Published: June 10, 2020

Dear ENVD community,

Many of you have read my previous statement and reached out to let me know that I fell short in expressing how I felt about the recent and horrific killings of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, and many other Black lives across our nation. I want to apologize for a statement that was too generic and not focused either on the pain and suffering of the Black community or on the specifics of what we intend to do to remedy that pain and suffering in ENVD. Please allow me another chance to express my and our program’s values more clearly. 

First, it angers and saddens me to see that as a society we continue to repeat the same reprehensible behaviors with no consequences. This must stop. The lives of our Black community matter and all Black Lives Matter. Please know that I see you, I hear you, and that I stand with you. 

I acknowledge that as a program there is a need for improvement to the ENVD culture, both inside and outside the classroom. It is difficult to admit that the actions and initiatives we have been taking are not always visible or communicated well, but I want to assure you that I am committed to working with you all to increase our awareness and take action against our flaws.

In the coming weeks, I will be working with our internal diversity committee and Designers Without Boundaries program to achieve the following goals:

  • To open this discussion and work together so that all voices can be heard 
  • To develop a set of recommendations focused on education that ENVD can incorporate into its core values and teachings
  • To increase a consistent messaging platform throughout the ENVD program 
  • To provide recommendations for guidance and training to assist faculty, staff and students in better understanding diversity, equity and inclusivity

I know that I have a lot to learn and that I am no expert on race and racism, and I am doing my part to educate myself. What I do know is that as designers, creators and makers of tomorrow we must not be colorblind. In fact, we have the power to design a better future that embraces color. We have the power to create spaces that do not profile, judge or discriminate against any person based on the color of their skin. With dialogue, we can spread this message to our community and beyond. Together, we have the power to make a difference. 

In solidarity,

Paul Chinowsky, Director
Program in Environmental Design