A Brief Overview of #Marginsci

This is a brief overview of how the hashtag #marginsci came to be used by underrepresented minorities (URM) in different parts of the world to discuss issues of diversity within the March for Science. The tag was started by Dr Stephani Page, to unite various conversations already happening.

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  1. The hashtag #Marginsci was stared by biochemist/biophysicist Dr Stephani Page, who was on the March for Science Steering Committee. Dr Page had been an early contributor to thoughtful discussions about exclusion within the march; a commitment she continued after taking up her role within the committee.
  2. This compilation is by no means a comprehensive history of #marginsci. Instead, it provides a background context to the hashtag and a discussion I led on on 5 March 2017, regarding the backlash associated with the hashtag. I also cover the lessons that the March for Science organisers might draw from the activism of scientists using the tag, as well as the efforts of the Women's March to take an intersectionality approach to their activism.
  3. Below are just some of Dr Page's first tweets about the march. She connected the exclusion of Black women from in mainstream feminism to what was happening with the march by the 28 January 2017. This was just four days after the March for Science Twitter account was established.
  4. Dr Page went on to share questions she'd posed to her local march regarding representation and to what extent minorities were in decision-making roles.
  5. Subsequently, Dr Page joined the central organising committee in Washington DC, which is also overseeing coordination of the global marches.
  6. On the 3 February, Dr Page discussed how her identity impacts how she does science, and that it's a privilege for others to think they can dictate science. A couple of weeks later, Dr Page proposed the #marginsci hashtag to bring together various conversations happening across English-speaking global networks on Twitter. Dr Page said that despite being on the committee, she wanted to address the "vile messaging around our place in science, the March for Science and satellite Marches."
  7. By the 4 March 2017, #marginsci conversations had reached a peak of collaboration, having already addressed various problems with the messaging of the march. Most recently, scientists had used the #marginsci tag to discuss racism by the Los Angeles satellite march.
  8. I discussed the racist push back to these #marginsci efforts. I noted that supporters for the March for Science show greater anger that racism is discussed rather than the actual incidents of racial discrimination. Supporters of the march are also dismissive of their role in combating racial bias, putting the work back on people of colour. Minorities in general were being blamed for potentially "ruining the march." These are all hallmarks of an environment that is hostile to diversity.
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