AIGA Seattle stands with the Black community.

We believe Black Lives Matter, Black Voices Matter and Black Ideas Matter.

We recognize that human-centered design doesn’t work when you have a biased view of humanity built into the process.

We are committed to dismantling the racism and bias built into our 30-year old organization serving a predominantly white industry in a predominantly white city.

We have not been perfect. A few months ago we handled an event poorly and sadly, the carelessness we displayed was not uncommon for our organization. We have some areas where we are doing great work and some where we’ve been too cavalier. We were held to account by the community. We heard you. We still have work to do. 

Here are the steps we are taking:

  • We are seeking out and promoting events that celebrate and support Black creators.
  • We are attending events by organizations for designers where allyship is part of the discussion, and working to build stronger alliances with these organizations.
  • We are donating 5% of our current operating budget to the NW Community Bail Fund to support arrested protesters and others held in jail without convictions.
  • We invested in board training on Inclusive Leadership earlier this year. We are developing ways to continue educating ourselves on systemic racism and the role we can play as community organizers.
  • We have begun revamping how we recruit board members, chairs and volunteers to ensure multiple voices have a seat at the table as well as equitable access to that table.
  • We are incorporating Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI) into our new organizational structure’s governance and accountability body, cementing JEDI as an integral part of our organizational DNA. 
  • We are committed to continually evaluating and improving all our governance practices.
  • We are working to establish new policies to pay people for work that has historically been asked to be done on a volunteer basis. 
  • We are working to increase the accessibility of our programs, so we can remove as many barriers as possible for our community to engage. 
  • We are working to become more accessible as leaders through community meetings and public forums.

This is just the beginning.

We know good intentions are not enough, and that we need to design systems that sustain the change we are seeking. We are committed to listening and learning from our community to better understand how we can advance social justice.

We must make it easier for those who come after us to act on these commitments and do even more. If we really are going to become a platform for others, the entire foundation has to be solid. If we are not future-oriented in our approach… if we don’t anticipate and address the pitfalls we create, intentionally or not, the foundation will eventually crack. Whether we’re creating a digital product or an organizational structure, the onus is on the designer—on those in positions of influence and power— to ensure utility and sustainability. Now is not the time to cut corners or settle for “good enough” or avoid tough conversations. 

Please continue to scrutinize our practices and speak up to hold us accountable to these commitments. 

Published June 8, 2020