CAP Press Release – Hundreds of physicists across Canada gather virtually to address anti-Black racism

— official pdf version of release can be seen by clicking here


June 10, 2020

(Ottawa, On) –  On June 10, almost 500 physics students, staff, researchers and faculty members from all across Canada participated in an online session to identify and implement concrete actions to combat anti-Black racism in the physics community.  The session was organized by the Canadian Association of Physicists (CAP), the national organization representing physicists in Canada.

In support of the academic Strike for Black Lives organized by physicists and others in the US, the CAP shut down its regular activities today and instead hosted the online gathering to address racism. The session was organized by non-Black members of the CAP’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Committee to take collective responsibility to act for change and to give Black scientists a chance to rest.

The discussion included a presentation by CAP President and EDI Committee Chair, Dr. Shohini Ghose, about the shockingly low proportion of Black physicists in Canada. Currently there are no Black women physics professors in Canada.

Dr. Eden Hennessey, a social psychologist who researches bias in science, discussed a 2020 report released by the American Institute of Physics on systemic changes to increase the number of African American physics graduates.

This was followed by a Q&A and conversation on what actions can be taken in Canada to address systemic barriers.

While the EDI committee advised every participant to commit to taking at least one anti-racism action, many participants also stepped up to support proposed national initiatives such as scholarships and improved data collection and surveys in all departments in Canada.

CAP President and Chair of the CAP EDI Committee remarked, “I was encouraged by today’s participation from the Canadian community. Our call to action to stand against anti-black racism was met with enthusiasm, ideas and actions. The CAP will work to sustain this momentum and implement concrete actions in the Canadian physics community to improve the experience for Black students and researchers”.

We are heartened by the huge interest and support of the physics community to fight racism. The CAP is committed to eliminating anti-Black racism in our community and will keep supporting our members in reaching this goal.

Physics should be for everyone.

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To arrange an interview with Dr. Ghose, please contact:

Mrs. Francine Ford
Canadian Association of Physicists
C:  (613) 739-8963

About the CAP:

The Canadian Association of Physicists has been the voice of physics in Canada since 1945.  We are a broad-based national network of physicists working in educational, industrial, and research settings.  We are an organization committed to equity, diversity and inclusion in physics. We are a strong and effective advocacy group to government, granting agencies, and many international scientific societies. We are an enthusiastic sponsor of events and activities promoting Canadian physics and physicists, including the CAP’s annual congress and national physics journal. We are proud to offer and continually enhance our web site as a key resource for individuals pursuing careers in physics and physics education.

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