#BlackLivesMatter: A joint statement by Forwards and R-Ladies

#BlackLivesMatter: A joint statement by Forwards and R-Ladies

June 6, 2020

As organizations committed to broadening diversity and inclusion in our community, we stand with #BlackLivesMatter and join those who demand justice for systemic oppression. Pervasive racism negatively impacts the participation of Black people in society. The current events in the USA echo what has happened and continues to happen to minoritised people across the world. We are aggregating resources and are taking deliberate actions to amplify the voices of Black, Indigenous and People of Color in the R community now and moving forward.

To our community members who are suffering right now, we stand by you, we hear your voices, but we know that that is not enough to enact the change we need. The work of breaking systems of injustice is slow and hard, and we know that some of you are carrying more of the load than others. There are no words to make this easier.

A Message from Forwards

Forwards recognizes that Black people are often missing or overlooked in core activities of the R community. We acknowledge that many are frustrated by the slow progress or apparent lack of action. At a time when we are reminded that racial injustice pulls people down, it is our goal to create space for Black, Indigenous and People of Color to rise as R programmers and community leaders.

We work through small, but hopefully impactful actions, such as:

  • Highlighting the work of people from underrepresented groups and sharing information about relevant events and opportunities on @R_Forwards Twitter.

  • Supporting useR! conference organizers with the diversity scholarship program.

  • Recommending people from underrepresented groups for roles such as conference speakers, committee members, session chairs, etc.

  • Supporting the leadership team of AfricaR.

  • Reaching a diverse group with our workshops for women and girls and workshops in underserved regions (e.g. Cuba, Southern Africa).

We understand that there is much more that could be done to directly support and represent Black, Indigenous and People of Color and we are committed to play our part. We will continue to develop actions and long-term goals to improve intersectional representation in our taskforce and the wider R community.

A Message from R-Ladies

While the R-Ladies mission is focused on improving gender diversity within the R community, we also recognize both the struggle that Black people face, and the compound effect of intersectionality when a member identifies with multiple underrepresented groups. R-Ladies Global makes a commitment to improve how the organization supports Black, Indigenous and People of Color through the following actions:

  • We will start and continue dialogue around concrete actions to promote social justice globally through dedicated channels in our Slack workspaces. As we engage, we commit to listening, empathizing, seeking to understand, and translating our conversations into action. We commit to making our community spaces places of not only safety for all our members, but of active work towards equity and justice.

  • We will incorporate into our website a dedicated page of resources and information regarding tangible actions we, as an organisation, and single individuals can take to support #BlackLivesMatter and other social justice movements.

  • We will improve ethnic and racial representation on the R-Ladies Global Team so voices from all intersectional minorities are better represented.

  • We will launch a number of programs to support our members (e.g. travel grants, book vouchers, educational subscriptions) through funds donated to R-Ladies, we will dedicate 50% of the funds towards community members with intersectional identities and half of that directed exclusively to Black members.

Closing statement

We will work harder to listen to and amplify the voices of minoritized members of our respective communities worldwide. We are invested in the continuous work of breaking down systems of injustice, and in making room for those that are currently suffering in those systems to participate fully and occupy leading positions. We urge everyone in the R community to do the same.

R Forwards Core Team: Heather Turner, Noa Tamir, Tatjana Kecojevic, Emily Dodwell, Kevin O’Brien, Julie Josse.

R-Ladies Global: Claudia Vitolo, Erin LeDell, Hannah Frick, Laura Ación, Athanasia Monika Mowinckel, Yanina Bellini Saibene, Noa Tamir, Maëlle Salmon, Jennifer Thompson, Florencia D’Andrea, Patricia A. Loto, Saranjeet Kaur Bhogal, Christin Zasada, Nadejda Sero, Sheila Saia.

R-Ladies chapter organizers (current and former) with others strongly involved in the R-Ladies and R communities: gwynn sturdevant, Paola Corrales, Paloma Rojas-Saunero, Riva Quiroga, Roxana Noelia Villafañe, Monica L. Alonso, Danielle Navarro, Mine Çetinkaya-Rundel, Sara Mortara, Genelle Denzin, Divya Seernani, Elisa Schneider, Kyla McConnel, Ana Laura Diedrichs, Liza Dosso, Mariel Lovatto, María Nanton, Ludmila Janda, Hazel Kavili, Ines Teacã, Lucía Rodríguez Planes, Andrea Sánchez-Tapia, Disha Patil, Ayanthi Gunawardana, Jan Strappa, Kaelen Medeiros, Vebashini Naidoo, Emily Dodwell, Julia Silge, Marcela Alfaro, Jenny Bryan, Lucy D’Agostino McGowan, Alison Hill, Andrea Gómez Vargas, Angela Li, Beatriz Milz, Haydée Svab, Tijana Blagojev, Katarina Kosmina, Jovana Savic.