Black Lives Matter — A Week of Acknowledgement on Sight Unseen

As many of you know, today we were supposed to be smack in the middle of our first-ever Offsite Online show, for which we had stories and Instagram posts planned out every day until June 12. But as we type this, we’re listening to NYPD helicopters circling overhead, we’re watching protest footage, and we’re feeling disgusted that racism and injustice continues to be this country’s status quo. We stand with BIPOC and call for justice for George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and countless others whose deaths are part of a long history of violence against black bodies. That said, we’re also reading, listening to, and learning from voices that matter more than ours right now, so we’ll be pausing our activities here and on our social media channels all week, June 1-5, to ensure that those voices can be heard.

This coming weekend, we’ll resume our Offsite Online coverage, but in other ways, we will not be going back to business as usual.

Along with the rest of the design industry, we are reckoning with the marginalization of people of color in our field, and we’re thinking about ways in which we can change our approach in the hopes of offering better support to young BIPOC. We’ve typically refrained from featuring portraits on Sight Unseen, choosing instead to let the work speak for itself, but now we see that there may be value in including them, if it means that black people and other people of color can see more faces like their own reflected in our coverage. We have always operated with a constant and intrinsic sensitivity to the inclusion of women in our stories and projects, and we will be working towards the same kind of automatic, internalized awareness when it comes to diversity of all kinds.

We will also continue to donate. Over the past few years we’ve raised and given around $50k to the The Equal Justice Initiative, the ACLU, and Run for Something, among other causes; today we’re donating to the Bail Project, Campaign Zero, and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and will select several from that list for which we can make our donations monthly rather than one-time-only. We will also continue to educate ourselves and to vote in every single election, prioritizing candidates who are vocally committed to systemic change.

We hope all of our readers understand this decision. And if you’re in the streets protesting this week, we hope you stay safe. Thank you for doing the difficult work.