In DepthScience Activism

In its second year, March for Science grows up

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Science  06 Apr 2018:
Vol. 360, Issue 6384, pp. 12-13
DOI: 10.1126/science.360.6384.12

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The March for Science has grown up. What began last year as a primal scream against newly elected U.S. President Donald Trump and his policies shows signs of becoming a movement. This year's second worldwide event, set for 14 April, will likely feature fewer sites and smaller crowds. But the passion remains, transforming a single day of grassroots mass protest into sustained global expressions of support for science. From its origins as an ad hoc, all-volunteer body, the March for Science now has a paid staff of 10 scattered around the United States. (AAAS, which publishes Science, is a major sponsor.) Its portfolio includes giving those on its 230,000-strong mailing list a chance to endorse online petitions to legislators on timely topics (last week's letter urged Congress to support research on gun violence), a Vote for Science campaign that highlights a different issue each month, and an upcoming national summit for local activists. Next month, the group will award its first cohort of small grants to seed a handful of grassroots projects. Many of its so-called satellite marches—hundreds sprung up in advance of the 2017 event—are also diversifying, creating nonprofit organizations that have become year-round advocates for science in their communities.