NewCity stands with Black people and all people of color in America against injustice, police brutality, and systemic racism. Rayshard Brooks, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor are just the latest in a long line of those killed or harmed by injustice. We pledge not to sit on the sidelines but to be active in dismantling structures in our society (and our industry) that give advantages to some while disregarding the humanity and equality of others based on skin color. We acknowledge that many of us have been not colorblind, but blind to the entrenched nature of racism in so many of our institutions — be it education, criminal justice, housing, food, employment, the boardroom, or democracy itself.
Here’s what we’re doing
Always being a student, remaining curious and open are core NewCity values. These are some of the sources we’re learning from regarding racial injustice (props to dscout for pointing us to many of these):
- Clark Valberg: Indifference = Violence
- Twitter thread by Samuel Sinyangwe on research-based solutions to stop police violence
- Sagal Muse: Design needs to actually champion its black community
- Victor Ray: Why So Many Organizations Stay White
- AIGA’s Design for Good Resources and initiative for diversity and inclusion in design
- Creative Reaction Lab’s Redesigners for Justice program, and their Field Guide for Equity-Centered Community Design
- Shanae Ullman: Workplace Culture: Increasing Diversity in Your UX Team
- Racial Literacy in Tech
We’re encouraging all NewCitizens to give time and money to organizations that are working for equal justice, and we’re matching their contributions. We’ve made donations to the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, the Equal Justice Initiative, and other qualifying organizations our employees want to support.
We’re encouraging NewCitizens to speak out publicly, to write to community and government leaders, to stand up and make their voices heard. You can find your representatives at commoncause.org and track their legislative actions on tools like Countable. Most advocacy organizations have example call scripts and letter templates on their website, if you’re not sure where to start.
Designing for justice
NewCity specializes in human-centered design. HCD is about understanding people — their aspirations, complications, and motivations — and shaping services, products, and systems that help them grow and succeed. It starts with listening, it brings people together to tackle challenges and design solutions. Design itself isn’t good or bad — it reflects the heart and intentions of the designer. We must actively address the unintended consequences of design that may promote inequality or uphold unjust systems. Some systems though were intentionally designed to benefit those in power. Changing these systems is hard, but human-centered design is a superpower we can harness for this fight.
One of the ways we take responsibility is by championing accessibility and inclusiveness in our work. And we actively seek out partnerships with clients whose missions support social justice, on projects like the collaboration between Arizona State and UMass Amherst for their Race and the American Story course, UVA’s Early Childhood Education Initiatives, or Harvard University’s recently-launched Long 19th Amendment Project for the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage.
We know we need to do more, and we’re honestly not sure yet what all those things will encompass. But we’re listening, we’re learning, and we are committed to taking action.
David Poteet, President, NewCity