Deeply rooted in our mission to inspire science learning in everyone, the California Science Center stands together with our family of staff, volunteers, board members and the diverse community we serve at this extraordinary time of collective focus on social injustice and racial inequality. We join the many voices avowing that Black lives matter, as we reaffirm our commitment to the core values of accessibility and inclusiveness that guide everything we do.
A message from President & CEO Jeffrey N. Rudolph to the California Science Center team in a June 5, 2020 video address, edited for brevity and context, follows below:
I wanted to personally reach out to all of you at this incredibly difficult time. Following months of disruption, loss, fear and social isolation associated with the COVID pandemic, we are now faced with even more unsettling events.
The past two weeks we have been feeling anguish, despair and anger after witnessing the murder of George Floyd. Unfortunately, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor are not isolated cases. For many of us at the California Science Center and throughout Los Angeles, memories of Rodney King and 1992 still seem like it was yesterday. And sadly, nowhere near enough has changed and systemic racism persists.
The former California Museum of Science and Industry was at the center of the 1992 uprising. Many suggested that we move and build the new California Science Center elsewhere. We rejected that because it conflicted with our core values, and we have been one of the success stories in South Los Angeles since that time. In 1992, few would have believed that we would bring a national treasure – one of three remaining space shuttles – to South Los Angeles.
The Science Center’s core values include accessibility and inclusiveness, and a belief that science is an indispensable tool for understanding our world. These values drive everything we do. They are why so many of you are here and have devoted your lives to our mission of inspiring science learning for everyone. We are proud that you are on our team and that, together, we reflect the diversity of the Los Angeles community.
Science will help us understand the COVID virus and advance the development of therapeutics and a new vaccine. Science also makes it clear that the concept of “race” is a social construct, not based in biology or science, but invented to differentiate and divide people.
The work we do is important. All of us are important. Together we all can make a difference by continuing to respect each other and remain true to our core values.
In more normal times, we would be together and able to comfort and show each other our support. We might even feel we could hug. COVID has prevented that. However, we can still show compassion for what our colleagues are feeling. We can listen to each other. We should feel comfortable speaking out.
Our experiences are all different and we should share them with each other. We need to be inclusive, connect with each other and value what we all say and feel.
I am looking forward to seeing you back at the Science Center when we reopen, hopefully sooner than later. Until then, stay safe.