AIGA Indianapolis supports the statement released by our national organization. We stand in solidarity with Black designers, Black creative business owners, Black educators, and Black students—as well as their families, cultures, and communities—in the condemnation of racism, intersectional discrimination, fear, and acts of violence—including murder.

We are a board of volunteers and acknowledge that we have fallen short in our efforts to connect, develop, and empower local designers of all races. We pledge to right this wrong by actively listening and educating ourselves to become better allies of our community and by continuing to stand up against racial inequalities and systemic racism.

Here are a few ways we plan to make changes within our local chapter:

Short term: We will educate ourselves about racism and white supremacy in our country and within the design field. We will share resources that promote anti-racism, diversity, and inclusion in Indianapolis, throughout the state of Indiana, and across our country. 

Long term: Although we welcome and accept board members of all races and backgrounds, our current board does not reflect that. As we continue our anti-racism work, we strive to have a board more representative of our diverse community. Moving forward, we will make choices about programming and initiatives that always consider people of color, as well as non-binary and LGBTQ+ individuals. We have a lot of work ahead of us, and we encourage your feedback.

It’s important to remember what design and creative-minded people can do in a time like this. We can never underestimate our power to change this world with our creativity.



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Affirmative Action:
Specific actions in recruitment, hiring, promotion, enrollment or other types of selection that are designed to assure the representation of formerly excluded classes of people and overcome inequity by eliminating the present effects of past discrimination.

Bias: Inclination or prejudice for or against one person or group, especially in a way considered to be unfair.

Bigotry: Obstinate and unenlightened attachment to one’s own beliefs or opinions; intolerance of opposing views and the actions based on such thinking.

Colorblindness: The assertion that one does not see color but rather sees everyone the same. While on the surface this seems positive, it actually invalidates people’s identities and the experience of those who experience racism.

Cultural Competence: The ability to understand, accept, respect and effectively lead, work and volunteer with people from other cultures and backgrounds. Cultural competence can be measured by the extent to which individuals and organizations can create and maintain an environment that is welcoming, equitable and supportive of difference in the pursuit of common goals.

Culture: The shared belief system and practice of racial, religious, social of another kind of group. Cultural attributes may include language, values, beliefs, norms, customs, traditions, patterns of communication, food, religion, family life, dress and music.

Cultural Appropriation: When dominant groups borrow from marginalized groups who have been stigmatized for their differences in society. One group is penalized for something that another group is praised for. It is when a privileged group misrepresents and further marginalizes other cultures.

Discrimination: Treating a person or group less favorably than another, based on prejudice or bigotry toward them.

Diversity: The differences among people based on race, religion, ethnicity, language, gender, sexual orientation, age, physical or mental ability, socio-economic status or other characteristics.

Dominant Group: A group that controls the distribution of power, wealth and status in society. While the dominant group is often, but not necessarily majority, it establishes the pervasive norms, values and images of the society and gets enhanced privileges and social power in return. Sometimes referred to as the advanced, privileged or “oppressor” group.

Ethnic Group: A group with a shared cultural background, which may include language, traditions, history and ancestry. Ethnicity is not the same as race. Cultural rather than biological traits are the essential attributes of an ethnic group.

Equity: Giving everyone what they need to be successful. It’s the equal access and distribution of resources one needs in order to flourish.

Equality: The state of being equal, especially in status, rights, and opportunities.

Gender Equity: Gender equality is when access to rights and opportunities is unaffected by gender. Allocating resources, programs, and decision-making fairly to both men and women, without any discrimination based on their gender.

Harassment: Verbal, physical and visual conduct that creates an intimidating, offensive or hostile environment or interferes with performance. Harassment can take many forms and may include but is not limited to, the following: slurs, jokes, statements, pictures and other images, gestures, assault, impeding or blocking another’s movement or otherwise physically interfering with normal activity.

Implicit Bias: Attitudes and stereotypes that often operate at a level below conscious awareness and without intentional control. The underlying implicit attitudes and stereotypes responsible for implicit bias are those beliefs or simple associations that a person makes between an object and its evaluation that “…are automatically activated by the mere presence (actual or symbolic) of the attitude object”. Although automatic, implicit biases are not completely inflexible: They are malleable to some degree and manifest in ways that are responsive to the perceiver’s motives and environment.

Inclusion/Inclusiveness: The practice of embracing, within a supportive environment, all who accept an organization’s core values.

Intersectionality: The understanding that social issues cannot be explored in isolation as different identities such as race, gender, age etc. intersect in each person’s life and produce different privilege or oppression.

Minority: A subordinate group that is smaller or is disadvantaged, underprivileged, excluded, discriminated against or exploited by a dominant group with a society. The characteristics of a minority group might differ from those of the dominant group in areas such as race, religion, ethnicity, national origin, culture, etc. The term “minority” is sometimes considered a reinforcement of racist assumptions, given that people of color constitute a majority of the world’s population. Women are generally not classified as a minority. However, in the U.S. they are considered as having legal “minority” status, having been subjected historically to systematic exclusion and discrimination.

Multiculturalism: A belief or policy that embraces all cultural groups in an environment that respects and appreciates each group’s uniqueness.

People-first Language: Language used to describe individuals with specific attributes in ways that “put the person first” and reflect individuality, equality and dignity; for example, person who is blind, person with a disability, person living with HIV/AIDS.

People of Color: Individuals who are not white/Caucasian. This is a term of inclusion and solidarity, generally preferable to the expressions “minority” or “non-white,” which assume whiteness as the norm against which all others are defined. Some people of color prefer to be identified by their particular racial/ethnic group such as African-American, Latina, Asian, or Native American.

Prejudice: Preconceived judgment, opinion or inclination that is applied without sufficient knowledge, reason or understanding, leading to bias or discrimination against an individual or group.

Privilege: An advantage that comes from the historical oppression of other groups. Privilege can be seen in race, gender, sexuality, ability, socioeconomic status, age etc. Acknowledging it isn’t meant to shame those with certain privileges but rather challenge the systems that make it exist. It does not mean that you with a certain privilege have never had challenges in life, just that there are some challenges you will not experience because of your identity.

Race: A group connected or identified by common descent or origin, usually based on skin color or other distinctive characteristics or cultural qualities. Race is a social construct; there is no biological basis for different racial groups.

Race-based Privileges: Benefits or unearned advantages systematically afforded members of the dominant group simply because of their identity, whether or not they want or are aware of these privileges.

Racism: The subjugation of one racial group by another group through individual actions, institutional policies and practices and cultural norms and values. Racism is based on the belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular group.

Institutional Racism: Also known as systemic racism, this is a form of racism that is engrained in our society, politics and organizations. It is typically less obvious than overt racism and happens when entire racial groups are discriminated against by a larger entity than an individual person. Example: Standardized test questions have been proven to favor white students.

Stereotype: Exaggerated or oversimplified preconceived beliefs; typecasting or treatment of the members of a group based on assumptions and misinformation.

Subordinate Group: A group that has less access to social power than the dominant group and is subject to systematic discrimination, marginalization, exploitation and victimization by dominant group individuals and institutions. Sometimes referred to as an oppressed, targeted or disadvantaged group.

Tokenism: The policy and practice of making only a perfunctory effort, symbolic gesture or minimal concessions, usually toward minority or subordinate groups.