ACS Statement on the Killing of George Floyd

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Video Transcript

The following is a transcript from the video message delivered by ACS President Luis Echegoyen on June 4, 2020.

Hello, my name is Luis Echegoyen and I am the President of the American Chemical Society. I am speaking with you today during very sad days for the US and the World. The horrific killing of George Floyd has shed additional light on hundreds of years of racism and injustice occurring in our country.

As President of the American Chemical Society, I want to be clear that we stand in solidarity with our Black and Brown members, staff and communities during these times. We recognize the issues of systemic racism that have plagued our society as a whole and even within our own scientific organization.

ACS deplores the abuse of power that resulted in the killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor. We mourn their deaths and those of countless other Black and Brown Americans who have been victims of abuses of power and authority.

We condemn racism, discrimination, and harassment, in any form or manifestation. These behaviors rob our fellow citizens of the opportunity to reach their full potential, of their place in society, and sometimes, of their lives.

ACS is dedicated to supporting, promoting and ensuring diverse, inclusive and respectful chemistry learning environments and workplaces. It is, in fact, a core value of the Society.

ACS will use its platform as one of the world’s largest professional scientific organizations to lend a voice to those who are voiceless, and speak truth to power. We will continue to speak out to condemn injustice, racism, bigotry, discrimination, intolerance and harassment.

In the wake of this most recent horrific tragedy, ACS renews its commitment to its core value of Diversity, Inclusion and Respect. We recognize that some progress has been made thus far, but issues of systemic racism continue despite that progress. We commit to continuously evaluate our policies and practices to actively remove systemic barriers to participation by all in the ACS community.

Diverse chemistry learners and professionals continue to experience rejection, isolation, aggression, and harassment by their peers leaving them disillusioned and their work undervalued.  We commit to finding new ways to use our influence and resources to bring about needed change and diversity in the STEM community and beyond to bring about greater opportunities and advancement for African Americans, as well as for Latinos, Native Americans and other under-represented populations around the world.

For those of us who are old enough, we remember the riots in the 1960s, and it is very sad to say that as a nation we have not made significant progress in addressing systemic racism. As a Latino, I understand and acknowledge the frustrations, the fear, and the trauma that comes with discrimination and injustice.

We are in this together. Let us renew our commitment to empower all people with the right to live a life of peace, dignity and respect free from discrimination, racism, harassment and intimidation.

Thank you very much.