You are here

Biology Ph.D. Students Advocate for Black Representation in STEM During #BlackBirdersWeek

UL Grad School -- 08/18/2020

In this moment, our city faces heightened racial tensions between protesters and local leaders. Our graduate community continues to stand in solidarity with those protesting anti-Black racism and racial violence. Over the summer, we sat down with several graduate students who are active in the fight for racial justice to learn more about their efforts.

Biology Ph.D. student Juita Martinez recalls that not long ago, she was firmly against Twitter. Two years and thousands of followers later, her experience using the social media platform has been life-changing.

Twitter allows her to network with other academics and the broader STEM community on a daily basis, and helps her make her research accessible.

Recently, Juita and her fellow Biology Ph.D. student Kassandra Ford became heavily involved in #BlackBirdersWeek. This social media initiative amplified the voices and experiences of Black birdwatchers, scientists, and nature lovers throughout the first week of June.

“Black Birders Week was started by a group created by Jason Ward, who's also on Twitter. And it's basically a collective of 30 Black individuals who are nature enthusiasts, who are in STEM and in general, we just all really appreciate the outdoors,” Juita explains.

“We saw this lack in being able to utilize outdoor spaces safely. We saw that we could show people that yes, we are out here. And yes, we should be able to utilize these spaces safely.”