That all said, you may still be wondering whether the subject is appropriate for a Telluride Town Talk. This question is actually two-sided: Why should molecular scientists spend their time working on these issues rather than focusing on their molecular research? Why should the public care about how a professional discipline is addressing diversity inequities within their ranks?
The truth is that the professional practices of a discipline need to be changed from within, and that means that chemists must be the drivers to the change. The most obvious symptom of the diversity inequities present within the chemical sciences lies in the low numbers of women and under-represented minorities among the academic and professional ranks of chemists in comparison with the demographics of our nation. With the population of under-represented minorities increasing, the need for them to have access to chemistry careers becomes an economic necessity for our nation. Otherwise, our nation will be drawing its talent of future scientists from a shrinking pool. So chemistry departments must become attractive and accomodating destinations for students and faculty whose backgrounds are as diverse as that of our nation. Meanwhile we need the general public to be supportive of the molecular sciences as a viable career choice. Otherwise, students will choose other professions leaving the sciences without some of the best minds. Thus we need a partnership between chemists and the public to advance diversity in the molecular sciences. As for the public, they should care not just because this mission is important to the nation, but also because the diversity inequities that we are finding are relevant in to all professions and organizations.