We, the Conformable Decoders team, are appalled, outraged, and saddened by the grave racial and ethnic injustices that continue to perpetuate in this nation’s culture. We say the names of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmed Arbery, and Rayshard Brooks, among others, whose murders have catalyzed a necessary national discussion about systemic racism and police brutality—systems that have followed centuries of profound discrimination and abuse.
We recognize our privilege and accept our obligation to honestly reflect upon and address the biases embedded in our field of academia. Our influence will be used to create awareness of and drive effective change against the ongoing inequalities that persist in our society.
Conformable Decoders group is committed to ensure that our values of inclusion, equity, and transparency are upheld within our laboratory practices, research, and scholarship. However, we cannot fulfill this mission if we continue to allow racism to exist in our field, our educational systems, and ourselves. Therefore, we are urgently promoting input from and action by the greater community.
We stand in solidarity with our students, colleagues, and communities who are actively working to fight the racism and oppression that plague this nation. We are committed to engaging in uncomfortable discussion, educating ourselves, holding each other accountable, and elevating the voices in marginalized communities.
Our goal is to ensure that the institutions we are a part of become more diverse and inclusive. We will strive to make positive contributions towards creating a culture that features, amplifies, and prioritizes the scholarship and success of underrepresented individuals. The following list details our specific commitments and can serve as a point of reference for others who seek to support this movement.
As allies, we are committed to in-depth education, reflection, and immediate action in order to incite change within not only our group, but also the greater community of MIT and beyond.
It is imperative to be cognizant of the challenges marginalized individuals face daily and engage in uncomfortable but necessary discussion that is informed, structured, and deliberate. Rather than basing discussions on opinions and personal experiences, an anti-racist framework must be implemented to drive educated, evidence-backed conversation. The Black Lives Matter movement has encouraged us to educate ourselves on the needless hardships endured by all marginalized communities, including those who identify at the intersection of these demographics and thus face unique and complex injustices.
Specific to our research, we are committed to imbuing anti-racist theory and anti-discrimination into the design and engineering of our conformable devices. Eradicating underrepresentation in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and socio-economic background in human subject selection will certainly bring new dimensions to conformable device design. Conformable devices that attach to the human skin should be designed such that their functionality remains consistent across all skin types. Meanwhile, a wider range of scientific discovery can be achieved, advancing the scientific community and ensuring unbiased findings.
We recognize that we must hold each other accountable and bring about change from the individual scale to the global scale. We encourage all individuals and communities to exercise their platforms and stand with us in the fight against centuries of systematic oppression and racial inequity. The Black Lives Matter movement is NOT transient, and all of us must commit ourselves to sustained reflection, education, and action. Values of diversity, equity, and inclusivity must be imbued throughout our lives, the institutions we are a part of, and the world as a whole.
We can, must, and will do better.