Dear AIGA Detroit Community,
We represent a region of thriving Black creatives, Black culture and Black lives. For us that means now, more than ever, Black Lives Matter. It is not enough for us to not be racist, we have to be explicitly and actively anti-racist. That means working to dismantle systems of oppression and seeking justice for those wronged by these systems.
Design is a field that feels, at times, so far removed from the issues of justice and racial inequality, but the systems of oppression are designed, built, and maintained by people. Police, criminal justice, and carceral systems did not spring forth into existence fully formed, they were designed and created by people and it is our duty as designers to boycott, oppose, and work to dismantle and redesign these systems. Just as prisons need architects, every part of these networks at some time passes through the hands of a designer. Even for those of us who have not worked for these institutions directly, know that we can also be complicit in supporting violence towards the oppressed. We have the responsibility of educating ourselves to fight against the inequity within our creative community and impact our work in the world.
Activism has many forms of expression and now is the time to act on your voice – share, post, educate, donate and support. Write to your representatives, city council members, mayors, and police chiefs about the changes that we need to make. Create opportunities for communities around you. Lift up the individuals, organizations, and movements already working to make actionable change.
Please donate to some of these local resources working for justice and reforms that could use your help and support now. This is not an all-inclusive list. There are many ways you can take an active role in supporting black people and people of color. Please take a moment to do research and contribute in whatever way you can either locally or nationally.
The Detroit Justice Center is a non-profit law firm working alongside communities to create economic opportunities, transform the justice system, and promote equitable and just cities.
Michigan United organizes to build the power our communities need to win the justice they deserve. They work for an equitable and sustainable world that reflects their values of economic and racial justice.
Detroit’s Official Black Lives Matter Chapter
Lansing’s Official Black Lives Matter Chapter
Additional Influences and Resources:
We also want to acknowledge the work of Antionette Carroll and her place as a prominent activist pushing for change in the role of designers in the construction of systems and support of community. You can view her organization, The Creative Reaction Lab and see the work that they are doing to create a “youth-led, community-centered movement of a new type of Civil Leader: Redesigners for Justice.” We also recommend viewing her TED Talk on “Designing for a more equitable world.”