The killing of George Floyd, a Black man, by a white police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on 25 May 2020, and the deaths of countless other Black people at the hands of the police, combined with the disproportionate death toll of COVID-19 on Black and minority ethnic people, called the scientific and medical communities to self-reflect on pervasive systemic racism in their communities.

On 10 June, many in the scientific community joined a strike for Black lives, to take time to undergo overdue anti-racist self-education and to give Black academics who have carried this burden a day off. Elsewhere on Twitter, #blackinstem and other hashtags associated with scientific areas of research have arisen, raising the profiles of Black researchers, and highlighting the racist barriers they must overcome.