Risk & Disaster TIG Statement on Race

June 18th 2020

We are saddened by the losses of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery, Philando Castile, Sandra Bland, Freddie Gray, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, and so many others. It is critical to state plainly: Black Lives Matter. As anthropologists and disaster scholars we know that not only are Black, Brown, and Indigenous lives disproportionately affected by police violence, but also by larger systemic problems and disasters, including the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

We assert that such efforts cannot be limited to only the context of the United States, but instead must work within that context and outside of it, including in many other areas where Black, Brown, and Indigenous people face discrimination, risk, and police violence. We also put forward that these efforts must be intersectional and include women, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and people with disabilities. 

We also know that academic work in general, anthropology, and even our own organization have not met the high level of diversity and inclusion that our TIG seeks and have even maintained exclusionary practices that have hurt students and scholars. To that end, this statement is merely a starting point. We will work with our TIG and form a plan of action to implement in the coming days, weeks, months, and years, to work towards goals of active anti-racism and of inclusive and cooperative mentorship, teaching, research, writing, recruitment, citation, and work more with BIPOC students, scholars, and practitioners The Risk and Disaster Topical Interest Group stands in opposition to systemic racism and its effects on people. As such we commit to not only value their lives, but also to develop a plan of action and concrete measures to: 

  • mentor and support more diverse student work,

  • share and develop tools to deconstruct internalized racism and enhance anti-racist skills, with the knowledge that being anthropologists does not automatically make us allies or non/anti-racist people,

  • actively work to recruit, retain, and collaborate with diverse students, scholars, and practitioners in our initiatives and leadership,

  • develop radically inclusive strategies for promoting equality and diverse voices in panels, dialogs, committees, and publications,

  • practice proactive allyship with students and colleagues, 

  • listen to, read, cite, and teach diverse students, scholars, and practitioners, 

  • protest, highlight, and work to dismantle structural violence and systemic racism, 

  • speak up and speak out against inequality, and

  • work with our partners in academia and the public, private, and nonprofit sectors to support the training and work of diverse students, scholars, and practitioners.

We hope that you will join us in fully engaging in applied anthropology inside and outside of disaster contexts to support these efforts. 

We are underway with efforts to realize these steps and to continue planning efforts and realizing additional actions towards these ends. If you are interested in joining in, please contact Noémie Gonzalez Bautista noemie.gonzalez@gmail.com or Jennifer Trivedi jennifer.marie.trivedi@gmail.com

©Society for Applied Anthropology 

P.O. Box 2436 • Oklahoma City, OK 73101 • 405.843.5113 • info@appliedanthro.org