At the same time, the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd activated a national wave of demonstrations, under the Black Lives Matter banner, protesting racism and violence. In support of the black scientists and students who were tirelessly doing biomedical research, a BLM poster was attached to the inside wall of a frequently-used elevator in the Sinsheimer Building.
On June 10, 2020, the BLM poster was torn down; this act of vandalism felt particularly threatening given the fact that it is well-known that there are no security cameras in the elevator and that black scientists need to use the elevator at all hours including very late at night when they were running their experiments. New BLM signage was placed in the elevator and was repeatedly defaced and vandalized in July and August, 2020, and in February and June, 2021. Scientists of color were traumatized by the threat of vandals who were emboldened to repeatedly tear down the BLM posters with no consequences. One event, on February 6, 2021 occurred only a month after the US capital was stormed by a violent white supremacist mob, emboldened by Trump’s racist rhetoric. Furthermore, the UCSC police did not treat the BLM poster vandalism incidents as crimes, which further created distress and fear among black and other scientists of color working on Science Hill.
As part of the healing process, the Division of Physical and Biological Sciences is in the midst of transforming the culture/climate of Science Hill to protect, welcome and nurture scientists from minoritized groups. Honoring scientists of color and embracing social justice and diversity is essential for elevating scientific innovation and excellence. One step in the healing process is to ‘reclaim’ the space in Sinsheimer by installing art that celebrates our diverse identities and our common humanity.
The Sinsheimer Mural Project involves the installation of a mural on an interior wall on the first floor of Sinsheimer. The existing painting on the wall will be removed. The wall space is approximately 12.5 ft wide and 10 ft high.
We seek an artist who will create a mural that captures UCSC’s vision of science excellence, innovation and creativity, which can only be achieved in an environment that is mindful of different identities and lived-experiences, and that approaches collaboration with cultural humility and mutual respect."