A Message from the NESS Executive Committee on Social Unrest

The Executive Committee of the New England Statistical Society (NESS) is appalled and sickened by the death of George Floyd on a Minneapolis street, with a police officer kneeling on his neck. And then Rayshard Brooks being shot in a Wendy’s parking lot, as well as the despicable incidents of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor before them. Stemming directly from these tragedies of injustice, in recent weeks we have seen growing outrage and protests inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement. As the days go by, citizens of more and more countries are becoming involved.

Deeply angered by the recent tragedies and moved by the social upheaval, we stand with all those who are working to end racism and racial injustice in the United States and around the world. We want to add our voice and actions to make a positive difference.

To that end, NESS will critically reappraise its practices and initiatives, to improve the diversity and inclusivity of its community. NESS will work with other organizations, such as the American Statistical Association’s Committee on Minorities in Statistics, to advance representation of African Americans and other underrepresented groups in NESS activities. The Society will develop a travel scholarship fund to attend its annual meeting for members from underrepresented groups with limited travel funds. We encourage you – our membership – to propose sessions and panels to the upcoming NESS webinars and meetings, including the annual NextGen Data Science Day and the annual New England Statistics Symposium, that address diversity, inclusion, discrimination, or racism. In addition, we would like to hear about ideas and comments from you, our membership, and welcome comments or feedback by sending to nestat.soc@gmail.com.

There is no doubt that systemic racism impairs personal and professional lives and, more broadly, the statistics and data science communities. In reflecting upon current atrocities, the Society would like to renew its commitment to strengthen our professional community by making it more just, equitable, diverse, and inclusive.