By Pamela Templer and Anjali Boyd
“If you don’t have diverse representation in positions of power and authority to make change, how can you expect real change?”
Participant, ESA Listening Session on DEIJ Action Steps Oct. 7, 2020
It’s time to act! The Task Force on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice (DEIJ) formed by the Ecological Society of America (ESA) Governing Board last month hosted a listening session Oct. 7, 2020 to receive feedback from the ESA community. Moderated by Pamela Templer, chair of the DEIJ Task Force and Anjali Boyd, member of the Task Force, 84 participants joined in this online forum to identify barriers to participation in ESA and ideas for solutions and actions to make change.
The recent events around our country have galvanized protests against ongoing racism in the U.S. ESA is not immune. As a professional society, we must conduct a critical self-reflection so that we can do more to increase the diversity of our members, programs, and leadership.
The priority of the Task Force is to the address barriers that Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) face to full participation in the Society and we are charged to bring the first set of recommendations to the ESA Governing Board at its November meeting.
The Listening Session underscored key areas for attention:
- Increase visibility of opportunities to new members, especially students
- Consider the role of members and their institutions in supporting BIPOC at ESA events
- Develop relationships with minority serving organizations and institutions to develop student career pathways early
- Remove multiple barriers to increasing representation of BIPOC, such as clarifying ESA Section dues, expanding funding for travel to meetings and support to counteract the sense of isolation
- Extend this conversation across ESA so BIPOC science and perspectives are part of ESA programs
These recommendations are just some of the discussion highlights. We know many of you were not able to join the Listening Session. We strongly encourage you to have your voices heard by completing this form, regardless of whether you participated in the Listening Session to ensure that your ideas are considered in time for the Governing Board meeting, please submit your feedback by October 19, 2020.
Your comments, as well as the results of the DEIJ self-audits being requested of ESA’s committees, sections, and chapters, will give us the critical information we need to bring a set of recommendations to the ESA Governing Board and lay out metrics for accountability.
The work of the DEIJ Task Force is expected to expand to include other groups traditionally underrepresented in ESA following the November Governing Board meeting.
We thank ESA Staff member Teresa Mourad, director of education and diversity, for her support throughout this process.
Questions? Please contact
Pamela Templer, Chair, DEIJ Task Force