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Black Guardians of the Galaxy 

The Black In Astro Community formed through a need for support and community among predominantly early-career Black people working in astronomy. In just two years, Black In Astro has grown to have members across the globe. Its founder and organizers explain how it came about.

What led you to form Black In Astro, and what are its goals/aims?

Ashley Walker, PhD Student: After a series of police and racially motivated violence against Black people in the United States, I founded Black In Astro (BIA) (Fig. 1) in June 2020, with the primary goals of providing community, support and scholarship to Black astronomers. In addition to these goals, we also want to continue celebrating Blackness within space-related fields and to reconnect with the origins of our ancestors, who often used the stars for guidance, freedom, farming and storytelling.

Top row, from left to right: Ashley Walker (President), Howard University; Caprice Phillips (Vice President), Ohio State University; Dr Ronald S. Gamble, Jr (Vice President), NASA GSFC/University of Maryland-College Park. Bottom row, from left to right: Bryné Hadnott, MSc (Communications Officer), Stanford University; Cheyenne Polius, MSc (Social Media Coordinator), St. Lucia National Astronomy Association; KeShawn Ivory, MSc (Events Coordinator), Vanderbilt University. Credit: photography by Nathan Morgan (bottom right).

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