ACS Statement on the Killing of George Floyd

Hello, my name is Luis Echegoyen and I am the president of the American Chemical Society.

I am speaking with you today during very sad days for the US and the world.  The horrific killing of George Floyd has shed additional light on hundreds of years of racism and injustice occurring in our country.  As President of the American Chemical Society, I want to be clear that we stand in solidarity with our black and brown members, staff, and communities during these times.  We recognize the issues of systemic racism that have plagued our society as a whole and even within our own scientific organization.

The ACS deplores the abuse of power that resulted in the killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor.  We mourn their deaths and of the countless other black and brown Americans that have been victims of abuses of power and authority.  We condemn racism, discrimination, and harassment in any form or manifestation.  These behaviors rob our fellow citizens of the opportunity to reach their full potential, of their place in society, and sometimes of their lives.

ACS is dedicated to supporting, promoting, and ensuring diverse, inclusive, and respectful chemistry learning environments and workplaces – it is in fact a core value of the Society. 

The ACS will use its platform as one of the world’s largest professional, scientific organizations, to lend a voice to those who are voiceless and speak truth to power.  We will continue to speak out to condemn injustice, racism, bigotry, discrimination, intolerance, and harassment.

In the wake of this most recent horrific tragedy, ACS renews its commitment to its core value of diversity, inclusion, and respect.  We recognize that some progress has been made thus far, but issues of systemic racism continue despite our progress.  We commit to continuously evaluate our policies and practices to actively remove systemic barriers to participation by all in the ACS community.

Diverse chemistry learners and professionals continue to experience rejection, isolation, aggression, and harassment by their peers, leaving them in isolation and their work undervalued.

We commit to finding new ways to use our influence and resources to bring about needed change and diversity in the STEM community and beyond, to bring about greater opportunities and advancement for African-Americans as well as for Latinos, Native-Americans and other underrepresented populations around the world.

For those of us who are old enough, we remember the riots in the 1960s and it is very sad to say that as a nation we have not made significant progress in addressing systemic racism.  As a Latino, I understand and acknowledge the frustrations, the fear, and the trauma that comes from discrimination and injustice.

We are in this together; let us renew our commitment to empower all people with their right to live a life of peace dignity and respect, free from discrimination, racism, harassment, and intimidation.

Thank you very much.