As our community prepares to come together next week, we wanted to voice our support of the Black community and share our reflections on ways we are making our SciPy community more inclusive moving forward.

 

The latest census data shows that the population of the United States is 13% African American, yet a cursory look around our conference halls shows that we are nowhere close to representing this community. The possible causes of the disparity are diverse; SciPy attendees are reflective of disparities in STEM fields at large; scientists and engineers of color may be concentrating their energies elsewhere; and, candidly, we may be seen as unwelcoming. 

 

We are proud of our efforts in recent years to better engage with women, another notably underrepresented group in scientific computing. While we realize that our work here is not done, the SciPy meeting has not had the same level of focused outreach to the Black community and other underrepresented groups. We are committed to changing that.

 

We realize that as a community that is, at present, overwhelmingly white our perspective is limited. We believe that it is important for us to take action and that the onus should not fall entirely on the members of our community who are currently suffering. That does not absolve us of responsibility for actively seeking diverse viewpoints so that we don’t have to guess what our response should be.

 

Our first steps will be to:

  • Dedicate 50% of our scholarship budget to support scholarships for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color to attend SciPy meetings. 

  • Recruit a new member of the Diversity Committee dedicated to outreach to Historically Black Colleges and Universities and BIPOC communities in programming.

  • Seek out keynote speeches, minisymposia, tutorials, and talks from BIPOC experts.

  • Actively encourage more diverse participation in SciPy planning committees.

 

We encourage you to join us next Wednesday for our Diversity Plenary talk on “What Are You Measuring when You Analyze Race”.

 

We invite you to share with us other ideas for how we can make substantive change that will lead to SciPy being a more inclusive community. Please send your thoughts to scipy@enthought.com.

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