Science and social justice are inextricably linked. Science provides the foundation for a strong democracy, and is critical to improving and maintaining quality of life. Evidence-based public safeguards are vital to protecting the health, safety, and well-being of communities and individuals.
But the reality is that scientific evidence has been used to justify oppressive behaviors and disenfranchisement of certain groups in our nation. Historically, people have been made targets of unfair practices based on their race, religion, country of origin, gender and sexuality—both systemically and individually. Laws meant to improve lives in America have been improperly enforced or used as weapons against certain groups, leaving them marginalized and fighting for basic freedoms, often with limited resources.
In an effort to bring these social injustices to light, the UCS Science Network has created the “Science for Justice” blog series. The series is intended to engage scientists who are working with and within the most impacted communities and use their scientific expertise to inform issues of social justice, and to amplify the communities and grassroots organizations that scientists work with, while also offering guidance on best practices for respectful, mutually beneficial partnerships. It is important for scientists to recognize the fraught history of social justice in America and to be aware of the space they are entering.
The series will also serve as a platform to offer tips and resources for scientists looking to use their skills to help communities advance their work for just and equitable solutions, from scientists and community members already in this space.
It is critical for our collective health and safety for scientists to realize the power they hold in being able to inform policies which will protect this and future generations’ access to the land, water and air. The “Science for Justice” series intends to teach scientists how to utilize this power—for the people.