Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Black in Entomology Week This Week!

This blogger apologizes for being late in promoting Black in Entomology Week, February 22-26. The event is most heavily publicized on Twitter under various hashtags, with the goals of fostering community for Black entomologists, creating funding opportunities, and simply sharing passion for the subject and inspiration for each other. This is a long overdue celebration, and I intend to continue highlighting Black entomologists throughout the year via guest posts, and spotlighting historical figures in the field.

Black in Entomology is not confined to the professional scientific community, by the way. According to the Black in Ento website, students of entomology, amateurs, and hobbyists are also invited to answer the #rollcall of #BlackInEnto.

Much of the focus this week is on changing institutional structure that has failed to adequately recruit, mentor, train, and retain Black students and researchers in entomology. This includes #intersectionality that recognizes additional identities such as non-binary individuals, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and the disabled. There should be a place for all, and all should be equally welcomed and accommodated fully.

Panel discussions are being held, and archived in some cases, to address issues specific to the Black experience in entomology, and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) in general.

There is also a need to promote Black entomologists to positions of leadership. Universities, corporations, foundations, and other formal entities need to participate in this endeavor. Inclusiveness does not mean merely inviting traditionally disenfranchised demographic groups to “the table,” but to elect or appoint them to roles where they direct and guide the course of the organization.

Black in Entomology Week is sponsored in part by the Entomological Society of America, Societas Entomologica Canadensis, BASF, and Corteva. Various individuals and organizations have also stepped forward to offer prizes and scholarships, with donations accrued via GoFundMe.

It is highly encouraging to finally see a commitment to redeeming the colonial, discriminatory history of entomology and begin to embrace a future with equality, justice, and diversity as overriding priorities. This is going to take more than one week of recognition, of course. Please give generously of your time, experience, and finances to keep the momentum going. Thank you.

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