How to End the Pandemic: Facts, Patience and Love

By Nicole Woolcock

A common refrain resounds throughout the Black community when national hardship strikes the United States: ‘When White folks catch a cold, Black folks get pneumonia.’ That is to say, systemic racial inequities cause economic and public health issues to disproportionately impact the Black community. The coronavirus pandemic is no exception. 

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Communicating Science to Spanish Speakers: Takeaways from the July meeting of the SANDSWA Social Justice in Science Writing club

By Monica May

Aaron Burden/Unsplash

Mario Aguilera was scrolling through Twitter when a post caught his eye. UC San Diego biologist Fabian Rivera-Chávez, Ph.D., had co-written an article in Spanish for the LA Times with the goal of encouraging vaccination in the Hispanic community. Aguilera, the director of strategic communications for UC San Diego’s Division of Biological Sciences, immediately recognized the importance of the story and followed up with Rivera-Chávez.

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Highlights from the March meeting of the SANDSWA Social Justice in Science Writing club

By Monica May

Photo of a notebook and glasses
David Travis/Unsplash

Whether you are navigating getting a COVID-19 vaccine, helping children return to school or determining if you should go back to the office in person, we know this is a busy time. 

In an effort to share insights with club members who weren’t able to make it to the March meeting of the SANDSWA Social Justice in Science Writing Club, here are highlights of our discussion that may be helpful.

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Dr. Jenni Brandon: Microplastics Pioneer and Ocean Advocate

By Nicole Woolcock

A curious, shining object glimmers through the tentacle-like arms of a knotted pile of kelp along the beach. Upon further inspection of the object, a pang of sadness dims the original excitement of coming across an interesting beach find. This is not a dazzling sea treasure but a piece of discarded trash. 

“Often the plastic you pick up on the beach is something you’ve used and thrown away without thinking about it,” says Dr. Jenni Brandon, biological oceanographer and microplastics expert at Applied Ocean Sciences, “so you feel personally guilty for the problem.” She explains that microplastics—tiny pieces of plastic often undetected by the human eye—are found everywhere, including our oceans, food sources, wind, and sediment. This means we are ingesting microplastics every day.

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SANDSWA Racial Justice Statement

The board of the San Diego Science Writers Association (SANDSWA) condemns violence and racism, and we are angered by the increase in hate crimes across our country targeting communities of color.

In the past year, there have been 3,800 reported anti-Asian racist incidents — only a fraction of the incidents that actually occur due to underreporting — and women comprised 68% of those reports. On March 16, mass shootings at three different businesses in the Atlanta, Georgia area left eight people dead, six of whom were women of Asian descent. These women were Hyun Jung Grant, Xiaojie Tan, Daoyou Feng, Suncha Kim, Soon Chung Park and Yong Ae Yue. Delaina Ashley Yaun and Paul Andre Michels were also killed in the attacks. 

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