systemic racism, perpetuating widespread inequalities from healthcare to education. The result of these injustices not only impacts individuals but continues through generational trauma.

As a professional association, we are particularly concerned for our Black members who have been marginalized in the physics and physics education communities while navigating systems of racism in their daily lives.

As we witness the protests around the world, we acknowledge that people are hurting, angry, and tired.  These recent events also implore us to pause and reflect on the challenges that Black members of the physics community, including students and teachers, face in our classrooms and laboratories. As such, we recommit to working to minimize the effects of racism, inequality, and injustice within our organization and within the physics community.

We will: 

  • listen to those most marginalized among our physics community, specifically our Black members who are in pain at this time,
  • call out injustice when we see it,
  • provide resources to support our community in this work,
  • facilitate the work of the AAPT Committee on Diversity in Physics to amplify the voices of our Black members, ensuring equitable opportunities for participation at all levels and in all aspects of our professional community,
  • and actively do our part to work against systemic racism and oppression, including educating ourselves to better understand and respond to longstanding racial injustices.

For those interested in learning how to support African American students in physics and astronomy, consider reading the TEAM-UP report (https://www.aip.org/diversity-initiatives/team-up-task-force). This is the culmination of the National Task Force to Elevate African American Representation in Undergraduate Physics & Astronomy (TEAM-UP). Educating oneself is an important step but only one step in supporting African American students in physics. Recommendations need to be implemented.

Now, more than ever, it is important that AAPT leaders and members commit to holding ourselves accountable for pursuing these goals. AAPT joins other organizations in reaffirming that Black Lives Matter. We call upon our membership to act to end racism against Black people in their classrooms, institutions, and communities.

Chandralekha Singh, President
Jan Mader, President-Elect
Toni Sauncy, Vice President
Mel S. Sabella, Past President
Beth A. Cunningham, Executive Officer

Written in consultation with Arlene Modeste Knowles and Alexis Knaub (Chair and Vice Chair of the AAPT Committee on Diversity in Physics)