Expression on Solidarity with the Ecological Society of America (ESA)
As some of you may have already received in person, the Ecological Society of America (ESA) has expressed its solidarity with the protests against the racist violence of police officers (Reference 1).
As new coronaviruses spread internationally and Stay Home has become a worldwide watchword, I think we have always felt that although we are far apart, we are still connected, and although we cannot see each other in person, we do not lose our relationship.
I myself am hesitant to allow an academic society to make such a political statement. It is also a domestic issue for the United States of America, so it's not familiar with or involved in enough individual circumstances to make its own statement.
However, after consultation with the Executive Committee, including Vice President Tadashi Miyashita, we decided that the Ecological Society of Japan (ESJ) should clearly state that it shares the value of "fairness and equality" with the ESA on the issue of racism. Also, since it means "the sooner, the better", I thought about sending a letter of support for the ESA's statement rather than the ESJ's own statement, and I got the support of the board members.
For these reasons, I am pleased to report that I have sent a letter (Reference 2) to ESA President Osvaldo Sala as an email attachment at 5:00 p.m. on June 4.
(I would add that I received an immediate email from Osvaldo Sala, to express their gratitude at 2:00 a.m. on the 5th, Japan time).
June 5th, 2020
President, Ecological Society of Japan (ESJ)
Reference 1 (ESA Letter to the Community)
Dear ecological community,
We reach out to you today in sadness and solidarity. Recent acts of violence against the Black community as seen in the horrific killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, have sparked protests across the United States. They underscore the long history of racism and discrimination in our country. Racism and prejudice continue to harm scientists, future scientists, and the communities they serve. We echo the message of these protests: Black lives matter.
Ecology, like other scientific disciplines, is and has been dominated by white faces and voices. Ecologists can and must do more to fight structural and societal injustices. We all must stand up and speak out when we see racial injustice and how it impacts our colleagues. Black ecologists are subjected to racial bias while working at field sites, at meetings, in labs and classrooms, and in life: Our students and our colleagues have been stopped and questioned about their right to be on public lands while doing research or in other public spaces based on their skin color alone. This must stop.
As a professional society, ESA commits to redoubling our efforts to challenge and break down inequities as we advance the science and practice of ecology. This will not be the last you hear from us – this is an ongoing, long-term commitment and we will be updating our community on our efforts.
Immediate Past President
Reference 2 (ESJ Stands in Solidarity) PDF
Dear President Sala:
We have been following the news about the recent incidents of grave racial injustice in the United States. The Ecological Society of Japan stands in solidarity with your community in denouncing violations of human rights instigated by prejudices, wherever they occur in the world.
We recognize that structural injustice harms every community in the society, including the community of our profession. As ecologists, we strive to make the world a better place for humanity and nature, and respect for human rights across cultures and borders is fundamental to that goal. We wish to continue to work with our international colleagues in confronting discrimination and achieving a more just world.
President, Ecological Society of Japan
President-Elect, Ecological Society of Japan
June 3rd, 2020
President of the Ecological Society of Japan