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Hundreds of Thousands Rallied, But Where Does the March for Science Go Now?

Washington, DC, September 19, 2017 — Lev Facher reports on STAT that the hundreds of thousands of people who rallied on the National Mall and in cities worldwide for the March for Science in April came to be noticed.

It was a march meant to demonstrate enthusiasm and political clout, and by those measures, organizers believe they succeeded.

But as two dozen of them met in New York the following month for a debrief, they faced an obvious reality: A grass-roots organization that was quickly formed to plan a singular event was not, at least immediately, equipped for far-reaching and long-term science advocacy.

“The big picture question was (and continues to be): How do we successfully transition from a march into a movement and how do we continue to mobilize our diverse, interdisciplinary, passionate supporters for science advocacy?” Caroline Weinberg, one of the national march’s co-organizers, wrote to STAT in an e-mail from Paris, where she was meeting with that city’s local march coordinators.

Facher reports that, in the coming weeks, the main organizers of the March for Science will begin to roll out their long-term strategy.

Whether they can succeed in their efforts is an open question. Six months after the march, the movement remains a nascent one, despite organizers’ pledges of sustained activism.

But the goal, organizers say, is clear: At a time when many in the community feel like science is under assault, create structures that sell and incorporate science into every level of daily life, and ensure that science advocates are recognized as a constituency at every level of government.

For now, organizers have acknowledged that changing the way science is incorporated into American society — from elementary schools to universities and from city councils to the federal government — takes more than a one-day event, and needs to be done largely on a local level.

For Facher’s full story, click here.

Follow Facher on Twitter @levfacher.

Follow STAT — which reports from the frontiers of medical innovation and science — on Twitter @statnews.