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  • Writer's pictureWomen+ in Design PGH

Social Justice Resources

Updated: Jun 10, 2020

As an organization, Women+ in Design has been clearly committed to equity when it comes to gender in our profession. Though our name does not as explicitly state it, we are also committed to advocating for and amplifying racial equity and social justice in our world. In order to be informed allies and advocates, we have assembled the below list of resources for our community. This list is not intended to be comprehensive, but merely a starting point for ensuring we are each well-educated on the challenges facing our communities, the role design has historically played in exacerbating inequality, and how we can work to affect change both immediately and long-term.

Don’t be overwhelmed by the length of this list. You cannot read everything. Choose one title or a handful of articles that sound like they might resonate with you and dive in. Advocacy is a lifelong pursuit; just start somewhere.

This list is organized in categories and within those by type of media. We strongly encourage you to support local independent bookstores or the library when seeking books to read.


Fierce Allyship | Being an Antiracist and Acknowledging White Privilege

Being an “Antiracist” is more than just not being overtly racist in your words and actions. It is about actively working against racism in our systems and structures and speaking out when you witness inequities and discrimination.





Relearning History | Understanding the Origins of Racism and the United States’ Tortured Past

The history most of us learned in grade school and even higher education was riddled with holes and omissions. Now is the perfect time to fill in those gaps with the perspectives and facts that may have been left out of your education.






Complicit Design | Learning How the Design of Our Communities and Spaces Has Contributed to Inequality

As designers, we like to think that our designs are always altruistic and human-centered. This is certainly not always the case, as the history of the designs of our cities and institutions reveal.


  • The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America | Richard Rothstein

  • The Art of Inequality: Architecture, Housing, and Real Estate, A Provisional Report | Temple Hoyne Buell Center for the Study of American Architecture at Columbia University

  • Spatializing Blackness: Architectures of Confinement and Black Masculinity in Chicago | Rashad Shabazz

  • Root Shock: How Tearing Up City Neighborhoods Hurts America and What We Can Do About It | Mindy Thompson Fullilove



Amplifying Voices | Centering Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) Narratives

This selection of fiction, memoir, and video highlights just a sampling of titles by writers of color. It is often through telling our stories that the most meaningful connections can be made and understanding deepened. One small way we can each show our allyship is by buying, reading, and amplifying books by writers of color.


  • The Men We Reap | Jesmyn Ward

  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings | Maya Angelou

  • Sister Outsider | Audre Lorde

  • The Bluest Eye | Maya Angelou

  • The Fire Next Time | James Baldwin

  • Between the World and Me | Ta-Nehisi Coates

  • Their Eyes Were Watching God | Zora Neale Hurston

  • This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color | Cherrie Moraga

  • Things Fall Apart | Chinua Achebe

  • Girl, Woman, Other | Bernardine Evaristo

  • Such a Fun Age | Kiley Reid

  • Difficult Women | Roxane Gay

  • Thick: And Other Essays | Tressie McMillan Cottom

  • Homegoing | Yaa Gyasi

  • The Underground Railroad | Colson Whitehead


  • “Fruitvale Station” | Ryan Coogler (available to rent)

  • “Just Mercy” | Destin Daniel Cretton (available to rent as of June 2020)

  • “Dear White People” (series and movie) | Justin Simien (Netflix)

  • “Black-ish” (series) | Kenya Barris (Hulu)

  • “Mixed-ish” (series) | Kenya Barris (Hulu)

  • “If Beale Street Could Talk” | Barry Jenkins (Netflix)

  • “Insecure” (series) | Issa Rae (HBO)

  • “A Black Ladies Sketch Show” | Issa Rae, Robin Thede (HBO)


Teaching Forward | Resources for Talking to Children and Teens about Racism and Being Antiracist




Social Media:

  • The Conscious Kid: follow them on Instagram and consider signing up for their Patreon


Giving Back | Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

There are numerous organizations out there that could use monetary support if you are in a position to give. Please consider donating to one of these organizations fighting for racial, social, political, and economic justice.

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