White Coats for Black Justice
Late in the afternoon on Monday, June 15th, a group of Neuroscience faculty and students joined with colleagues from the Division of Biological Sciences and other UM science departments to rally at the Missoula Courthouse to publicly support Black Lives Matter, Indigenous Peoples, and People of Color. The event was inspired by the “White Coats for Black Lives” (WC4BL) movement started by medical students in 2015. As was the UM community, the 30-plus faculty, students, postdocs, and staff participating in the rally were appalled by the brutal suffocation of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police. His death and the deaths of other People of Color, including Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and Rayshard Brooks has awakened the nation to the injustice and systemic racism that lives in our country. In addition to 8 minutes and 46 seconds of silence for George Floyd, Dr. Sarah Certel, who is a professor in the neuroscience program and helped to organize the event, shared thoughts on how important it is that faculty address racism and inequality in our own academic and scientific communities. Certel encouraged all of participants to protest, educate themselves on anti-black racism, work to advance the careers of faculty and scientists who are People of Color, and to take other avenues to support movements to end racism. Certel’s invitation to faculty, students and staff to join the rally concluded with words from Robert Kennedy:
There is another kind of violence, slower but just as deadly, destructive as the shot or the bomb in the night. This is the violence of institutions; indifference and in action and slow decay.