PAARC Mission Statement

What is PAARC and what do we want?

The Physics and Astronomy Anti-Racism Coalition (PAARC) is a collective of physics and astronomy graduate students, postdocs, and undergraduates dedicated to confronting and dismantling racist and anti-Black structures in academia. We are devoted to building connections and solidarity across universities and their faculty and staff, learning from one another about organizing, and creating and collecting anti-racist resources. We aim to build a physics and astronomy community that is fully committed to the goals of racial and social justice.

Motivation for PAARC

Academia has failed physicists of color. At every academic level, from the undergraduate classroom to the research laboratory, people of color have been relegated to a perpetually marginalized position within the field of physics. This marginalization, which weighs particularly heavily on Black, Indigenous, and Latinx physicists, takes the forms of exclusion, discrimination, underappreciation, and outright harassment. For physicists and astronomers who are further marginalized on account of their other social identities, especially Black women, LBGTQ+ people of color, and people of color with disabilities, these injustices are especially acute.

Importantly, this failure is not merely a consequence of racist attitudes of individual physicists. Rather, marginalization persists because institutions, policies, and practices are structured in such a way that systemic racism and white supremacy are continually reproduced and reaffirmed. Hiring and admissions policies, toxic and exclusive academic environments, campus policing practices, and economic stresses on people of color are all elements of this system. Such structures and policies must be identified, understood, and then dismantled by collective action, guided by the voices of people of color.

These claims are nothing new: Physicists of color have spoken out against these injustices for decades, even as the response of the largely white establishment has remained woefully inadequate to address, or even fully acknowledge, the scale of the problem. However, today, there is a renewed awareness that the present state of affairs can and must be challenged. The murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and countless other Black people at the hands of police have placed the realities of anti-Black racism in sharp relief. Protest movements have erupted worldwide in response to this violence, and it is clear that momentum is building. Taking these movements seriously demands a reckoning with systemic racism in all corners of society; physics is no exception.

The Physics and Astronomy Anti-Racism Coalition (PAARC) is an organization born out of this new awareness and energy. PAARC is a collective of physics and astronomy graduate students, postdocs, and undergraduates dedicated to confronting and dismantling racist and anti-Black structures in academia. White supremacy is a collective problem which demands a collective solution. With this in mind, we are building a network of scientists that can face these struggles together, by sharing knowledge, developing organizing strategies, building community solidarity, and cultivating the seeds of a nascent anti-racist physics and astronomy culture. We call on our physics and astronomy colleagues to join us in this effort.

Long-term goals

Spurred on by this understanding, we envision a world in which:

PAARC priorities

In order to realize the goals mentioned above, the members of PAARC will work to: