Science march on Saturday

In Philadelphia, science surrounds us: our region’s past is steeped in scientific tradition and our future economy depends on it.

Our region is home to 530,000 science, technology, engineering and math jobs; more than 37,000 STEM majors graduate from local colleges annually; and our scientific institutions were awarded more than $1 billion in funding from the National Institutes of Health since 2012.

Scientific institutions line the Ben Franklin Parkway (the Academy of Natural Sciences and the Franklin Institute) and extend into our communities (like the Wagner Free Institute of Science and our many universities). Our suburbs are home to countless nature centers and parks as well as companies focused on pharmaceuticals and technology. This is why we as a community must march for science on Saturday, April 22.

The nationwide March for Science movement has five overarching goals: to humanize science, support the scientific process and scientists, advocate for accessible and inclusive science, partner with the public, and enable the use of science to improve society. We recognize the vital role that science plays in our everyday lives as well as in safeguarding our future. But recent shifts in the public dialogue have demonstrated that we must have a more vocal role in supporting our work and defending its place in public policy.

As organizers of the March for Science in Philadelphia, we ask our fellow Philadelphians to join us on April 22 to stand up for science. The march begins at 11 a.m. at City Hall and proceeds to Penn’s Landing.

Our requests to our elected officials are simple:

• Maintain open access to all government-supported datasets and discoveries;

• Support our academic and research institutions with sustained research funding;

• Use peer-reviewed, broadly accepted scientific research in policymaking;

• Increase opportunities for STEM education in all communities.

The March for Science is political, but our demands are nonpartisan and our goals in the public interest. We request our government leaders in Washington, our state capitals and our town halls support the open pursuit of scientific knowledge for the greater good, and enact policies based on scientific evidence. And we advocate for a continued dialogue of science in the public space.

The March for Science in Philadelphia also acknowledges that we must do more to engage our communities and demonstrate the ways that scientific findings impact everyday life. Our goal on April 22 is larger than a simple demonstration in support for science. We will continue our advocacy by working with the incredible scientific community already in place in this area, beginning with kicking off one of our nation’s largest festivals dedicated to science education, the 7th annual Philadelphia Science Festival. We intend to expand our efforts by connecting our local scientists to the public, better communicating the scientific discoveries that have real impacts on our world, and increasing diversity and inclusion in our scientific community. We hope you’ll join us April 22 and beyond. Our future depends on standing up for science. ••

Gina Lavery

Sara Atkins

Kim Beidler

Richard Chu

Marion Leary

Janice Rael

Ashley Winslow