Hundreds Rally in Copley Square to ‘Stand Up For Science’

Alan Macrubert of Bedford, Mass. holds a sign in Copley Square during the Rally to Stand Up for Science Sunday, Feb. 19, 2017. "Of all the signs I thought I'd have to hold, I didn't think this would be it," said Macrubert. Photo by Alexandra Wimley/BU News Service

By Vaishnavee Sharma
BU News Service

Hundreds convened in Boston’s Copley Square on Sunday, in a show of solidarity with the scientific community, to protest against what organizers highlighted in a press release as “the attacks on climate science and the Environmental Protection Agency (E.P.A.) mounted by elected officials.”

Orchestrated by The Natural History Museum and, the rally was held outside of the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), one of the first major gatherings of scientists since the election. Speakers present at the event urged the public to get involved in discussions relating to science and research by combating fake news, and the Trump administration’s policies- including the muzzling of scientists, the recent immigration ban, and the appointment of former Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt as head of the E.P.A.

“Scientists are heroes – they solve problems and protect the people and places we love,” said Beka Economopoulos, director of The Natural History Museum.

“Health care, climate science, and research on lead levels and water quality all protect people,” she said. “The Trump administration’s attacks on science are attacks on our families, our communities, and our collective future.”

Most speakers were members of the scientific community and were dressed in white lab coats, holding up signs in the shape of beakers and clip-boards that read “SCIENTISTS SPEAKING TRUTH TO POWER.”

“By silencing science and scientists,” said Quita Sullivan, an environmental justice lawyer, and a member of the Montaukett Tribe of Long Island, New York, “opponents hope to pretend that they are not damaging the earth, that they are not contributing to global climate change, that they are not putting lives and cultures of low income communities and communities of color in danger, and pretend that they can continue as they were before being confronted.”

The rally came a day after The Boston Globe reported that rising sea levels may force city officials to build a protective sea barrier around the Boston Harbor.

Attendee Virginia Pratt, 59, said “Climate Change is our biggest challenge and I am absolutely horrified by the current administration’s attempts to turn back the clock and ignore its perils.”

Pratt stated she was in support of filmmaker Michael Moore’s call for “100 days of resistance” against the Trump administration.

Gabriel Cadamuro, 25, a student at the University of Washington, was at the rally and said that the Trump administration has been showing “a lack of understanding, a willful disregard that represents a turn to authoritarianism.”

Beginning at noon, the rally ended by 1:30 p.m., with members of the crowd staying behind briefly to snap pictures. The parting words to the crowd came as a chant initiated by Economopoulos: “What do we do when science and research are under attack? STAND UP FIGHT BACK!”


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