By Kprecia Ambers & Debbie Aderinkomi, AIGA MN Diversity & Inclusion Committee
“What can I do better? How can I contribute toward fighting for what I believe in a respectful manner? Am I doing my part?”
A short scoop from Kprecia Ambers, AIGA Minnesota D&I Committee Member, Awareness Sub-Committee Chair
The experience of attending the recent Design + Diversity Conference was an eye opener. Although surrounded by many individuals I had never met, I felt united. Each attendee recognized the lack of diversity within design and wanted to be apart of change. My biggest lesson in attending workshops and hearing keynote speakers is understand being inclusive is bigger than just giving various individuals opportunities to be seen and heard. It’s also about considering how your voice may come off and affect others negatively. Of course, you can’t please everyone, by truly wanting to be respectful of others means educating yourself, asking questions, and listening. I found myself reflecting often. What can I do better? How can I contribute toward fighting for what I believe in a respectful manner? Am I doing my part? In order for change to be made, you must first recognize your problems and what is causing you to hold back. One keynote speaker that really resonated with me was Jamila Smith-Loud, who talked about machine learning and its social impact. As humans we sometimes fail to realize our own biases of different groups of people is reflected on the internet on major search engines. Our beliefs, assumptions, and opinions are put out into the world and causing a negative impact even if it is unintentional. These are things we don’t always pay attention to, but there is so much power in ones voice. Overall this experience has helped me broaden my views and understanding on what it means to be inclusive, the different ways companies and individuals can go about striving towards it, as well as proving why it’s so important for these changes to be made. It was a wonderful experience meeting like-minded individuals fighting for a path for others to walk and seeing people taking actionable steps toward fighting for justice. I feel empowered.
“The road to liberation is a long one, but conferences like this one give me hope.”
A short scoop from Debbie Aderinkdomi, AIGA Minnesota D&I Committee Member
This year has been very monumental for me. I went from living my life in predominantly white spaces to having a summer jam packed with probably the most diversity I’ve experience in (most of) my life. Early this summer I went to the diverse city of Atlanta, then I went to the great Black get together, also known as Essence Fest in New Orleans and then I got to wrap up everything I learn with the Diversity and Design conference in St. Louis.
As social media and politics continue to muddle together, I have been doing a lot of learning and growing. The D + D conference gave me the much needed direction I was looking for. Even though the conference had give or take 200 attendees, it still felt like an intimate safe space. People from different backgrounds were all together to discuss the future of our society.
The biggest takeaway for me what not only gaining a better understanding of key words like diversity, inclusion and equity, but also learning how to implement these ideas into our work. There is no one size fits all approach to this. Each initiative that is used to address these problems is unique. That means even though there are similar issues, the context of the situation makes the solution different. The road to liberation is a long one, but conferences like this one give me hope.
Thank you, to every voice, participant, speaker, and sponsor that contributed to this amazing event. Most importantly we appreciate individuals like Timothy J. Hykes and Antionette Carroll for taking a stance and and creating an event that is so necessary and impactful. And a special shoutout to our Diversity & Inclusion leader Terresa Moses for fighting for our presence at the conference. We hope to continue being apart of this experience.