Stand Up, Speak Out, or Do Nothing?


 As we convene in Washington, DC for the 254th ACS National Meeting, top of mind is excitement for sharing the latest discoveries and innovations going on across the chemical enterprise. Concurrently, some of our mindshare may be spent on present-day events such as the violence that occurred on August 12th in Charlottesville, Virginia. Many of us can make a connection between the mindset and behaviors that precipitated in Charlottesville to relationships we have at home, in the workplace, and larger community.  Some of us are disturbed or appalled and others of us are less concerned, perhaps even appealed by it all. This is intersectionality of a different kind where a much broader people than the assumed marginalized groups are publicly grappling with the interplay of their personal values and work; their individual and corporate identities in these highly uncertain times.  We’ve gathered in Washington this week to talk about chemistry’s role in the global economy. It’s only natural that we contemplate the reverse – the influence of social trends on the chemical enterprise. So, what is an appropriate response when societal discourse appears to be distracting us from our pivotal roles as chemical professionals in a global economy – stand up, speak out, or do nothing?


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