Universities and researchers in Vancouver are taking a stand against racism. UBC scientists are striking to bring awareness to institutional racism in a one-day walk-out. Many departments are backing them and even the school's faculty of science spoke out in support.

On Wednesday, June 10, scientists and staff from UBC are joining the #ShutDownSTEM movement by staging a day-long strike to speak out against racism — as well as to educate themselves and make plans to combat hate, according to the movement.

The movement was started by researchers and academics partly to look at how their work in STEM could perpetuate racism and to plan how they might stop it from happening. STEM includes the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

UBC's faculty of science wrote on Tuesday, June 9, that they support "our colleagues around the world participating in #ShutDownSTEM," and that they stand "in solidarity with the Black community."

They went on and encouraged staff to take the day to "reflect, engage and plan their own contributions that address and reduce discrimination and bias in their own workplaces."

Meanwhile, other departments like UBC Physics and Astronomy have encouraged faculty to "pause business as usual" and join in the strike.

UBC told Narcity they're unsure exactly how many people are currently striking.

All this doesn't mean that scientists working on COVID-19 research will be leaving their posts.

According to the official movement, the strike is only aimed at researchers not directly involved with novel coronavirus work.

"If your daily activities are directly helping us end this global crisis, we send our sincerest gratitude. The rest of us, we need to get to work," wrote #ShutDownSTEM.

Other UBC departments pointed out that racism can block people from studying science.

"Racism presents barriers to young people entering and flourishing in scientific careers," wrote the Department of Zoology. "We have much work to do in order to ensure greater equity in science and to eliminate systemic discrimination and institutional biases."

For the many students who suddenly found themselves with a whole day of free time, this is a great opportunity to spend the time reading or even watching movies to learn more about the different perspectives of people around us.

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