In the context of the ongoing murders of Black people, the American Mathematical Society expresses its shame and grief. We condemn these most recent installments in a recurring American story. In expressing our sadness, we recognize that the commitment of the AMS to be an inclusive community and to speak out against injustice has not always been matched by corresponding actions.
The AMS is an organization with shameful episodes in its long history, some of which are well-documented. We apologize for these mistakes, while realizing that this apology is not complete without a clear recognition of the depth and breadth of our mistakes.
We establish today a task force to understand this facet of the history of the AMS. Acknowledging our mistakes is not enough: we must also work to remedy them. The task force is also charged with listening to and seeking input from the mathematics community, specifically from Black mathematicians. These conversations will form the basis for actions that the AMS can undertake to rectify the systemic inequities in the mathematics community. The full charge of the committee can be found here.
At the same time we cannot just stand by and wait for change. The AMS is creating a fund to support and promote the work of Black mathematicians. One goal of the fund is the establishment of a fellowship to support the scholarship of Black mathematicians. This will be part of a broader effort to enact programs recommended by the task force. The AMS and all AMS Trustees have already made pledges to kick off the fund.
Adopted by the Council on June 12, 2020, so as to speak in the name of the American Mathematical Society.
Goals: (1) to help the mathematical community understand the historical role of the AMS in racial discrimination; (2) to consider and recommend actions addressing the impact of discrimination and inequities to the AMS Council and Board of Trustees.
To support these goals, the Task Force will gather information and resources; produce a report, and any other learning resources, for wide dissemination; and advise the Council on how to accept responsibility for the actions of the Society.
The chairs of the task force are Kasso Okoudjou and Francis Su.
March 2021: The Task Force has completed its work and has submitted its final report to AMS governance. The full report is available to read.