Black Lives Matter
As a center for astronomy education and outreach, we at Haus der Astronomie strive for equity, diversity and inclusion. Neither Haus der Astronomie, the astronomy education and outreach communities, nor the astronomy research community as a whole are there yet, by a long shot. We are worried about what are currently the most prominent examples of racism, about the images, videos and information reaching us from the United States. The US as a country has long played a major role in astronomy research and astronomy education both. Black lives matter, and violence against People of Color is just one aspect of a much deeper structural problem. Germany has a problem with structural racism as well – and a considerable number of Germans do not even acknowledge that this problem exists.
Words are cheap, and we realize that if we publish this statement without following up with specific actions, that statement will be meaningless and hypocritical. Ethnic minorities are significantly underrepresented in both professional and amateur astronomy. It is up to us in particular as the Haus der Astronomie to contribute with actions that make astronomy in general more inclusive and more diverse. We need to amplify diverse voices, to deliberately inspire and promote underrepresented groups. Specifically, we need to boost People of Color and those with immigrant backgrounds – especially children and young adults – while breaking with Western-centered traditions in astronomy and astrophysics. In the past, we have gone in this direction in the context of the Universe Awareness (UNAWE) and Space Awareness programs; in the future, we will continue our efforts in particular with the IAU Office of Astronomy for Education (OAE) hosted at Haus der Astronomie. As individuals, we pledge to act as every decent human being should – calling out racism when we see it, standing up for those affected by racism, and educating ourselves about our privileges. Hold us to these vows.