Advocates and scientists continue to fear and decry the steps taken by the Trump administration as we near the end of his first 100 days – but that concern for scientific study and accuracy is about to bubble over in DC and here in Richmond as citizens and activists around the country unite for multiple “Marches for Science.”
This Saturday at Gallery 5 (for those who can’t make the big one in DC) will give any and all local folks chance to show their concern with a day of talks and workshops ending in a march through the streets of Richmond.
“Hopefully we can begin shifting the understanding of science toward an acknowledgement that what comes first is the welfare of people and the planet, not profit or technological advancement only accessible to a few,” said J.C. Mejia, who has been assisting with organizing Richmond’s march.
Meija acknowledged the success of the Women’s March in January served as a template in the creation of this new event; but with the science march, expanded inclusivity is a goal.
“Right now more than ever, we need an anti-racist science, we need a decolonial science, we need an intersectional feminist science,” Meija said. “These values must be driving research, not just social movements.”
Even though a local march will take place, some Richmonders still want in on the D.C. action.
“I do not think that scientists and research should be regulated by politicians,” said Ryan Maxwell, who studied mechanical engineering at Virginia Commonwealth University and is currently in an MBA program. He plans to head to DC for the big event.
“Scientific facts are scientific facts and are not bound by a political party’s agenda.”
The March for Science – both here in DC – hopes to emulate the success of January’s Women’s March and is similarly a critique of the Trump Administration and its policy decisions.
Since taking office in January, President Trump has issued a temporary media blackout to the Environmental Protection Agency as well as barred its staff from giving new contracts and grants.
Environmental advocates are also concerned with Scott Pruitt, Trump’s nominee to head the Environmental Protection Agency and the former Attorney General for as Oklahoma. While working for the state of OK, Pruitt joined 14 lawsuits against the agency he now heads over pro-environment regulation created during the Obama-era.
Most recently, Trump issued an executive order that will limit enforcement of climate regulations present during the Obama Administration.
For folks like Maxwell, it’s the new administration’s willingness to ignore science and evidence-based research that is inspiring him the most. But he’s not alone – Sammy Holcomb, an environmental science major at VCU, similarly plans to attend the DC March.
“Researchers are losing funds, important environmental regulations are being cut, the research of climate change is being erased from important governmental websites,” Holcomb said. “I feel like this won’t be the end of it.”
The Richmond March will include a community teach-in at Gallery5 on Saturday from 11 to 3 pm featuring different speakers on topics like protesting, environmental science, climate change and more. The Richmond Reproductive Freedom Project, Nationz Foundation, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Antifa Seven Hill and more will have tables at the event adding to the diversity of those represented.
“Science also encompasses access to healthcare, food security, sustainability, as well
as everyone’s day-to- day well-being,” said Meija. “We are pushing for a science that is empowering for all people… not profit or technological advancement only accessible to a few.”
The march in Richmond will start at 5:30 pm in Abner Clay Park, at Brook Road and West Clay Street.
Find out more about Richmond’s March for Science event here.