Thursday, January 18, 2018

Statement supporting astronomers from Global South Countries

[Content Warning: Racism, Xenophobia, Anti-Blackness, Deportation, War]

Dear fellow astronomers,

In a meeting at the Oval Office with lawmakers on Thursday, January 11th, during a discussion centered on immigration, the POTUS uttered the phrase “Why are we having all these people from [vulgar expletive] countries come here?”, singling out African Union countries, Haiti (all with predominantly Black populations), as well as El Salvador. He also added that the US should get more people from countries like Norway (a predominantly white North-European country). This was followed by the words “Why do we need more Haitians? Take them out." 

These racist remarks did not occur in a vacuum. They were made a few days before Martin Luther King Day in the US, and a day before the eighth anniversary of a devastating earthquake that took the lives of 220,000 to 316,000 Haitians and displaced almost a million more. Haiti, a country founded by African slaves in rebellion over their European oppressors, has resisted capitalism in the midst of crushing debt, forced military coups, and debilitating economic policies imposed upon them by both US and European powers. Haitians have survived these obstacles and persevered with incredible vibrancy, tenacity, and spirit. These remarks also took place just three days after this administration announced the termination of the Temporary Protected Status (TPS), which will result in the ending of legal status for approximately 195,000 Salvadorians, 46,000 Haitians, 2,550 Nicaraguans and 1,040 Sudanese people - with similar measures being prepared against refugees from Honduras, Nepal, Syria, Yemen, Somalia and South Sudan. For many years, refugees from these countries have set roots in the United States, and have raised children for whom this country is the only country they know. Their deportation would be catastrophic for themselves, their families and their communities. Such actions add to the narrative that refugees are not welcome here, even though they fled their homes because of US-sponsored activities in their countries. These remarks are coupled to this administration’s racist and xenophobic agenda: pushes against the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and all undocumented people, against people from predominantly Muslim countries, and for the construction of a Wall at the US-Mexico border.  These remarks also come during a week when deportation raids at 7-Eleven franchises are causing panic and fear in communities of color, including communities where many members of our astronomical community and their families live.

The signatories vehemently condemn these remarks, and any racist and xenophobic narratives from this administration. We also ask every astronomer to do everything in their power to protect those colleagues who are directly affected by these narratives, within our borders and abroad. To best support our fellow astronomers from the Global South[1], based both in the United States and abroad, we recommend the following actions:
  • Recruit, retain and promote astronomers from Global South countries. This includes actively seeking to attract applicants from those countries, not dismissing applications and requests for mentoring from astronomers in these countries, and interrogating any unconscious biases we might hold against them.
  • Organize conferences in a way that includes astronomers from Global South countries. These could be done by selecting locations accessible to them, or by providing opportunities to present at venues using teleconference technology. 
  • Support organizations that broaden participation in the Global South and that enhance bridges from citizens of those countries to pursue opportunities in the Global North (please see below for a list).
  • Support students and colleagues that have themselves immigrated or are part of families that have immigrated from the Global South to the Global North; this especially includes people who are under threat of forced (and potentially life-threatening) deportation.
  • Educate yourselves about issues on colonialism, imperialism and neoliberalism - which explains how the world is economically structured to benefit the Global North to the detriment of the Global South. Instead of blaming them for being poor, recognize that those of us in wealthy countries benefit from their exploitation (please see below for list).
  • Call your representatives in congress to denounce the xenophobic and racist narratives and policies by this administration, and to propose and support policies that support people from the Global South that align with the international Refugee Convention and Protocol, to which most Global North countries (including the US) are legal signatories [2].
To all astronomers affected by these narratives, and these policies, we support you and we will continue to fight for you. Thank you.

January 18th, 2018 

Signatories,

Profe Jorge Moreno
Dra. Nicole Cabrera Salazar
Dr. Lia Corrales
Professor Jillian Bellovary
Professor Kim Coble
Professor Aparna Venkatesan
Professor Adam Burgasser
Charee Peters
Professor Alyson Brooks
Professor John Asher Johnson
Professor Kathryne Daniel 
Dr. Keith Hawkins

[1] Global South: In reference to countries facing the effects of centuries of colonialism and imperialism by western powers. Haiti, El Salvador, and African Union countries all fall under this umbrella term. 
-- Mitlin, Diana; Satterthwaite, David (2013). Urban Poverty in the Global South: Scale and Nature. Routledge. p. 13. ISBN 9780415624664.

[2] Refugee status is defined in the 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees; see the combined 1951 Convetion and 1967 Protocol on the UNHCR website.

Links and resources (additions are welcome)

To Support Scientists in the Global South:


On Colonialism and Science:


We wish to thank Lamiya Ashraf Mowla, Rohan Naidu and Alicia Aarnio for supplying some of the above links. We request additional links from the community. Thank you.

Disclaimer: The above signatories are private citizens exercising their constitutional right to express their personal views. This is not an official statement by the American Astronomical Society nor the Committee on the Status of Minorities in Astronomy and should not be construed as such.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

People of Color Presenting at AAS: Friday



We at Astronomy in Color are proud to highlight presenters at the January 2018 AAS meeting who identify as People of Color.  We'll be posting daily.  If you would like to be included, please fill out your information using this google form.  An itinerary has also been created on the AAS Meeting schedule page, go to View the Online Program and type in "People of Color" (case sensitive) as the itinerary name.  Select "view your itinerary" to see all presentations.

PoC Presentations on Friday, January 12

Talks

Kate Daniel (Bryn Mawr College)
Faculty
425.05: "Scaling Relations for the Efficiency of Radial Migration in Disk Galaxies"
2:50 pm

Christopher Moore (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics)
Postdoc
402.03D: "The Miniature X-ray Solar Spectrometer (MinXSS) CubeSats: instrument capabilities and early science analysis on the quiet Sun, active regions, and flares"
10:20 am

**Kelby Palencia (University of Puerto Rico - Mayaguez)
Undergraduate
429.01: "ALFAZOA Deep HI Survey to Identify Galaxies in the ZOA 37° ≦ l ≦ 43° and -2.5° ≦ b ≦ 3°"
2:00 pm

**Manisha Shrestha (University of Denver)
Graduate Student
424.06D: "Polarized bow shocks reveal features of the winds and environments of massive stars"
3:10 pm

Posters

Amalya Johnson (Columbia University / SDSS FAST)
Undergraduate
425.08: "The Stellar Kinematics of E+A Galaxies in SDSS IV-MaNGA"

Estefania Padilla (Cal State - San Bernardino)
Undergraduate
442.09: "Structured Antireflective Coating for Silicon at Submillimeter Frequencies"

Karen Perez (Cornell University)
Undergraduate
452.01: "Multi-Wavelength Study of Jets in Coronal Holes"

Lynnae Quick (National Air and Space Museum)
Staff Scientist
439.21: "The Potential for Volcanism and Tectonics on Extrasolar Terrestrial Planets"


** these people are applying for the Next Level (grad school, postdocs, etc)

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

People of Color Presenting at AAS: Thursday




We at Astronomy in Color are proud to highlight presenters at the January 2018 AAS meeting who identify as People of Color.  We'll be posting daily.  If you would like to be included, please fill out your information using this google form.  An itinerary has also been created on the AAS Meeting schedule page, go to View the Online Program and type in "People of Color" (case sensitive) as the itinerary name.  Select "view your itinerary" to see all presentations.

PoC Presentations on Thursday, January 11

Talks

**Kirk Barrow (Georgia Tech)
Graduate Student
327.05D: "Caius: Synthetic Observations Using a Robust End-to-End Radiative Transfer Pipeline"
2:50 pm

Lia Corrales (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
Einstein Fellow
429.06: "Modern Progress and Modern Problems in High Resolution X-ray Absorption from the Cold Interstellar Medium"
3:20pm

Jacob Luhn (Penn State: non-PoC student mentored by PoC Professor Fabienne Bastienne)
Graduate Student
303.03: "Radial Velocities of Subgiant Stars and New Astrophysical Insights into RV Jitter"
10:20 am

Moiya McTier (Columbia University)
Graduate Student
310.07: "Introducing Exotopography"
11:20 am

**Steven Villanueva Jr. (The Ohio State University)
Graduate Student
314.02D: "The DEdicated MONitor of EXotransits and Transients (DEMONEXT): a Robotic Observatory for Follow-Up of Transiting Exoplanets, Transients, and Time-Series Photometry"
10:10 am

Panels


Jarita Holbrook (University of Western Cape)
Faculty
335.01: "The AAS Committee on the Status of Women: Then and Now and Where Do We Go from Here?"
2pm

Jarita Holbrook (University of Western Cape)
Faculty
Q&A: Black Suns film screening
7:30 pm

Posters

Aurora Cid (CUNY - College of Staten Island / AstroCom NYC)
Undergraduate
349.35: "Probing the Long Timescale Evolution of Magnetic Activity of Ultracool Dwarfs"

Lina Florez (University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign)
Undergraduate
362.07: "Characterizing Sky Spectra Using SDSS BOSS Data"

**Monica Gallegos (UC - Santa Cruz)
Undergraduate
 347.19: "Tidal Disruptions of Main Sequence Stars: Inferences from the Composition of the Fallback Material"

Eileen Gonzales (CUNY Graduate Center)
Graduate Student
349.37: "Examining Cloud, Metallicity, and Gravity signatures in Brown Dwarfs"

**KeShawn Ivory (Rice University)
Undergraduate
354.06: "Optimizing Methods of Obtaining Stellar Parameters for the H3 Survey"

**Jonathan Mercedes Feliz (CUNY Lehman College / AstroCom NYC)
Undergraduate
 347.15: "Black Holes in Dwarf Galaxy Mergers"

Ferah Munshi (Vanderbilt University / University of Oklahoma)
Faculty
340.10: "Marvel-ous Dwarfs: Results from Four Heroically Large Simulated Volumes of Dwarf Galaxies"

**Teresa Panurach (CUNY Hunter / AstroCom NYC)
Undergraduate
349.01: "Blue Stragglers and Other Stars of Mass Consumption in Globular Clusters"

Jaimee-Ian Rodriguez (CUNY Hunter / AstroCom NYC)
Undergraduate
340.13: "Simulating Supernovae Driven Outflows in Dwarf Galaxies"

Jennifer Stafford (The Ohio State University)
Undergraduate
347.20: "Interactions of Stellar-Mass Black Holes Around Supermassive Black Hole Binaries"

**Jahreem Thompson (University of the Virgin Islands)
Undergraduate
355.55: "Development of a New X-Ray Polarization Detection Device"

**JP Ventura (CUNY Hunter / AstroCom NYC)
Undergraduate
349.39: "Investigating the Spectroscopic Variability of Magentically Active M Dwarfs In SDSS"




** These people are applying for the Next Level (grad school, postdocs, etc)

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

People of Color Presenting at AAS: Wednesday




We at Astronomy in Color are proud to highlight presenters at the January 2018 AAS meeting who identify as People of Color.  We'll be posting daily.  If you would like to be included, please fill out your information using this google form.  An itinerary has also been created on the AAS Meeting schedule page, go to View the Online Program and type in "People of Color" (case sensitive) as the itinerary name.  Select "view your itinerary" to see all presentations.

PoC Presentations on Wednesday, January 10

Talks

**Amruta Jaodand (University of Amsterdam)
Graduate Student
233.05D: "Transitional millisecond pulsars in the low-level accretion state" 
2:50pm

Posters

**Michael Bueno (Haverford College/ Banneker Aztlán Institute)
Undergraduate
 257.16: "Tracing Cold Molecular Gas in Starburst Galaxies"

**Aracely Cobos (Cal State East Bay/CAMPARE/Carnegie Observatories)
 Undergraduate
252.11: Mapping the filaments in NGC 1275

 **Jorge Cortes (Columbia University)
Post-Baccalaureate
246.19: "Probing LSST's Ability to Detect Planets Around White Dwarfs"

**Aylin Garcia Soto (Wesleyan University)
Undergraduate
244.12: "Photometric Follow-up of Eclipsing Binary Candidates from KELT and Kepler"

**Tenley Hutchinson-Smith (Spelman College)
Undergraduate
250.12: Visibility of Active Galactic Nuclei in the Illustris Simulation

 **Bethlee Lindor (Princeton University)
Undergraduate
246.12: HAT-P-68b: A Transiting Hot Jupiter Around a K5 Dwarf Star

Raquel Martinez (University of Texas - Austin)
Graduate Student
 246.25: Searching for the Elusive Optical Photospheric Continuum of the Enigmatic Wide-Orbit Tertiary Companion to FW Tau with HET LRS2

**Roberto Moncada (CUNY City College of New York / AstroCom NYC)
Undergraduate
251.01: "Gamma-ray Spectra of Starburst Galaxies"

 **Syeda Nasim (CUNY Hunter College / AstroCom NYC)
Undergraduate
250.18: "Grinding Down Stars and Stellar Remnants Into Accretion Disks"

Angelica Rivera (Drexel University)
Graduate Student
250.24: Investigating Quasar Diversity using UV, X-ray, and Emission-line Properties

Bryce Van Ross (Cal State - Los Angeles)
Undergraduate
246.22: Improvement on Exoplanet Detection Methods and Analysis via Gaussian Process Fitting Techniques

 **Ashley Walker (Chicago State University)
Undergraduate
257.08: "Hydrogen Cyanide In Protoplanetary Disks"


** These people are applying to the Next Level (graduate school, postdocs, etc)

 

Monday, January 8, 2018

People of Color presenting at AAS: Tuesday




We at Astronomy in Color are proud to highlight presenters at the January 2018 AAS meeting who identify as People of Color.  We'll be posting daily.  If you would like to be included, please fill out your information using this google form.  An itinerary has also been created on the AAS Meeting schedule page, go to View the Online Program and type in "People of Color" (case sensitive) as the itinerary name.  Select "view your itinerary" to see all presentations.

PoC Presentations on Tuesday, January 9

Talks

Quianah Joyce (University of the Virgin Islands)
Undergraduate
107.08: "What is the difference between an ultra-long GRB and a long GRB?"
11:20am

Rodolfo Montez (Smithosonian Astrophysical Observatory)
Staff Scientist
4:15pm, NASA Hyperwall
"Multiwavelength Views of the Late Stages of Stellar Evolution"

Posters

Jonisha Aubain (University of the Virgin Islands)
Undergraduate
153.23: "Gamma-ray Burst X-ray Flares Light Curve Fitting"

**José Flores Velazquez (Cal Poly-Pomona / CIERA Northwestern REU)
Undergraduate
136.04: "Star Formation Rate Indicators in the FIRE Galaxy Formation Simulations"

**Alexander Fortenberry (University of the Virgin Islands / TAURUS)
Undergraduate
153.24: "Tackling The Dragon: Investigating Lensed Galaxy Structure"

Elizabeth Gutiérrez (University of Texas - Austin)
Undergraduate
136.06: "Radio Interferometry with the SMA: Uncovering Hidden Star Formation in Our Extreme Galactic Center"

Betsy Hernandez (AMNH / NAC)
Post-Baccalaureate
149.26: "Metallicities of z ~2 Galaxies From the 3D-HST Survey"

**Juan-Carlos Martinez (University of the Virgin Islands)
Undergraduate
153.22: "Exploring the Pulse Structure of the Gamma-Ray Bursts from the Swift Burst Alert Telescope"

**Brian Merino (San Francisco State University)
Student
149.13: "Clumpy star formation in gravitationally lensed galaxies at 0.5 < z <1.0"

**Chris Murphy (University of the Virgin Islands)
Undergraduate
151.08: "Real-time Automatic Search for Multi-wavelength Counterparts of DWF Transients"

Winonah Ojanen (College of St. Scholastica / SDSS FAST)
Undergraduate
149.60: "E+A Galaxy Properties and Post-Starburst Galaxy Evolution Data through SDSS-IV MaNGA and Illustris: A Co-Analysis"

**Adrianna Perez (Cal State - Dominguez Hills)
Undergraduate
149.54: "Star Formation in Merging Galaxies Using FIRE"

**Francis Rivera (CUNY Lehman / AstroCom NYC)
 Undergraduate
158.12: "The Possibility That M dwarfs are Gamma Ray Emitters"

Niko Thomashow (Oberlin College)
Undergraduate
136.10: Two-Decade Monitoring of MWC349 in Optical and Radio: New Results

David Zegeye (Haverford College)
Undergraduate
149.20: "The Evolution of Galaxies Through the Spatial Distribution of Their Globular Clusters: the Brightest Galaxies in Fornax"

iPosters

**Teresa Monsue (Vanderbilt University)
Graduate Student
158.07: "Multi-wavelength Observations of Solar Acoustic Waves Near Active Regions"

** R. Zachary Murray (Cornell University)
Undergraduate
158.10: "Simulations of Tidally Driven Formation of Binary Planet Systems"

** This person is applying for the Next Level (grad school, postdocs, etc)

Thursday, January 4, 2018

CSMA Activities at the January 2018 AAS Meeting

Image result for gaylord national harbor

The CSMA is sponsoring four activities at the 231st AAS meeting, taking place January 8-12 2018 in National Harbor, Maryland.  Registration is still open for the workshops and we would love to see you there.   If you're not able to register online, you can email Lynn Ervin (lynn.ervin@aas.org) to inquire about signing up.

Sunday 1-5pm
Everyday Anti-Racism: Tools and Ideas to Combat Racism in Astronomy Departments and Organizations
Fee: $35
Potomac Ballroom 2

Monday 10:30am - 3:30pm
Teaching for Equity
Fee: $0
Chesapeake 8

Monday 2-4pm
Thriving in Grad School as a Marginalized Student
Fee:  $0 
Potomac Ballroom 2

Tuesday 6:00 - 7:30 pm
CSMA Meet and Greet
Chesapeake 7-8

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Bears Ears National Monument: A Statement

In 2016 President Barak Obama proclaimed the Bears Ears region of southeastern Utah to be a US National Monument of 1.35 million acres. The proclamation came after years of work of five local tribes and their allies to create an unprecedented cooperative governing organization to protect America’s most significant and unprotected land of archaeological and cultural antiquities, the ancient heritage of tribal people who have lived in the area for millennia.

The Intertribal Coalition provided for collaborative management by the tribes and the federal government, on a basis of equality, something that has never been done before. Both western science and Indigenous traditional knowledge would be given equal weight in decision-making. As Jim Enote, Zuni tribal member and Director of A:shiwi A:waan Museum and Heritage Center explains, “Decision making by those who are intimately tied to the wellbeing of these places could finally yield an entirely new era of sensitive and responsive land management.

Navajos like Mark Maryboy interviewed many elders in the past 10 years, including many members of my own family. He collected stories of how the lands of the Bears Ears were used by the People for ceremonial purposes, medicinal plant gathering, hunting, wood gathering, protection, and spiritual well being. The Navajo and other tribes protected the ancient dwellings on the land, and did not damage the remains of buildings and humans in any way. It grieves the Navajos who live close to the Bears Ears that local non-Indians have been plundering and damaging these dwellings and graves for close to 100 years.

The Bears Ears region has been cooperatively managed for the entire year since the land was proclaimed a National Monument. Many healing ceremonies and social gatherings have been held there, and the land is beginning to heal. Many generations of Dine people have joyfully gathered there in all seasons to celebrate the beginning of the Bears Ears National Monument.

Now, in December 2017, with the stroke of a pen, President Trump has eliminated close to 2,000,000 acres, which is most of the Bears Ears National Monument and the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument in southern Utah.. This most unfortunate decision has left the region wide open to plundering graves, damaging priceless ancient rock art, pulling down buildings, 4 wheel excursions, mining including fracking and extracting uranium from the ground, in an area where hundreds of Indian and non-Indian miners and their generation of descendants have died from uranium related cancers and other diseases. Trump’s decision will lead to desecration and heartbreak. It demonstrates to Native Americans that their lands and values mean very little to the US Government. It gives Native American youth less and less hope for their own futures.

There is overwhelming support among the five local tribes of the Intertribal Coalition, including Navajo (Dine) Nation, Hopi, Pueblo of Zuni, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, Ute Indian and others. The US courts have not weighed in on the matter since the Antiquities Act’s passage 111 years ago. That law authorizes presidents to unilaterally set aside public lands to protect “objects of historic and scientific interest,” which President Barack Obama used to designate the 1.35 million acres in San Juan County last year. The five tribes — Hopi, Navajo Nation, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, Pueblo of Zuni and Ute Indian — pushed for the monument status and are suing Trump and members of his administration for splitting the designation into two areas that comprise less than 202,000 acres. In a brief visit to Utah, the president also trimmed Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument by nearly 900,000 acres.

There is much support to fight this presidential proclamation by Donald Trump and his Department of the Interior. Large corporations who support economic justice, such as Patagonia, have stood up and supported a grass roots movement to put back the 2,000,000 acres into Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante in Southern Utah National Monuments. The five tribes are filing their own lawsuits against the President’s recent decision. Responsible people across the nation and internationally, are calling for the repeal of the President’s proclamation.

A legal basis of the fight for social and economic justice rest on the central argument that only Congress, not the President, has the legal authority to diminish National Monuments.

The Indigenous Education Institute stands proudly among those who will carry on this fight for social and economic justice. We ask you to join us in the restoration of public lands for Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante.

Nancy C. Maryboy, PhD

Nancy Maryboy is the Founding President and Executive Director of the Indigenous Education Institute, a non profit organization with a mission of preserving, protecting and applying indigenous knowledge.

Disclaimer: This is not an official statement by the American Astronomical Society nor the Committee on the Status of Minorities in Astronomy and should not be construed as such.