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Strike for Black Lives


A note from the authors: We understand that there are members of our communities who are engaged in time-sensitive activities due to COVID-19 and that these are a matter of life and death. We do not see continuing these activities as being in conflict with the spirit of the call below.


It should go without saying that Black lives matter. Yet we find ourselves again mourning and raging over state and vigilante violence against Black people. The recent murders of Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor, Regis Korchinski-Paquet, George Floyd, and Ahmaud Arbery are just a few examples of the violence and racism that Black people live with every day -- and have for centuries -- in the US, Canada, and around the world. We acknowledge the ways in which the effects of anti-Black racism are compounded for people who are also, for example, women, trans, non-binary, queer, Indigenous to the lands occupied by the United States and Canada, Latinx, Muslim, Jewish, disabled, and/or undocumented. We demand justice, reform, and accountability now.

Therefore, as physicists, we believe an academic strike is urgently needed: to hit pause, to give Black academics a break and to give others an opportunity to reflect on their own complicity in anti-Black racism in academia and their local and global communities. This #strike4blacklives is in dialogue with a call from colleagues in astronomy to #shutdownSTEM and #shutdownacademia for at least the day of June 10.

We recognize that our academic institutions and research collaborations -- despite big talk about diversity, equity, and inclusion -- have ultimately failed Black people. Demands for justice have been met with gradualism and tokenism, as well as diversity and inclusion initiatives that -- while sometimes well-intentioned -- have had little meaningful impact on the lived experiences of Black students, staff, researchers, and faculty. Black representation among physics faculty is non-existent at most institutions, and it is widely known that Black students often feel unwelcome, unsupported, and even unsafe in their physics departments and predominantly white campuses.

Anti-Blackness is pervasive throughout academia, and the number of students and faculty in particle physics and other subfields make this very clear. Moreover, anti-Blackness affects all aspects of Black peoples’ lives. To steward a new generation of students, research staff, and faculty in physics means to acknowledge our collective responsibility to combat anti-Blackness, not just on campus, but also in the streets, in governance, and society at large. Ending white supremacy is a matter of urgency, yet far too often, instead of using power to question institutional practices and advocate for Black students, faculty and staff, many senior academics and administrators retreat to the Ivory Tower, disengaging from the pursuit of justice. Again, the fight against white supremacy -- in all of its manifestations -- is an urgent one, and we are clear that justice will not be achieved until Black people not only have the right to survive but also thrive.

We are conscious of the ways in which Black students and scholars, including two authors of this letter to the community, are expected to do the heavy lifting to advocate for and support justice and representation in academia. We know that this burden functions as an unfair and unevenly distributed barrier to their ability to thrive in academia. We call for a universal strike to give them a break and because those of us with the most privilege have the greatest responsibility to use that privilege to enact change. We must confront the institutional barriers to justice for Black people in academia and beyond, challenge the notion of the meritocracy whereby “objective and neutral” criteria infused with systemic racism are used to exclude Black people from physics and other academic disciplines, and rebuild our institutions and collaborations in a way that is just and equitable.

Importantly, we are not calling for more diversity and inclusion talks and seminars. We are not asking people to sit through another training about implicit bias. We are calling for every member of the community to commit to taking actions that will change the material circumstances of how Black lives are lived -- to work toward ending the white supremacy that not only snuffs out Black physicist dreams but destroys whole Black lives. In calling for a strike, we call on people who are not Black to spend a day undertaking discussion and action that furthers this work, while providing Black scientists with a day of rest. Every single institution around the world can and should get involved in this work, and the strike marks an opportunity to recommit to the humanist values which should underpin academic work, including the belief that Black Lives Matter.




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Foregrounding our Black members (in alphabetical order) who developed this idea, and then all other authors (in alphabetical order).

Brian Nord (Fermilab and University of Chicago) (click here for a personal statement)

Chanda Prescod-Weinstein (University of New Hampshire)

Matthew Buckley (Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey)

Kyle Cranmer (New York University)

Djuna Croon (TRIUMF)

Daniel Harlow (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

Seyda Ipek (University of California, Irvine)

Sam McDermott (Fermilab)

Matthew Reece (Harvard University)

Nausheen Shah (Wayne State University)

Brian Shuve (Harvey Mudd College)

Tracy Slatyer (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

Tim M.P. Tait (University of California, Irvine)

Graham White (TRIUMF)

Tien-Tien Yu (University of Oregon)


We are no longer accepting pledges to strike. We still encourage everyone to participate in the strike, while acknowledging that this is only one of many days needed for education, and bold and meaningful action in support of Black lives and Black minds.


Pledged Strike Participants

Final count: 5874 pledged strike participants as of noon EDT, June 10, 2020


Anthony Aguirre (University of California, Santa Cruz)

Sujay K. Ashok (IMSc, Chennai)

Peter Athron (Monash University)

Howard Baer (University of Oklahoma)

Karen Barad (University of California, Santa Cruz)

Gabriela Barenboim (University of Valencia)

Brian Batell (University of Pittsburgh)

Matt Bellis (Siena College)

Bhujyo Bhattacharya (Lawrence Technological University)

Federica Bianco (University of Delaware)

Mary Bishai (DOE National Laboratory)

Kevin Black (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

Matthew Blosser (University of Southern California)

Daniel Bowring (Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory)

Joseph Bramante (Queen’s University)

Robert Brandenberger (McGill University)

Regina Caputo (Astrophysicist)

Sean Carroll (California Institute of Technology)

Chihway Chang (University of Chicago)

Spencer Chang (University of Oregon)

Mu-Chun Chen (University of California, Irvine)

Tim Cohen (University of Oregon)

John Conway (University of California, Davis)

Sean M. Couch (Michigan State University)

Nathaniel Craig (University of California, Santa Barbara)

David Curtin (University of Toronto)

Priscilla Cushman (University of Minnesota)

Mirjam Cvetic (University of Pennsylvania)

Tamara Davis (University of Queensland)

Anne-Christine Davis (Cambridge University)

Frederik Denef (Columbia University)

Carleton DeTar (University of Utah)

Will Detmold (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

Franklin Dollar (University of California, Irvine)

Alex Drlica-Wagner (Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory/University of Chicago)

Cora Dvorkin (Harvard University)

Sonia El Hedri (Laboratoire Leprince Ringuet)

Netta Engelhardt (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

Robin Erbacher (University of California Davis)

Juan Estrada (Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory)

Rouven Essig (Stony Brook University)

Jared A. Evans (University of Cincinnati)

Gus Evrard (University of Michigan)

Bridget Falck (Johns Hopkins University)

Hume Feldman (University of Kansas)

Elizabeth Freeland (The School of the Art Institute of Chicago)

Patrick Fox (Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory)

Katherine Freese (University of Texas, Austin)

Bryan Gaensler (University of Toronto)

Mary K Gaillard (University of California, Berkeley)

Belen Gavela (Madrid, IFT)

Howard Georgi (Harvard University)

Shohini Ghose (Wilfrid Laurier University)

Sowjanya Gollapinni (Los Alamos National Laboratory)

Mustafa Gündoğan (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)

Alan Guth (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

Howard E. Haber (University of California, Santa Cruz)

Daryl Haggard (McGill University)

Jim Halverson (Northeastern University)

Roni Harnik (Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory)

Anna Hasenfratz (University of Colorado)

Beate Heinemann (DESY)

Pilar Hernández (University of Valencia)

Renée Hložek (University of Toronto)

Dan Hooper (Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory)

Eric Huff (Jet Propulsion Laboratory)

Ciaran Hughes (Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory)

Jedidah Isler (Dartmouth College)

Shamit Kachru (Stanford University)

David Kaiser (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

Bradley J. Kavanagh (Instituto de Física de Cantabria, CSIC-Universidad de Cantabria)

Chris Kelso (University of North Florida)

Kay Kirkpatrick (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

Graham Kribs (University of Oregon)

Gordan Krnjaic (Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory)

Alex Kusenko (University of California, Los Angeles and Kavli IPMU)

Alok Laddha (Chennai Mathematical Institute)

Ian Michael Lewis (University of Kansas)

Tongyan Lin (University of California San Diego)

Hugh Lippincott (University of California, Santa Barbara)

Mariangela Lisanti (Princeton University)

Heather Logan (Carleton University)

Elena Long (University of New Hampshire)

Marilena Loverde (Stony Brook University)

Henry Lubatti (University of Washington)

Katie Mack (North Carolina State University)

David J. E. Marsh (University of Goettingen)

David Mattingly (University of New Hampshire)

Art McDonald (Queen's University)

Timothy McKay (University of Michigan)

David McKeen (TRIUMF)

Patrick Meade (Stony Brook University)

Samuel Meehan (University of Washington)

Hitoshi Murayama (University of California, Berkeley and Kavli IPMU)

Simona Murgia (University of California, Irvine)

Meenakshi Narain (Brown University)

Priya Natarajan (Yale University)

Samaya Nissanke (University of Amsterdam)

Hirosi Ooguri (California Institute of Technology and Kavli IPMU)

Sonia Paban (University of Texas at Austin)

Joshua Peek (Space Telescope Science Institute)

Hiranya Peiris (University College London)

Kerstin Perez (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

Annika Peter (The Ohio State University)

Stefano Profumo (University of California, Santa Cruz)

Staurt Raby (The Ohio State University)

Madhusudhan Raman (TIFR, Mumbai)

Steve Ritz (University of California, Santa Cruz and SCIPP)

Vincent Rodgers (University of Iowa)

Rachel A. Rosen (Columbia University)

Leslie Rosenberg (University of Washington)

Carlo Rovelli (Centre de Physique Theorique de Luminy)

Greg Rudnick (University of Kansas)

Ben Safdi (University of Michigan)

Pearl Sandick (University of Utah)

Veronica Sanz (University of Sussex and University of Valencia)

Chad Schafer (Carnegie Mellon)

Katelin Schutz (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

Phiala Shanahan (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

Jessie Shelton (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

Aomawa Shields (University of California, Irvine)

Kuver Sinha (University of Oklahoma)

Marcelle Soares-Santos (Brandeis University)

Kristine Spekkens (Royal Military College of Canada)

Flip Tanedo (University of California, Riverside)

Washington Taylor (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

Jesse Thaler (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

Brooks Thomas (Lafayette College)

Javier Tiffenberg (Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory)

Lauren Tompkins (Stanford University)

David Tucker-Smith (Williams College)

Sarah Tuttle (University of Washington)

Francesca Vidotto (The University of Western Ontario)

Aaron Vincent (Queen’s University)

Tomer Volansky (Tel Aviv University)

Carlos Wagner (University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory)

Lucianne Walkowicz (The Adler Planetarium)

Scott Watson (Syracuse University)

Risa Wechsler (KIPAC, Stanford University and SLAC)

Amanda Weltman (University of Capetown)

Elizabeth Worcester (Brookhaven National Laboratory)

Seth Zenz (Queen Mary University of London)

Yue Zhao (University of Utah)

José Zurita (Karlsruher Institut für Technologie)


The website was originally constructed in order to host a statement concerning systematic sexism within academia. Signatures on that statement do not in any way constitute approval or disapproval of the Strike for Black Lives.