The ACS Committee on Minority Affairs (CMA) continues to work towards dynamic ACS national meeting programming and advocating for under-represented chemical scientists within ACS and the chemical enterprise at large. To that end, we are happy to invite your attention to our fall programming efforts:
- Tues., Aug. 27th (Hilton Bayfront), CMA is co-sponsoring a symposium with the Computers in Chemistry (COMP) technical division entitled “Elucidating Reaction Mechanisms with Computational and Experimental Chemistry”
- Sun., Aug. 25th & Tues., Aug. 27th (Convention Center), CMA is co-sponsoring a symposium with the Environmental Chemistry (ENVR) technical division entitled “Water, Health, and Environmental Justice in Marginalized Communities”.
We also invite you to hear our luncheon speaker on Monday, August 26th. Dr. Luisa Whittaker-Brooks is an Assistant Professor in inorganic/materials chemistry at the University of Utah. She has won several awards for her work including the L’Oreal USA for Women in Science Postdoctoral Fellowship, MRS Gold Award, and the Fulbright Fellowship. Her research addresses important challenges related to the understanding of the relationships among the composition, structure, electronic structure, and properties of inorganic and organic nanomaterials, as well as their composites. Her work encompasses three different directions in the areas of materials chemistry and nanotechnology: synthetic inorganic-organic chemistry, spectroscopy, and nanofabrication of functional devices. Her talk will surround her research on two of the greatest challenges of our time: energy beyond fossil fuel and environment and low cost electronics for daily use applications.
CMA is also embracing the “train a trainer model” where we will continue our educational efforts to advance the ACS core value of “diversity and inclusion”. As such, we will be able to provide society wide support to implement best practices aligned with the ACS goals towards member education, empowerment, support, and communication. We to take this opportunity to expose the membership to 2 terms that our fall workshop will highlight: equality and equity.
- Equality, is a complex term as we often use it in a scientific or mathematical frame of reference as practioners in our respective sectors of the chemistry enterprise. However, in more broad terms, it has political, economic, and social implications. When we use the term, it suggests that we are comparing identical entities with respect to some stated attributes. But when we consider our various backgrounds and experiences, we all have developed very specific biological, emotional, scientific, and historical attributes that cause us to never to be equal to one another in all attributes.
- Equity is a term that gives a better platform for discussing the remedy to those inequalities of experience. Historical biases have plagued our communities, causing unequal ethnic and gender representation in many levels of education and science. While we highlight chemists like Percy Julian, Rosalind Franklin, Marie Daley, and St. Elmo Brady; we diminish their accomplishments if it isn’t done so within the context of the educational and occupational inequities they experienced. Many of these inequities still persist and are currently experienced by our fellow members. Therefore, CMA continues to seek partnerships to remedy the barriers to diverse representation in societal programming and education efforts. However, inequalities are not just resigned to race/ethnicity and gender. CMA also reminds the society, both nationally and locally, of its responsibility to pro-actively remove the hurdles that could make our conferences, meetings, and activities an un-equal experience for our members with disabilities. We highly encourage you to refer to “A Guide to Planning Accessible Meetings” (https://www.adahospitality.org/accessible-meetings-events-conferences-guide/book) as a strategic part of your future pro-active planning for equitable environments. As a general practice, we encourage conversations with persons that have those specific unequal experiences to find equitable solutions that best fit their needs
As we prepare for the National Meeting in San Diego, CMA has been troubled by the backlash that has arisen from our general membership towards strategic moves from the various affinity committees to create a more equitable, inclusive, and welcoming environment. The rhetoric and discord being displayed on the U.S. national platforms has also been experienced within our ranks. From that concern, we urge the society to quickly update the core values to include RESPECT. Respect must be the prevailing value that provides the framework to carrying out our mission and vision. As ACS takes the lead with this stance, it will empower our membership to do so in the chemistry enterprise at large.
We encourage everyone to be involved in the solutions discussion on Facebook (ACS.CMA), twitter (@chemdiversity), or our webpage blog (www.chemdiversity.org). See you in San Diego!
Ann Kimble-Hill, Ph.D.
Chair, Committee on Minority Affairs