GSA Connects 2021 in Portland, Oregon

Paper No. 243-7
Presentation Time: 3:35 PM


DURAN, Gabriel1, SCOTT PRICE, Onjalé2, ADERHOLD, Kasey3, COHEN, Phoebe4, WRIGHT, Vashan5, BURTON, Carlene5 and MADSEN, Stephanie6, (1)405 Rue Sainte-Catherine Est, Montreal, QC H2L 2C4, Canada, (2)Mizar Imaging, Woods Hole, MA 02543, (3)Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology, 1200 New York Ave NW, Washington, DC 20005, (4)Department of Geosciences, Williams College, Williamstown, MA 01267, (5)Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92037, (6)Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, MA 02543

Geoscience remains the least diverse STEM discipline despite the many efforts to improve belonging, accessibility, justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (BeAJEDI). Black, Indigenous and other People of Color (BIPOC) geoscientists continue to experience hostile and racist climates within their work environments. With recent calls to action and heightened awareness to address racism within the geosciences, programming and policies continue to be renewed and implemented within organizations. These may fall short of achieving a crucial and necessary shift in the geoscience culture to one that is actively anti-racist.

To maximize the benefits of these programs while limiting their drawbacks, we designed Unlearning Racism in Geoscience (URGE) as a grassroots journal-reading and policy-design program that aims to provide geoscientists with the tools necessary to unlearn racism and improve BeAJEDI within our discipline. From January to May 2021 (Stage 1), URGE invited labs, departments, institutions, government agencies, societies, and organizations to form ‘pods’ to function as their working group through eight two-week sessions where participants read scholarly journal articles, heard from experts, and developed anti-racist policies and resources for their organizations.

In designing the curriculum for Stage 1 of URGE, leaders incorporated social science research on effective anti-racist education developed tools to help pods in creating their own policies and resources, and focused BIPOC voices in the work being conducted across all URGE pods. Since its inception, URGE has rallied together close to 4500 geoscientists across 300 pods who committed their time and energy to improve BeAJEDI within geoscience amidst a pandemic. Looking forward, URGE leaders aim to begin working closely with pods in further developing their policies and disseminating lessons learned from URGE. In this presentation, URGE leaders will discuss what inspired the program, how its structure was formulated, and how URGE developed into a nationally recognized anti-racist curriculum for geoscience.