Why Black Lives Matter to Entomology

Annapolis, MD; June 1, 2020—The field of entomology has been immeasurably enriched by black scientists, including Dr. Charles H. Turner, likely the first black professional entomologist in the United States, and Dr. Ernest J. Harris, who will be honored in the 2020 ESA Founders’ Memorial Award Lecture, among many others. But these scientists have faced numerous barriers, both historically and, sadly, through the present day.

Historically, people of color have been less likely to choose careers in the life sciences1, and even today black entomologists make up 2.7 percent of the ESA membership, up from 2 percent in 2012.1,2 Every time a person is kept from contributing to our understanding of entomology due to systemic inequities, our entire discipline is impoverished. 

ESA values all dimensions of diversity that make each of our members unique. We believe in actively promoting inclusion, recruitment, and retention in every aspect of our Society. We strive to cultivate a scientific community of excellence built on mentorship, encouragement, tolerance, and mutual respect. Today, we express our sorrow for any member of our Society who has been impacted by prejudice, and we particularly grieve for black entomologists who have been personally affected by the death of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and the countless other black Americans whose deaths have led to this week’s protests.

ESA will continue to seek out ways to support and facilitate the full participation of black scientists and other scientists of color in the entomological community and the scientific community as a whole. We work for a day when entomology will truly be a discipline for all, with no barriers to contribution or achievement.

References Cited

  1. Riddick, E.W., M. Samuel-Foo, W.W. Bryan, and A.M. Simmons, (eds). 2015. Memoirs of Black Entomologists: Reflections on Childhood, University, and Career Experiences. Entomological Society of America, Annapolis, MD.
  2. Entomological Society of America. 2019 membership data.


CONTACT: Joe Rominiecki, jrominiecki@entsoc.org, 301-731-4535 x3009

ABOUT: ESA is the largest organization in the world serving the professional and scientific needs of entomologists and people in related disciplines. Founded in 1889, ESA today has more than 7,000 members affiliated with educational institutions, health agencies, private industry, and government. Headquartered in Annapolis, Maryland, the Society stands ready as a non-partisan scientific and educational resource for all insect-related topics. For more information, visit www.entsoc.org.