“I think we can make our world better than ever. I think we can actually do the things we are planning to …”
Design As Protest is the sister organization of Dark Matter U birthed from the same design principles and a handful of Black designers. Since then, DAP has grown to be a collective of designers from different backgrounds who mobilize strategy to dismantle the privilege and power structures that use architecture and design as tools of oppression through radical visioning of racial, social, and cultural reparations through the design process. DAP exists to hold the design profession accountable in reversing the violence and injustice that architecture, design, and urban planning practices have inflicted upon Black people and communities.
All of DAP’s campaigns and organizing teams stem from the same Design Justice principles (turned Design Justice Demands) that were originally developed with the founders of DAP and DMU. DAP Youth organizers are a part of the field-organizing division of the DAP organizational structure.
As designers and educators, it is our duty to co-create physical and intellectual learning environments that encourage interrogation while actively centering the youth voice. In spring 2022, DAP Youth organizers worked with 12 high school students from the Charmaine and Robert Career Institute South in Dallas. Over the course of five weeks, students were introduced to the Design Justice Demands and explored how they relate to their own communities through lectures, design exercises, and discussions with DAP organizers. Students conducted site analysis, created posters rooted in design justice campaigns, and invited their neighbors to join the design process by providing feedback on their proposals. Students gravitated toward thought-provoking topics such as stopping gun violence, promoting cleaner environments, best safety practices, and hosting art workshops that centered community mural making.
Reviewed by Albert Chao , Deena Darby, Gina Fernandes, Andrew Hart, Lisa C. Henry, A.L. Hu, Joyce Hwang, and Victor Zagabe.
This article first appeared in the October 2023 issue of ARCHITECT, which was guest edited and designed by Dark Matter U.