Feb. 10, 2017
We are pleased to write to you all in celebration of Black History Month, which has been honoured every February since 1976, and in prior form since 1926 as “Negro History Week.” This month is an opportunity to celebrate the enormous contributions and accomplishments of the Black community, in all aspects of our society. We want to thank all of our Black employees and visitors for your service to our organization, and for the exceptional work that you do in support of UCAR’s mission. Your work is seen and valued, and your presence and contributions make our organization better every day.
We also invite all of the UCAR/NCAR community to reflect on the untold history of Black scientists and engineers in our country and the significant barriers that Black scientists, engineers, and support staff can face in the workplace. Highly talented Black students are lost from our field every year due to these barriers. Those who overcome them to join the science — and engineering-related workforce are often faced with “chilly” workplace environments that require significant mental and emotional energy to combat — energy that could otherwise be spent on exploring solutions to scientific, engineering, and management problems. Despite these chilly environments, many Black scientists, engineers, and support staff achieve enormous success, only to find that their accomplishments are minimized or entirely erased from the history books. We invite all of you to join with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion to learn about these barriers and experiences, and to work with us to ensure that our Black colleagues and visitors do not have this experience here at UCAR/NCAR. Together, we can make sure that our workplace is a welcoming and supportive environment for all.
As a place to start, I encourage all of us to expand our reading and viewing to include Black authors and filmmakers, add blogs and websites run by Black community members to our social media feeds (excellent sources are Presumed Incompetent, For Harriet, and Vanguard STEM), take part in professional development opportunities at work, such as the UNEION training course, and come to chat with us in the Office for Diversity and Inclusion. As part of this month’s celebration, we will be including profiles of Black scientists in our field in Staff News. We encourage you all to read about the accomplishments of these incredible individuals, hear their words, and to reflect on how our community can work to celebrate and support the accomplishments of our Black colleagues year-round.
Carolyn & Kristen
UCAR Office for Diversity and Inclusion