We at the UC Santa Cruz Genomics Institute are working with urgency to reduce human suffering using science. We believe that the knowledge we gain through the scientific enterprise should be used to advance a more equitable and just society. At this moment, one way we can do that is by speaking out for those who have been silenced.
As scientists and as humans, we believe that racism is a purely ideological construct with absolutely no justifiable foundation. Unfortunately, throughout history, first genetics and then genomics have been entangled in racist views; scholars have responded with noble efforts to delineate science and society in order to disentangle science from racism. Ultimately, scientists and science are formed by social worlds still strongly shaped by racist ideas and practices; fighting these forces requires constant attention and support. We at the UC Santa Cruz Genomics Institute believe this attention should be part of what it means to do science.
Albert Einstein is the man known for unleashing the power of the atom, but his friendships with Paul Robeson and W.E.B. DuBois may be less familiar. Einstein’s biographers rarely mention his visit to Lincoln University and his fervent anti-racism.
We at the UC Santa Cruz Genomics Institute would like to carry on Einstein’s legacy in speaking out against the injustice of racism by using science to demonstrate the veracity and shared worthiness of our common identity. We are equally committed to working for equality by attending to the social dimensions of our work. Our collaboration with the Science & Justice Research Center at UC Santa Cruz is one example of our commitment to addressing this entanglement.
The Genomics Institute’s belief in equality goes beyond the current political climate; yet we want to make our position in response to the terrorist act in Charlottesville clear: We condemn and deplore it. We hope that other organizations will join us in remembering the life of Heather Heyer by issuing similar statements.
UC Santa Cruz Genomics Institute
David Haussler, Scientific Director