The International Interior Design Association's New York Chapter (IIDA NY) has announced its partnership with the newly formed Equity Council, an independent consortium of designers and industry professionals unified in fostering engagement and accountability toward meaningful change in the design industry. The council's mission is to create a more just and equitable design industry by focusing on four key pillars in the workplace: cultures of inclusion, increased racial diversity, education, and communication.
To assist organizations open to conversations about racial equity, Equity Council has established a cross-sector pledge tailored specifically to the architecture and design community. The Design Industry Pledge is an agreement that outlines actionable goals and includes an assessment tool for signers to measure their progress annually. The Pledge is open to the entire design community and industry partners alike (members and non-members of IIDA NY), including professional associations, project managers, consultants, contractors, and others.
In collaboration with Racial Equity Partners (REP), Equity Council has put together an industry assessment survey for signers of the pledge to document baseline data and current efforts on racial equity benchmarks. Additionally, the Council has established an annual reporting process to measure progress towards racial equity.
Equity Council was founded in 2020 in response to concerns about inequities within the design industry that were catapulted following the murder of George Floyd and the subsequent protests and conversations inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement.
"Historically, people of color in the United States have endured inequities deeply rooted in systems of injustice that are continued to be manifested in all manner of ways today, including the built environment," said council founders Yetta Banks, Hana Getachew, Erin Ruby, and Elsie St. Léger in a joint statement. "Within the past year, organizations have begun examining more closely their work and workplace as individuals who identify as people of color continue to confront racism, discrimination, and violence in their daily lives. We believe it is imperative that the design industry engages in focused work to address inequities for all people with specific attention to those who are underrepresented."