Update SACNAS Policies to Support Undocumented and LGBTQ+ People in STEM

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Dear SACNAS Board of Directors,

In September 2016, the state of California passed AB 1887 in order to “take action to avoid supporting or financing discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people." (Gov. Code, § 11139.8, subd. (a)(5).) The states of Connecticut, Minnesota, New York, Vermont, and Washington have implemented similar travel bans to states with discriminatory legislation in place.

SACNAS 2018 is being held in Texas, a state that has enacted two laws (SB4, HB3859) that discriminate against undocumented and LGBTQ+ people, respectively. SACNAS strives to be an inclusive organization for Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans––yet the decision to host the conference in Texas disrupts the foundation for a truly inclusive environment. Moving forward, SACNAS needs to inhabit and promote environments that respect its members, their various identities, and the intersection that exists between these identities.

Many academic societies, including the Animal Behavior Society, International Association for Plant Taxonomy, Society for the Study of Evolution, American Society of Naturalists, and Society of Systematic Biologists, have amended their bylaws to not hold their annual conferences in locations with discriminatory laws. SACNAS should be held to the same, if not a higher, standard of diversity equity and inclusion given the marginalized groups this society serves.

We, the undersigned, ask that the national organization implement policies that include an explicit commitment to inclusivity of all identities, including LGBTQ+ identities and documentation status, by:

  • Boycotting any state that has statewide discriminatory laws in effect, including the current states: Alabama, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Texas
  • Adding an Anti-Discrimination clause to conference-related contracts allowing SACNAS to relocate from that state with no financial loss if said state passes a discriminatory law at least (1) year ahead of the next conference date

If SACNAS continues to hold their conferences in states with discriminatory laws, thousands of students from California, Connecticut, Minnesota, New York, Vermont, and Washington, will be prevented from attending due to personal discomfort, safety concerns, and/or lack of financial resources. By changing the policies, we can foster a community that embodies diversity in all its facets. Since its founding 45 years ago, SACNAS has positively impacted countless people in STEM. Let’s ensure that SACNAS remains a leader in promoting #TrueDiversity in STEM for all.  


SACNISTAs in Solidarity with Undocumented and LGBTQ+ Communities

To our allies and the greater SACNAS community, please support the following LGBTQ+ and undocumented organizations (in alphabetical order):

ACLU of TX - Civil rights organization fighting for racial equality, LGBTQ equality, and reproductive freedom
Equality Texas - Advocacy organization for LGBTQ Texans
Fiesta Youth - San Antonio-based LGBTQ youth program
OutLast Youth - Organization to reduce and prevent LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness in Dallas and its surrounding counties.
RAICES - nonprofit agency providing free and low-cost legal services to underserved immigrant children, families, and refugees in Texas
Texas Pride Impact Funds - Organization for LGBTQ Texans

To #SACNAS2018 attendees, please support these LGBTQ-friendly San Antonio-based businesses during the conference:

Boudro’s (0.3 mi walk from Convention Center)
Sushi Zushi (0.5 mi walk from Convention Center)
Bella on the River (0.6 mi walk from Convention Center)
Sparky’s Pub (1.7 mi walk/3.1 mi drive from Convention Center)
The Annex (1.4 mi walk/3.0 mi drive from Convention Center)
Candle Light (3.4 mi drive from Convention Center)

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