03 Jun Guild Statement on Black Lives and Racial Justice
Since its inception, the Graphic Artists Guild has fought for justice and equity for working graphic artists. This past month’s events have reminded us that our efforts are worth nothing if they are not equally accessible to Black designers and illustrators. Black lives matter – in their entirety. As long as Black people can’t run their businesses and live their lives with the same opportunities and security as other Americans, the Guild fails its mission.
With the rest of America, we watched with horror the killing of George Floyd. But his murder is only one incident in a long history of injustices, such as the institutionalized racism that denies Black business owners access to financial resources; the disparities in healthcare as evinced by the staggeringly higher rates of COVID-19 in Black communities; and daily injustices and harassment Black people experience by simply going about the most mundane daily tasks. These are just a few examples of a long and troubling list of racial disparities in our country.
In February, the Graphic Artists Guild celebrated Black History Month by featuring several Black designers in our member spotlight. We asked them what it meant to be a Black designer and how the Guild can help foster a more diverse design community. It’s beyond time for all of us to use our voices to bring the collective conversation around racial injustice to a much deeper level and ask ourselves the hard questions: what are the experiences unique to Black people to which we (willfully or not) have been blind; how have we been complicit in furthering racial injustice; and how can we truly fight for the rights of all visual creators?
To start that conversation, we invite Black visual creators to share their personal experiences with us.
We also offer the following reading list as a starting point:
- The Design Community Must Not Stay Silent – Harrison Wheeler
- Maintaining Professionalism In The Age of Black Death Is….A Lot – Shenequa Golding
- Minneapolis Affects Us All— A letter from Dean Sarah M. Whiting (Harvard School of Design)
- Talking About Race – National Museum of African American Culture and History)
- NOMA Issues Statement on Racial Injustice – National Organization of Minority Architects
- Explorations in ethical design | meditations on equality – International Council of Design (ico-D)
We close with these words of hope from Bob Marley:
Emancipate yourself from mental slavery
None but our self can free our minds…
Won't you help me sing
These songs of freedom?
Have pity on those whose chances grow thinner
There ain't no hiding place from the Father of Creation
Sayin’, one love, one heart
Let's get together and feel all right