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MSRI Stands with the Black Community

June 7, 2020

We share the horror and sadness expressed by so many at the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and many other Black Americans at the hands of the police. The pattern of these murders including, closer to home, that of Oscar Grant in Oakland on New Year’s Day in 2009, are among the most heart-wrenching effects of the pervasive racism in our society.

MSRI aspires to create a mathematical community free of the racism that excludes so many people of color and disheartens and harms those within our circles. We know we cannot do this alone. We are grateful for the leadership and wisdom of individuals and groups from within the Black community, and the wider communities of people of color, who have helped to shape MSRI’s programs and culture.

MSRI is a place where the math community comes together to advance knowledge in mathematics and to cultivate talent. We endeavor to support mathematicians from all backgrounds, institutions, and origins. Our mission can only succeed when all persons involved with MSRI feel welcome and well supported.

Racism within the academy has many facets. We recognize that we still have work to do. We humbly welcome the insights and support of our colleagues as we continue to grow in understanding and action:

  • We continue to educate ourselves and work with mathematicians and research community leaders to expand existing programs, such as ADJOINT and MSRI-UP, and add new initiatives to make equity and inclusion a common reality and not a far-off goal.
  • We conscientiously work with our program organizers and participants, advisory committees, board of trustees, academic sponsor institutions, and organizations throughout the U.S. and beyond to make MSRI a place where all mathematicians feel welcomed, respected, and valued. We solicit and respond to recommendations from participants in our programs.
  • We know we are at the beginning. We know that we will make mistakes, and we welcome your feedback should you wish to provide it through direct email, exit surveys, or our ombuds system at www.msri.org/web/msri/about-msri/ombuds.

To our Black colleagues and others from currently underrepresented groups in mathematics: We see you, we listen, and we commit to acting on what we hear. We want you in our scientific programs and workshops, governance committees, summer schools, institute staff, and public events. We are honored to work with you.

David Eisenbud, Director of MSRI


Hélène Barcelo, Deputy Director of MSRI