As the presidents of the Population Association of America and Association of Population Centers, we want to express how profoundly recent events have affected us as individuals, the organizations we lead, and our members. The recent deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and other Black Americans due to police violence--and in the context of a long history of such incidents--vividly demonstrate the insidious and pervasive effects of racial inequality. These recent deaths come during a public health crisis in which Black Americans, Native Americans, and Latinx Americans die at disproportionately higher rates and experience greater economic hardship than White Americans. We mourn with the nation and stand in support with the millions of individuals who are demanding an end to systemic racism by making clear that Black Lives Matter.
Population scientists are committed to understanding how factors, including educational opportunity, income and wealth, psychological stress, the social and physical environment, and public policies affect health and well-being. We endeavor to develop research findings that will inform policies designed to rectify racial inequality and improve the lives of all Americans. Our organizations are also dedicated to mentoring and promoting the careers of population scientists and to addressing racism that we know, unfortunately, exists within our own field. To this end, the PAA is leading several efforts. First, the PAA Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is developing a range of initiatives, including a webinar series that will focus on research related to this topic. Within the population research centers, initiatives are underway to address pipeline challenges by introducing underrepresented undergraduates, through in-depth summer programming, to the theory and methods of population scientists, and to the careers they may explore with such training.
While these are important steps, we know much more action is needed. We encourage members to share their thoughts and suggestions through the PAA Engage online forum. We underscore that listening is also extremely important. Thus, PAA and APC pledge to consider input from members in a transparent, inclusive manner and to take action to promote equality, enhance professional engagement, and, critically, contribute toward broader efforts to end the scourge of racism that divides our nation and limits opportunity for all.#PublicStatements#GPAC2020#RacialandEthnicDisparities