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Amplifying the Black tech community

News you can use from Design Twitter
Amplifying the Black tech community

Our Overheard posts typically focus on sharing conversations about tools and design trends. But this month, we’ve all hit the pause button. We’re taking a break from the typical Design Twitter fodder to recognize the current events caused by the unacceptable racial injustice and systemic racism in our country. As we’ve stated: Black lives matter.

We can do a better job of spotlighting a diverse collection of voices in our monthly round ups, so in the future, we’re committing to sharing more design expertise and experiences from the Black tech community. If you’d like to expand your network and diversify the voices in your feed, check out the #BlackTechTwitter hashtag. The hashtag was created by Pariss Athena, Founder of the Black Tech Pipeline.  

It’s clear that as an industry, we still have a lot of work to do. Many people are asking questions about how we can dismantle racist systems, how we change design education, and how the design and tech industry can do better. Here is a snippet of the conversations that caught our eye.

Speak up

Harrison Wheeler, a User Experience Manager at LinkedIn, shared a post he was moved to write after this past week’s current events but the topic is one he’s been thinking about for years. He urges allies to call out destructive and racist systems and to use the methodologies we use daily as designers to dismantle systems that no longer serve us —empathy, research, discovery, solutions, and success metrics. Read the full post: The design community must not stay silent.

Donate your time and money

Kimberly Bryant, CEO of Black Girls Code, urges people who want to donate time and money to think beyond the large, well-known organizations and to support grassroots and community organizations. Additionally, she recommends donating to organizations within your industry who do critical work and tagged a few you can support. 

Dismantle harmful systems

Antionette Carroll, Founder and CEO of Creative Reaction Lab, shared a call to action to dismantle privilege and power structures that use design as a tool of oppression. Design as Protest held Black-led a webinar and day of action in solidarity with Movement for Black Lives (M4BL). The webinar recordings are not public, but you can find more information by following the #DesignAsProtest hashtag.

Y-Vonne Hutchinson, Co-founder of Project Include and CEO of ReadySet, is asking friends, colleagues, and allies to take action against systemic racism that continues to claim Black lives. The pledge was created by a coalition of Black founders, advocates, investors and leaders in the Bay area. For the full call to action, visit Black Tech for Black Lives and read more about the pledge on TechCrunch.

Brad Neal, Design Director at IBM, shares the experience of frequently being the only Black designer on a team and his support for initiatives like Where are the Black Designers?, a conference that connects designers, educators, and creative leaders to talk about the steps we can take to change the industry. Find out more about the event by watching an IGTV post by co-founder Mitzi Okou.

And don’t forget design education

Sameera Kapila, Design Director at Thoughtbot, urges us to look at design history and design education. She points out that most designers are taught eurocentric design history and we need to actively unlearn that. She also suggests reading and teaching from Senongo Akpem’s book, Cross-cultural Design.

If you’re interested in sharing your experience or giving us feedback, please send us a tweet at @goabstract.