Abstract Detail

Black Botanical Legacy: Fostering a Community of Equity in Botanical Sciences

Williams, Tanisha [1].

Unearthing Untold Stories and Learning from the Past.

“Sankofa: se wo were fi na wosan kofa a yenki, meaning it is not taboo to go back and fetch what you forgot. We must look back to the past so that we may understand how we became what we are, and move forward to a better future.” Akan People, West Africa   Botanical science has its history built on the oppression of marginalized groups and the erasure of their knowledge and labor that have led to significant gains in our scientific understanding. It seems we have finally hit a turning point where issues surrounding racism, sexism, colonialism, and other systemic discriminatory practices are being discussed. Not only is the dialogue open, we are finally starting to understand the alarm that marginalized groups have been ringing for hundreds of years. Actionable steps are being made to correct, unlearn, and eliminate the systems of oppression that keep us all from a truly equitable, inclusive, and free society. As we work to dismantle these systems, we must also work to fully understand the untold stories, that have been erased by Eurocentric and Western rhetoric and propaganda, of the people that have built this discipline. This talk will “go back and fetch” some of the Black botanical legacies that have had phenomenal impacts on our everyday understanding of plants, how we teach science, and conduct our research. These and many more stories from Black, Indigenous, and people of color should be recognized, taught, and cited. It is imperative that our efforts do not stop at paying lip service, going to book clubs, or trainings to inform ourselves about how to be anti-racist. We must also create and implement robust institutional and social reforms that target and dismantle white supremacy and social injustices.

1 - Bucknell University, Biology, 1 Dent Drive, Lewisburg, PA, 17837, United States

Black Botanists Week
Social Justice.

Presentation Type: Symposium Presentation
Number: S2007
Abstract ID:869
Candidate for Awards:None

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