Dear AEESP Members,
The recent events of last week’s violent insurrection by a mob at our Capitol, incited by the President of the United States, were shocking and deeply disturbing. We condemn the violent disruption of our electoral process and the vicious assault on the lives of our elected officials, their staff and law enforcement personnel. This was one of the ugliest, most shameful days in our American History. Our democracy has never been perfect. However, the degradation of civil discourse, the political polarization, and the continued inequality and discrimination over the last several years, culminating with the shocking events and needless death and injury of Americans at the Capitol last week, have struck at the heart of our American democracy.
We at AEESP believe in creating safe spaces and positive solutions based on the ability to share diverse perspectives to arrive at a reasoned decision to move forward. We do not condone violence, division, and silencing of voices to limit the opinion of anyone. Our hope is that 2021 will usher in a new period of tolerance, civility and kindness. At the end of the day, it is our relationships with each other and the ability to converse civilly and respectfully to discuss important issues that will be the only way to enhance society and democracy. While this is not a perfect system nor do we state that the process could not be improved, we recognize and applaud the efforts of many in the organization who engage in research topics, conversations with industry or government that may challenge the status quo yet remain guided by scientific evidence, ethical commitment to public health/environmental justice/human rights and respectful discourse.
Joel Ducoste, North Carolina State University, AEESP President
Bill Arnold, University of Minnesota, AEESP President-Elect
Allison MacKay, The Ohio State University, AEESP Vice President