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The WECOS Lab at Northern Michigan University is located on the ancestral homelands of the Anishinaabe Three Fires Confederacy and the Anishinaabe people are among the First Peoples of the Great Lakes. The WECOS Lab recognizes the current culture and practices in the STEM fields, including within the subfield of conservation ecology, a discipline that promotes and studies biodiversity as a measure of ecosystem health, does not always welcome or support people that represent our diverse society. People who identify as LGBTQIA+, individuals with disabilities, women, and especially Black, Indigenous and other People of Color (BIPOC) are often excluded from conservation ecology or their contributions are minimized. Furthermore, systemic racism and systems of oppression throughout the United States continue to harm BIPOC, such as the recent and ongoing deaths of Black Americans at the hands of law enforcement. The WECOS Lab understands that it is our work to listen and learn from BIPOC and to confront our own biases and prejudices as we endeavor to make meaningful changes towards racial equity and inclusion, which requires dismantling systemic racism in institutions across the United States and around the world. The WECOS Lab stands in solidarity with the BLACK LIVES MATTER movement and we denounce the senseless institutionalized violence against BIPOC. The WECOS Lab will continue to advocate for justice, equity, diversity advancement, and inclusion (JEDI principles) within the Biology Department and across the NMU campus because we believe human diversity in all forms (e.g., ethnicity, race, culture, gender, sexuality, disability, age, socioeconomic status, immigration status and religion) is a resource, strength, and benefit to our shared pursuit of scientific knowledge. The WECOS Lab is committed to being part of the change that is needed within academia to promote JEDI principles and to ensure our work meets the needs of our diverse society.  Below we offer links to helpful resources to educate yourself and others  about promoting JEDI principles in higher education and beyond.  

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