Here’s the thing.
I believe each of us can change the world.
Everyone can make this world a little better, or a little worse — often without thinking.
I believe in the power of making things that improve the world, bit by bit.
Bit by literal bit, in some cases.
I believe in ethics, in humanity, in inclusivity.
Since design is deliberate and considered, both deliberation and consideration should be part of every design.
Design is political.
I believe in the power of giving a shit, but not so much that it undermines your work. That balance is powerful, but tough to attain.
I believe in the power of small teams. I believe that collaboration produces better work than individuals, even “rock stars.” I believe there’s a peak to this benefit: teams that are too big kill productivity. If you’re spending more time organizing than executing, your team is too large. (See also: running a makerspace.)
That said, design requires variance of inputs and creators. Not only should you seek out the individuals that will use whatever you’re designing, the creating team should include a multiplicity of backgrounds and experiences and, yes, points of view.
I believe that fixing problems begins with recognizing them. Pointing out problems is the first step: respect those that do so rather than greeting them with denial, or worse, indifference. That multiplicity of voices will help you recognize problems, and also solutions, that others might miss — but only if those voices feel they’ll be listened to.
I believe the course of history leans toward progress, but it’s easy to knock us back a few decades. This has rarely been truer than right now.
“You’ve got your whole life to do something, and that’s not very long.”
— Ani DiFranco, “Willing to Fight”
I believe that the right to express your opinion stops when it threatens anyone’s life, anyone’s right to exist.
I am not a pacifist, but I believe in the power of nonviolent protest.
“When I get mad and I get pissed / I grab my pen and I write out a list / Of all the people who won’t be missed / You’ve made my shitlist”
— L7, “Shitlist”
I believe everyone contains their best self, though only some of us are working on it. I surround myself with people that expect the best of me. I also do my best to expect the best of those around me.
I believe diversity makes us stronger. I believe in unity, but not in forced compromises.
While we’re at it — facts cannot be “alternative;” science and climate change are real; a woman’s place is wherever she damn well pleases; gender is a construct; black lives matter; trans rights are human rights; and love is love.
I believe if we each only fight for our own concerns, as a society we will not progress nearly as far or fast as we could otherwise.
“Your voice is a weapon / And we’ll do with it what we can… Nothing’s quite as it seems / Society’s altered you see… Throw all your hells towards the heavens / Cause your voice is a weapon”
— Bastille vs Angel Haze, “Weapon”
I believe that nationalism is inextricably tied up with fascism. On the other hand, we need to fight the urge to conflate nationalism and patriotism, even though someone at a podium may present both in the same breath.
Genocide is not a political position.*
I believe that empathy is both shield and sword. Both are capable of protecting. Both are just as capable of wounding.
Don’t forget: your own sword can cut you.
“Cause I know the biggest crime / Is just to throw up your hands / Say / This has nothing to do with me / I just want to live as comfortably as I can / You got to look outside your eyes / You got to think outside your brain / You got to walk outside your life / To where the neighborhood changes”
— Ani DiFranco, “Willing to Fight”
Here’s the thing:
Give more than you take. Be kind. Take care of each other.
*though people in political positions may enable or enact it.