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Organic Chemistry: A Retrosynthetic Approach to a Diverse Field


This editorial was written by junior faculty members in the summer months of 2020 during a confluence of global events. While facing a worldwide pandemic, we began to confront the ways that a racist, sexist, and xenophobic culture continues to shape our field. We came together at first not to write an editorial, but to find a sense of community, forming a cohesive peer-mentoring network during social isolation at the onset of the pandemic. While we identify with distinct academic and personal backgrounds, we found solidarity in conversations discussing our independent careers, how they abruptly changed, and how to mentor and support our students in the wake of social unrest. The publication of the Hudlicky perspective amidst magnified Black Lives Matter and LGBTQ+ movements, along with overt white supremacy and unjust immigration policies, triggered a swift and uniformly strong reaction among us. Many of us have been victims of the destructive norms that pervade our field; all of us have witnessed them in practice. We unanimously agree that they must not be a part of our future. What we wish to share is our thoughts on how we might change the organic chemistry community for the better as a collection of steadfast voices. In doing so, we join with many of our colleagues in condemning exclusionary and inequitable traditions. Yet, our position as rising leaders in this community demands an even greater responsibility to future generations of scientists, work that we joyfully take up to honor the commitments of the mentors, families, and friends who have lifted us up to where we are now. Each author of this Editorial commits to making a positive change in their group and at their school, and we will hold each other accountable over the course of our careers.

Laura K. G. Ackerman-Biegasiewicz, Daniela M. Arias-Rotondo, Kyle F. Biegasiewicz, Elizabeth Elacqua, Matthew R. Golder, Laure V. Kayser, Jessica R. Lamb, Christine M. Le, Nathan A. Romero, Sidney M. Wilkerson-Hill, and Dwight A. Williams. ACS Central Science, 2020, 6 (11), 1845-1850

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