The death of George Floyd while being detained by police in the United States city of Minneapolis on 25 May 2020 has spawned a global movement. The GYA has released an Anti-discrimination Statement in support of the Black Lives Matter (#BLM) movement and all such movements fighting racism and discrimination around the world.

At the e-Annual General Meeting (e-AGM) in June 2020, GYA members decided on three focus areas as priority topics for the GYA to work on towards implementation of the new five-year Strategic Plan, which was launched at the e-AGM. Addressing systemic discrimination is one of these areas, and starts from the commitment that the GYA should work against all systemic bias that results in discrimination (be it due to race, caste, gender, sexuality, culture, age, etc.), and should look into best practices to combat systemic bias.

The GYA Anti-discrimination Statement is the first output of the group, which is headed by GYA members Vanessa Schweizer (University of Waterloo, Canada) and Shalini Arya (Institute of Chemical Technology, India).

According to Vanessa, “We are in the midst of a racial reckoning that is centuries overdue. Thanks to the tireless work of generations before us who advanced the concept and cause of human rights, we have an historic responsibility to continue such work. All corners of society, including science and academia, should reflect on their relationship to racial supremacy and other forms of supremacist thinking that diminish a person’s humanity and their value. I look forward to working with GYA members and partners on promoting practices and modes of thinking that ensure science can truly be ‘science from all, for all’”.

Shalini adds, “Discrimination in any form must be opposed and fought. Through the unique platform of Global Young Academy and its partners, I am proud of our involvement in this noble cause.”