The March for Science is coming to Phoenix: Are you ready?

Organizers are putting the finishing touches on the event for Saturday

Science enthusiasts will gather at the March for Science on Earth Day, April 22. While the main march will occur in Washington, D.C., it has spread across the nation to sister city rallies, including in Phoenix.

People who support scientific research and evidence-based policies are preparing to take a stand, according to the March for Science. Cities such as San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York City already have social media pages with posts updating supporters.

The event in Phoenix will begin with a rally at Cesar Chavez Memorial Plaza at 10 a.m. The march itself will take place an hour later, followed by a science fair.

There is an official "March for Science — Phoenix” Facebook page with over 4,000 members. The local event has agreed to coordinate with the main march Washington.

The site describes the march as “a diverse, nonpartisan group that defends and celebrates publicly funded and publicly accessible science as a foundation of American freedom and prosperity.”

John Spence, a regents' professor and the Richard Snell professor of physics at ASU said, “Scientists must stand up for scientific truth."

“It is shameful to have the leader of the wealthiest country on Earth in denial of global warming, because it is a real threat to humankind,” Spence said.

Nucleus test 800

GIF by Jerry Liu Studio

According to Don Balanzat, one of the five core organizers of the March for Science in Phoenix, the team started planning the details for the event at the end of January.

He is a physicist and described himself at a crossroads between science, education and communication.

The last straw for Balanzat, and other supporters of science, was when the Trump administration sent gag orders to at least four government agencies.

By doing so, none of the agencies involved can send news releases or post anything on social media without the consent of senior officials.

“The goal is to incorporate science into politics," Balanzat said.

Balanzat said he is anticipating “a push for scientists to run for office and to verify things are based on evidence.”

Although the march remains bipartisan, the new presidential administration has appeared on various headlines, such as discussing the repeal on the "stream protection rule", said Balanzat. The Senate voted in favor to revoke the regulation that limited companies from dumping mining waste in streams.

Sedona Maniak is another one of the organizers of the March for Science. She is a wildlife biologist specializing in herpetology and environmental compliance.

“We only have about $2,000 dollars left to pay for our entire budget,” Maniak said. 

“We were selling bandannas and t-shirts and we also had a fundraiser drag show that did pretty well,” she added.

The organizers worked with a graphic designer who volunteered to create the design for the event’s merchandise, she said.

Rep. Ruben Gallego is one of several political leaders who will speak at the event. Laura Greene, an executive board member on the American Physical Society council, will also attend.

“(Greene) is a well-recognized physicist in the area of material physics and condensed matter," Maniak said.

Now the team is just working on the finishing touches for the event, she said.

“I am getting confirmations for booths, we have over 35 registered for the science fair,” Maniak said. “We are pretty much there, right now we are trying to reach out as much press as we can,” she said.

A graduate student at ASU’s School of Earth and Space Exploration Sridhar Niverty, said scientists have been always given the backseat when it comes to research and funding. He said he hopes the march is a step toward improvement.

“If it is publicized well enough, I definitely think people will be interested in this,” Niverty said.


Reach the reporter jmagana5@asu.edu or follow @jennifermagana_ on Twitter.

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