Black Lives Matter

BY Sajith Wickramasekara
June 11, 2020

Benchling’s mission is to accelerate the pace of life science research. We enable scientists working on challenging problems across medicine, food and agriculture, materials, and energy. The ideal output of scientific innovation is a global benefit to be accrued by all of humankind, regardless of race. However, when it comes to the representation of Black people in life science, there is much to be done.

As protests against racial inequality unfold across the United States, we have been reflecting internally at Benchling. We are saddened and disturbed by the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and countless other victims of racism that has been institutionalized over generations. Police brutality is part of a much larger issue of institutionalized racism in our culture. If you want a microcosm of this, we need look no further than the scientific community. According to the NSF, less than 5% of life science doctorates are awarded to Black students, despite Black people constituting 14% of the US population.

Many companies have issued statements about these events and the topic of systemic racism. It brings us hope to see organizations with broad reach shine a light on this issue. We have hit a juncture in history where we need to be clear to our community: we stand with the Black community. Racism has no place at Benchling, in science, or anywhere.

We want to be part of the solution. We will be donating $30,000 and matching an additional $30,000 in employee donations to nonprofits focused on combating anti-Black racism, police reform, and increasing Black representation in STEM.

Inside Benchling, we have a ways to go. Actions speak louder than words, and we have very few Black Benchlings. We remain committed to building a diverse, inclusive, and equitable organization. To grow Black representation at Benchling will take thoughtful and sustained efforts. In the immediate term, we will be publishing internal diversity reports, adding HBCUs to our university recruiting pipeline, and making resource commitments to open dialogue around inclusion.

As our support continues to evolve, we hope that these initial steps and actions will help push these conversations forward, promote deeper allyship, and drive positive and lasting changes.

We will be donating $30,000 to the Center for Policing Equity, which tracks and diagnoses racial gaps in policing. We will also match an additional $30,000 in employee donations to the Center for Policing Equity, Equal Justice Initiative, Campaign Zero, NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Black Lives Matter, or Biotech Partners.

Published by Sajith Wickramasekara
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