'No Time for Silence' team honored for work on anti-racism initiative

Matthew Carroll
December 15, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State professor Jose D. Fuentes has received an American Geophysical Union 2020 Presidential Citation as part of the team that launched the anti-racism initiative "No Time for Silence."

Established in 2012, the presidential citation honors individuals or groups who work to connect science to the broader public. The award, announced last week at the AGU Fall Meeting, was shared by the teams leading "No Time for Silence" and "Call for a Robust Anti-Racism Plan for the Geosciences."

“This group recognition shows that prestigious professional societies are saying these important issues in our field deserve attention and action,” said Fuentes, a professor of atmospheric science. “By granting this recognition, they are now indicating that they are serious about this work. And to us, that’s the meaningful message.”

"No Time for Silence" is a call to action to combat racism and to achieve greater inclusion and equity across the geosciences. Led by Vernon Morris, a professor of chemistry and environmental sciences at Arizona State University, the initiative includes activists and academics from across the United States.

“This is an immensely challenging national problem that has been brewing for hundreds of years in our country,” Fuentes said. “The specificity of this call is that it is now time to act.”

Fuentes said previous approaches have failed to address issues of racism systemically. As part of his work with the team, Fuentes helped craft specific recommendations for scientific professional societies, governmental funding agencies and leading universities.

“We thank Jose for his work advancing the goals of equity and inclusion in geosciences,” said Lee Kump, John Leone Dean in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences. “Fuentes’ and his colleagues’ work provides inspiration for the efforts the college and University are initiating, as discussed in the recent University town hall on racism, bias and community safety and our own seminar series on diversity in environmental sciences.”

Penn State’s Select Presidential Commission on Racism, Bias, and Community Safety and the Student Code of Conduct Task Force recently released draft recommendations to help address problems of racism, bias, and intolerance, and those recommendations were discussed at the recent town hall.

“As Jose has stated, and as the commission report and the town hall make clear, clarity of purpose, commitment to action and accountability are all essential to implementing the needed structural solutions and becoming the University we aspire to,” said Tom Richard, director of the Institutes of Energy and the Environment. “We are lucky to have national leaders like professor Fuentes to help guide this institutional transformation.”

Fuentes studies key interactions among flora, fauna and the atmosphere and their role in regional and global environmental changes. And while he is a leader in his field, he’s also known as a tireless advocate of diversity in science.

“I greatly appreciate and admire Jose for all that he does to help us work together in developing a community where all belong,” said David Stensrud, head of the Department of Meteorology and Atmospheric Science.

Fuentes previously received the Charles E. Anderson Award from the American Meteorological Society honoring outstanding contributions in promoting diversity in science through education and community service.

“I am incredibly proud of the impact that Jose is making at the national level to combat anti-racism,” said Jenni Evans, professor of meteorology and atmospheric science and director of the Institute for Computational and Data Sciences. “Jose is putting Penn State on the map as an institution committed to combating racism in science and engineering. I hope that we are living up to this recognition.”

  • Penn State professor Jose Fuentes

    Jose Fuentes, professor of atmospheric science at Penn State, is a member of the team behind the anti-racism initiative No Time for Silence. 

    IMAGE: Penn State

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated December 16, 2020