ASHG Shares Anguish and Anger Over Tragic Deaths

I write to you today on behalf of the ASHG Board of Directors. The anguish and anger over the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless other people have generated protests and violence in U.S. communities and around the world. In support of our mission to advance human genetics and genomics through research, healthcare, and policy, we reach out to our membership to acknowledge the wrenching pain current events are causing the nation and our community. We share feelings of outrage, helplessness, social injustice, sadness, and worry for one another, our families, and our communities.

These events are occurring amidst the COVID-19 pandemic that is inflicting disproportionate illness and death on people from marginalized ancestries. While we are committed to leading and supporting genetics and genomics research related to COVID-19, we know that the inequities exposed by the pandemic and the events this week extend far beyond science. They reach much deeper to core experiences and history in our larger society that have their roots in flawed, racist concepts of exaggerated differences among people. Genetics in fact confirms we are very much the same. The ASHG issued a major statement in 2018 denouncing the misuse of genetics to foment division. This statement remains essential and is of the utmost relevance today.

ASHG is committed, deeply and actively, to long-term diversity and inclusion efforts and we welcome continued feedback on what is working and what we can do better.  We are also humbled by the recognition that these actions by ASHG are a small part of the solution to the enormous challenges posed by racism in America. Please know we stand with those who are hurt, harmed, dispossessed or grieving through this time. And we continue to stay united, supportive, and proactive to positively influence human genetics and the community we serve, as well as the nations and world in which we live.

I invite you to share your thoughts with me and the Board. Please email me at

On behalf of the ASHG Board of Directors

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