BLACK LIVES MATTER
Black Lives Matter. I’m not sure if this is a controversial statement in Berkeley, and especially within our community of progressive-minded thinkers and designers. But that doesn’t mean that people of color have equal treatment in Berkeley. Or that our design community is as diverse as our population. Our role is to build a more perfect world. We can do better.
I’ve seen a lot of wonderful letters from editors, and brilliant resource lists for people to get engaged in the protests, and to educate themselves on the issues.
I’ve been glad to have so many informed leaders ready to show us the way.
I’ve been taking a back seat, feeling that others are more involved, more educated, more up to speed on these issues. After all, I’ve personally chosen localism and sustainability to be my top priorities. Racial justice is not my chosen cause, or area of expertise.
But recently I recognized what a privilege that is. I have the freedom to choose my causes, since my life is not on the line. Many others don’t have that luxury. I will be more proactive.
I’ve been struck by another message and common protest sign. WHITE SILENCE = VIOLENCE.
We can’t leave this responsibility to the people of color among us to change society. Or those activists with degrees in racial identity and political science. If we sit in our beautiful offices and assume others will take up this mantle, we will end up disappointed that those in power didn’t change things the way we'd hoped. Again.
It doesn’t matter if you are the most informed, or if you feel fully ready yet. Just show up. Expect that you’ll do or say something wrong. That’s okay, we are all doing the best we can from where we are. Take any criticism as a way to improve. We are all imperfect, but getting better all the time.
I encourage you to jump in with a sense of urgency, as if the lives of your friends and community members depend upon it. Because as we’ve seen, it does.
WBDL Executive Director
West Berkeley Design Loop