It is with heavy hearts as well as a sense of urgency that AIGA Cleveland is reaching out to you, our community, with the following statement in response to current events:
We stand in solidarity with Black people and people of color. We also support the nation-wide protests in response to the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and the countless others who have suffered and died at the hands of police, including Tamir Rice.
Though it is difficult to find the words needed at this moment—we are struggling like everyone else to process the dehumanization of American citizens and the needless violence we are witnessing—we want to emphasize the value we place on our community and the diverse relationships we seek to foster across the region. We also acknowledge that we have at times fallen short in our efforts. So, we are taking time to reflect on what we can do to strengthen our existing connections and rebuild ties that have been neglected. Design can be a powerful tool for good or ill, and we want to ensure our skills as creatives are being used to unite in fighting for equity. To reach these goals, we are taking three approaches:
Amplify the voices of our community through social media, highlighting the work already being undertaken by black and underrepresented community leaders, artists, and entrepreneurs. We will also be using social media to share resources that promote anti-racism, diversity, and inclusion.
Responding to the immediacy of the moment through protests and social media is not enough. We recognize that developing and nurturing relationships over time is crucial to the broader aims of growing and sustaining an equitable, inclusive, and anti-racist creative culture. AIGA Cleveland is dedicated to creating safe spaces and opportunities for connection, belonging, and acceptance. We welcome those who are isolated and looking for support.
In January of 2020, AIGA Cleveland launched our Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) initiative under the leadership of experienced members of the Board of Directors. Our first priority in the service of a number of long-range goals is to gather feedback from the Cleveland creative community to 1) gain better insight into the diversity of people represented and 2) develop programming and resources based on the results. You can help us by responding to the survey when it becomes public and sharing it broadly with other creative professionals. There will also be opportunities to get involved with the Diversity and Inclusion initiative in the near future.
In addition to the survey, AIGA CLE is committed to supporting black-owned businesses and providing support to AIGA student groups to help nurture young minority designers. We are also currently in discussion about creating safe spaces to facilitate conversations about how to talk about racism and prejudice.
Get Out The Vote (GOTV)
Lastly, we believe that holding our elected leaders accountable is an important part of creating long-term, systematic change. We will be launching GOTV efforts in the next few weeks and need your help to ensure that all eligible voters are registered for the November 3, 2020 election. Visit vote.org to register to vote, check your voter registration status, or request an absentee ballot.
Despite the challenges that lie ahead, we welcome the opportunity to rise to the moment and actively help shape the world and community we want to live in. We hope you join us.
To help GOTV, contact Carly White: firstname.lastname@example.org.
To volunteer with the D&I Task Force, contact Anne Berry or Alex Griffin: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Local Organizations and Resources:
Shooting without Bullets
Black Queer Collective
New Voices for Repro Justice
Tamir Rice Foundation
ThirdSpace Action Lab
The Cleveland Bucket List: Black Owned Businesses in Cleveland