Black Lives Matter

To the EPSS Community: 

Black Lives Matter. This simple, yet powerful statement reaffirms today and everyday our commitment to the fairness and inclusion principles we should all live by, especially at UCLA. 

It is a statement that in 2020 should not have been needed. Or 1992. But it is, because the systemic inequalities present at all levels, particularly for African Americans, which should have always been obvious, can no longer be denied. And they will not. Not by us, and not, if the last week is any indication, by the generation you, the youngest members of our EPSS community represent.

Too often we, from the individual to the department, from the university to academia as a whole have failed to live up to our commitment to racial equality, fairness and inclusion. Let this letter be our acknowledgement of that failure and our promise to do better in the future.

Acknowledgments and promises however, are not adequate without a plan for change. Because words, while needed, soothing and powerful are not enough. Only actions suffice. In affirming that Black Lives Matter we go beyond solidarity to a call to action to make our department more fair, more equitable and more inclusive. This is particularly important for our students, graduate and undergraduate, and postdocs who are most vulnerable. Getting there will not be easy or straightforward, but change never is. But change we can and change we will.

It will take time and effort to identify and implement needed changes, short- and long-term, but the following are a few actions we can commit to immediately:

Let me also add an open invitation to reach out directly to the departmental diversity committee by contacting the chair, Carolina Lithgow-Bertelloni (, or other members of the committee (Mackenzie Day, Jonathan Mitchell and Marco Velli), to talk, vent, or discuss your experiences. We are here to listen, learn, and grow. Only then can we begin the hard process of charting a path forward to make things better for you and as a result all of us.

On a personal note, the chair of the diversity committee would like to add the following:

As a member of an underrepresented group in a STEM field, and not only as a woman, I also understand the exhaustion that comes from having to be the representative of a group. So to our EPSS students and postdocs, let us help share, and wherever possible, take that burden from you.

Below are some resources that we may all find useful:

UCLA resources

Anti-racism resources


Carolina Lithgow-Bertelloni

Louis B and Martha B Slichter Chair in the Geosciences 

Department of Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences 

Chair, EPSS Diversity Committee

Edwin Schauble

Professor and Chair

Department of Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences 

Mackenzie Day

Assistant Professor 

EPSS Diversity Committee

Department of Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences 

David Paige

Professor and Vice Chair

Department of Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences

 Jonathan Aurnou

Professor and Undergraduate Advisor

Department of Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences

Jonathan Mitchell

Associate Professor

EPSS Diversity Committee

Department of Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences

Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences

Vassilis Angelopoulos

Professor and Vice Chair on Academic Personnel,

Department of Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences