AIGA Toledo’s Black Lives Matter Statement

To our members,

We’ve spent the past few weeks facing the atrocities of how Black lives are treated in our society. As caring humans, we believe it is time to reflect on our own role as an organization that has historically lacked voices from Black people, Indigenous people, and People of Color on our board and in our programming. AIGA Toledo’s mission is to bring together an inclusive community, create change, empower one another and elevate design within the city of Toledo. It is clear that we have not lived up to this mission.

As designers, it is often our work to use empathy in order to understand who we are designing for. The key to empathy work, to gaining a sliver of understanding about another person’s life—is to listen. Right now, it is our responsibility to listen. To listen to Black people, their stories, and their lived experiences. Listen to their realities. We have not lived in their bodies, have not seen the world through their eyes, have not experienced the daily systemic violence they face. When they tell us we have wronged them, we have a responsibility to listen because Black Lives Matter—they have always mattered.

It is not enough for us to say that we stand with our Black community members who are disproportionately the targets of police violence, systemic racism, and institutional injustice. AIGA Toledo acknowledges that as an organization we have not done as much as we could to uplift and support Black people in our community. Further, it is not enough to simply state that we recognize the gross racial injustices of this country—it’s our job, as designers and creatives, to actively help dismantle these systems and help build a new equitable future.

AIGA Toledo pledges to be an effective ally in this work (1). We acknowledge our privilege as an entirely White Board of Directors and commit to using our platform to uplift the voices of Black people, Indigenous people, and People of Color within our community. As an organization, we need to ask ourselves hard questions about our own complicity in a system that upholds White supremacy, we need to be strong enough to realistically address those answers, and to act on them. As White people we have some hard, emotional work to do—work we can no longer ignore, but we believe we can do this work together.

We will be following this statement with actionable opportunities for our organization and for our White community to engage in the work of anti-racism. We’ve compiled a list of resources as a first step forward in this effort. In the coming weeks, our board will be having conversations about the tangible ways we can change in order to make sure our mission is clear: Black Lives Matter.

AIGA Toledo Board of Directors

1. Good vs. Effective Allies, Brandon Kyle Goodman. June 8th, 2020. Instagram.
2. Typeface in header graphic created by Trè Seals of Vocal Type Co.

By aigatoledo
Published June 16, 2020
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