On Friday February 17, nine stand-and-repeat banners each standing over six feet high and nearly three feet wide were revealed to onlookers at Cafe Med. On them, blown up headshots of members of the Yale Black Postdoctoral Association (YBPA) seemed to beam with pride, displaying inspirational quotes from the individuals below them.
“The impact of the posters truly exceeded all my expectations,” said Brionna Davis-Reyes, PhD. “The response has been overwhelmingly positive, and I’m glad that we could focus a spotlight on the amazing Black scholars at Yale who have contributed so much during the course of their careers and in the DEI space.”
Davis-Reyes, alongside Chrystal Starbird, PhD, and Aileen Fernandez, PhD, founded YBPA in 2020, during the height of the coronavirus pandemic. Their goal was to uplift and support Black postdocs and scholars, with the understanding that the organization could evolve based on the unique needs from groups traditionally underrepresented in science. Currently, YBPA has active members from multiple races and ethnicities. They focus on visibility, outreach, community, and career development, and regularly integrate feedback from their members to determine what events or initiatives they pursue.
The idea for the display came from the early days of the group’s formation, but due to time constraints it was eventually tabled. When the new executive board was created, the founding members passed the idea along, and De-Shaine Murray, PhD, YBPA’s current visibility chair, rose to the challenge in partnership with the YSM Office of Diversity, Equity Inclusion.
“Having designed and collated these banners after a discussion with Dr. Starbird about her vision for such a campaign, I knew the banners would be powerful and impactful, but seeing them together filled me with pride and a sense of defiance,” said Murray. “It is not a secret that there aren’t many Black postdocs here at Yale but as with our banners standing together, we stand together, as a celebration of those who are here and as a beacon for those who are to come.”
“Seeing these banners gives me such pride as a member of YBPA and it is such an honor to be shown alongside such strong, Black scientists,” said Kristyn Carter, PhD. “When we were hanging the banners, a member of the custodial team, a Black man, was in awe and wanted to shake mine and Dr. Murray's hands - he was so proud of us! There are no words to fully encapsulate how proud I am of this group and Dr. Murray for organizing this, but I am forever grateful and hope it has a ripple effect on the greater Yale community!”
For more information about the YBPA and their initiatives, visit https://medicine.yale.edu/dive...