We became neuroscientists to improve human health through fundamental scientific discovery. We therefore place a high value on quality of life for all, and are deeply saddened by racial disparities and other inequities that have persisted in our society and within our academic institutions. We firmly believe that diversity engenders excellence in training, education and scientific discovery. As a department, we pledge to move the needle forward, beginning with actionable change to facilitate a sustained shift in mindset and culture around race, gender and discrimination. We are aware that as faculty in one of the largest academic health centers in the country, we are in a position of privilege and bear a responsibility to confront bigotry and prejudice authentically. As long as inequity and injustice persist, we commit to consciously working against it.
To that end, we pledge to operate by the following guiding principles:
- We commit to transparency of our previous efforts, our current gaps and our plans to rectify these existing problems in serving our under-represented, underserved, and/or under-resourced scientific colleagues, students, staff and community.
- We believe that inclusiveness requires awareness and self-education. Creating a sense of belonging for all requires a willingness to engage in open dialogue, to recognize and improve upon our own biases, and a conscious decision to prioritize actions that counteract racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination.
- Inaction is not an option. When confronted with institutional- or personally-mediated racism and bias, we pledge to speak up. We further pledge to use our own leverage and influence to advocate for institutional change needed to achieve a truly inclusive environment.
- We believe that addressing existing inequities is not a problem for those who have been marginalized to solve. We believe it is our collective responsibility to confront and address institutional racism, unconscious bias, and to advocate for change. We appreciate that the “minority tax” is real and we pledge to recognize the extra service of our colleagues from underrepresented groups. We further pledge to assume personal responsibility for addressing racial and other disparities in our field.