An Open Letter to Our Community on MOVE Victims and Biological Anthropology

In July, our association issued an open letter in support of Black Lives Matter, which followed a 2019 statement on race and racism. Today, we are restating the importance of aligning our actions with our words. The use of victims of police violence among the members of the MOVE organization in a forensic anthropology course affiliated with Princeton University, University of Pennsylvania, and an online education vendor (Coursera), was wrong.

The power structures that created and sustain our current institutions and disciplines reify the exploitative and racist structures within biological anthropology and many other disciplines; these need to be dismantled.

We are an organization and a community committed to challenging race, and to respecting personhood and human variation. We will work to redress our complicit actions in systems of racial and other oppressions. We will invest Association resources in furthering matters of inclusion, equity, and social justice. In light of these specific events, we will prioritize updating our ethical guidance around human remains. We will invite all our members to contribute to these efforts as we move forward.

Steve Leigh, President, AABA

Anne Grauer, Past President, AABA