March for Science Announces Three Honorary National Co-Chairs
WASHINGTON (Thursday, March 30) - The March for Science announced three honorary co-chairs today who will help promote the march globally, speak at its Washington, DC event and encourage others to join together to support and defend science. They are Mona Hanna-Attisha, a pediatrician who exposed dangerous lead poisoning in Flint, Michigan; Lydia Villa-Komaroff, a biologist who made critical contributions to producing insulin from bacteria, and the co-founder of the Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS), a march partner; and Bill Nye, a science educator and CEO of The Planetary Society, which is also a partner organization for the march.
March organizers have also urged participants to share a pledge to stand up for science in their communities ahead of the march date and are sharing actions people can take. The march has also published a growing FAQ. Marchers can register at marchforscience.com/rsvp for the more than 400 satellite marches happening globally.
Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha is a pediatrician and public health advocate in Flint, Michigan. When she shared her findings about lead exposure in Flint’s children, the government tried to discredit her science, calling her an “unfortunate researcher,” but she prevailed. Earlier this year, “Dr. Mona,” a first-generation Iraqi immigrant, criticized proposed immigration restrictions, emphasizing the United States’ long history of providing sanctuary, as well as the service of foreign-born physicians, many of whom practice in underserved communities.
“In Flint, the science of our water contamination was irrefutable,” Hanna-Attisha said. “As scientists and doctors we have a moral obligation to speak out in service to our communities. Likewise, the life and death implications intertwined with the science of climate change, vaccines and air pollution are moral issues. We march for science so that scientists have the freedom, like I did, to speak out, free from politicization and to continue to make the world a better place.”
Dr. Lydia Villa-Komaroff was one of the first female Mexican-Americans to obtain a Ph.D. in the natural sciences in the United States and SACNAS has, for more than 40 years, helped Chicano/Hispanic and Native American scientists attain advanced degrees and increase diversity in STEM fields. As with so much basic research, her breakthrough on insulin-producing bacteria was publicly funded, in this case through the National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health, and later commercialized by medical providers.
“In the past several centuries science has increasingly affected our lives for the better. But, as seen in Flint, the fruits of science are not always distributed equally to all communities,” she said. “Equally important, young people who live in underserved communities have not had equal opportunities to become scientists―to advance the frontiers of science, for the betterment of everyone. Science, and our society, are stronger when the people doing science reflect our society as a whole.”
Bill Nye is a science educator, mechanical engineer, New York Times bestselling author, and the creator and host of the Emmy award-winning syndicated television show Bill Nye the Science Guy. In his role as the Science Guy, Nye helped introduce the millennial generation to science and engineering in an entertaining and accessible format, fostering an understanding and appreciation for the science that makes our world work. Today, Nye is a respected champion of scientific literacy, who has challenged opponents of evidence-based education and policy on important topics like climate change and evolution. He currently serves as the CEO of The Planetary Society, the world’s largest and most influential non-profit space organization, co-founded by Carl Sagan. This spring, Nye will make his highly anticipated return to the screen in the new Netflix series Bill Nye Saves the World, available for streaming on April 21.
“We can solve problems, build extraordinary structures, explore space, fabricate exquisite instruments, and feed billions, because we have embraced science - the means by which we have come to know nature,” Nye said. “Science is the key to our future. It is in no one's best interest to ignore what we discover. Instead, we acknowledge the facts we find, celebrate discoveries, make scientifically informed, fact-based decisions, and march forward ensuring a better tomorrow for people all over the world.”
The March for Science will be held on April 22 all around the world. Organizers are encouraging people to register online, support the march, and follow the March’s social media accounts on Twitter and Facebook for more updates.