Dear SFS Colleagues,
I am thrilled to be able to share our science, reconnect with old friends and colleagues, and develop new collaborations at the Joint Aquatic Sciences Meeting (JASM) in Grand Rapids in nearly one week. With that excitement also comes some anxiety—a large in-person event, concerns regarding the coronavirus, and examples of social injustice that unfortunately continue to be all too common.
In particular, I wanted to recognize the recent tragedy of the killing of Patrick Lyoya that occurred in Grand Rapids, the city that will host our SFS family. This tragedy is not an isolated incident, but perhaps it can be an impetus to reflect on social injustice issues, how these injustices impact our communities, and what role we can all play to help uplift communities where we live and work.
There is no easy solution to complex issues. But, I do believe that we can all contribute to a more equitable world in meaningful ways. In that spirit, I encourage each of you to honor Patrick Lyoya and other social injustices in your own ways. A small opportunity we all have while in Grand Rapids is to financially support minority-owned businesses. The SFS JEDI Task Force has put together a list of businesses within a 7-mile radius of the conference. Because social inequities are strongly aligned with economic inequities, I encourage you to explore minority owned businesses in your own communities as well.
As a society with a durable commitment to justice, equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility, I also invite you to consider ways you can contribute to our efforts by acting on some of the suggestions offered in the JEDI Tool Kit developed by the SFS JEDI Task Force and the Student Resources Committee.
I feel extremely fortunate to be part of a scientific community that has tremendous empathy, kindness, compassion, and drive. These characteristics help make SFS the inclusive scientific society it aspires to be. Thank you for your roles in working towards making the field of freshwater science welcoming to all and the important journey ahead.
Ashley Moerke, SFS President