For Black History Month, we’re amplifying the work of a few Black-led organizations in marine science and the environment. In a field where Black people are underrepresented—according to some data, only 2.5% of marine biologists are Black—these organizations are doing the important work of promoting racial equity in STEM fields and centering environmental justice in conversations about climate change.
Diving with a Purpose
This year, in celebration of Black History Month, the Aquarium is honored to present Jay Haigler, an archaeologist and Diving with a Purpose (DWP) founding board member and lead instructor in the program.
Haigler’s talk on Thursday, February 15, in the Simons Theatre will spotlight the work of DWP, an international organization that promotes maritime archeology and ocean conservation by documenting and protecting African slave-trade shipwrecks.
Through their work, DWP has provided training, education, certification, and field experience to 500 experienced divers, assisting them in becoming underwater archaeology advocates and documenting 18 shipwrecks across six countries.
Minorities in Shark Science
“If you want to conserve the marine world, you need to be proactive about including people in that mission,” says President and CEO of Minorities in Shark Science, Jasmin Graham.
In December of 2023, Graham visited the Simons Theatre to screen an episode of her new PBS Terra Series, Sharks Unknown with Jasmin Graham, and spoke about her work with MISS to “move the shark documentary genre beyond white sharks and white men.”
Graham is a biologist who studies sharks and elasmobranchs and shared her field research—as well as her mission to create equitable representation in marine sciences. Today, there are over 400 members of MISS around the world, and MISS provides education, training, and professional development opportunities and workshops to gender minorities of color of all ages in marine science.
Black in Marine Science
Black in Marine Science (BIMS) began as a week-long event to highlight and amplify Black voices in STEM after Dr. Tiara Moore Tweeted her hope to see such an event come to life. BIMS has since grown into a non-profit that continues to highlight Black voices in marine science and inspire younger generations to join STEM fields.
The Climate Justice Alliance’s Black Caucus
The Climate Justice Alliance’s Black Caucus grew out of a need to engage Black communities on the front lines of the environmental and climate justice movements. The Black Caucus creates a space for Black leadership within the movement, and organizes to promote a just transition to a regenerative economy.
NAACP Environmental & Climate Justice Campaign
The NAACP works around the country on issues that impact Black Americans, including environmental climate justice. The organization fights to ensure environmental protections benefit everyone and that communities of color aren’t disproportionately affected by pollution and climate change.
Founded by CEO Rue Mapp, Outdoor Afro is a national non-profit that “celebrates and inspires Black connections and leadership in nature.” With networks across the US, Outdoor Afro runs programs and workshops, from swim lessons for children to local camping and fishing trips and outdoor leadership training. Outdoor Afro has a Boston-area chapter for those interested in joining local meet-ups!
Black Farmers Index
What started as a list of 150 Black farmers addressing food insecurity during the pandemic has now become a database of over 1,000 Black-led farms across the US. Many of these farms use organic, sustainable farming methods that are environmentally friendly, and buying local produce helps support the community.