From David Page: A letter to the Whitehead Institute community

June 9, 2020

Tags: Awards + Announcements

The following letter was sent by Whitehead Institute Director David Page on June 8, 2020.

Dear fellow members of the Whitehead Institute community:

The tragic events of the past few weeks are only the most recent examples of our nation’s 400-year history of racial inequalities.  Whitehead Institute condemns the violent assaults and episodes of explicit bigotry and brutality.  We add our voice to all of those who are denouncing the hatred and racism that underlie these events, and we call upon all of us, our scientific colleagues, and the institutions in which we work to challenge prevailing attitudes and institutional biases.  

As scientists, this should be a time for self-reflection as we hear the troubling statistics about the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on communities of color.  We must challenge ourselves to address how our scientific research institutions can help address the clear racial divide.  We must also challenge ourselves to have the difficult conversations about race and gender issues within our profession, our laboratories, and our Institute.  While this has been a conversation that we have had from time to time, we have not sustained that effort, and our leadership ranks continue to be predominantly white and male.

Let us turn the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and others into an on-going challenge to begin the hard conversations and to take the first steps toward real, positive change.  Let us join together in this cause.


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through its faculty, who hold joint MIT appointments.

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