AIGA stands against state law HB2: An open letter to the North Carolina governor

Dear Governor McCrory,

As the largest and oldest professional association of communication designers in the world, with 70 chapters and 26,000 members across the U.S., we proudly represent the most influential voice in the design industry. With three vibrant chapters based in North Carolina (Charlotte, Raleigh, and Triad NC), we are compelled to lend that voice to the public opposition, from the creative community and beyond, to state law HB2.

By eliminating anti-discrimination protections for gay and transgender rights, this legislation stands against AIGA’s core values. AIGA maintains high standards for civic behavior and public policies that support human dignity on a nonpartisan basis. We uphold diversity and inclusion as critical to the practice and the profession of design. Our national board has adopted the UN Declaration of Human Rights and many of our members are committed to creating design with a positive social impact. As a professional craft, strategic advantage, and vital cultural force, good design relies on empathy; we expect the same from our laws.

AIGA maintains a deep respect for the creative community in North Carolina and its educational systems, and we stand by our chapters that champion AIGA’s values locally. In addition to sanctioning rights violations decried by many, including leaders of our profession and the national community, HB2 has compromised the appeal of North Carolina as a location for the education and practice of design-driven innovation. We are dismayed by your support of this legislation and urge its repeal.

Julie Anixter
Executive director

A note from Julie Anixter to AIGA members

Since early 2015, we have been planning our June 2016 Leadership Retreat, an important annual gathering of leaders from AIGA’s 70 chapters, the national board of directors, and national staff, in Raleigh, NC.

Following considered review, we have decided to move forward with the event as planned. The recent passage of HB2, which stands in opposition to AIGA’s core values, has provided an opportunity for thoughtful discussion and public commitment to diversity and inclusion as critical to the practice of design, communication, and leadership. This unforeseen situation adds new dimension to this year’s theme: Open.

We applaud recent statements made by Raleigh’s Mayor Nancy McFarlane and our venue, the Raleigh Convention Center, as well as inclusive actions being taken by AIGA Raleigh. And we stand in support of our local chapters (AIGA Raleigh, Charlotte, and Triad NC) who champion our values in their creative communities.

We respect our chapter leaders who choose to express opposition to HB2, whether by abstention or by strengthening the event through participation. We are committed to supporting our chapters, continuing this important dialogue on-site, and taking hold of this unique opportunity together to foster leadership, collaboration, openness, and design for social good.

About the Author: I serve as the Executive Director for AIGA, the professional association for design. My career has been focused on creating remarkable results through imbedding design and innovation in large and small organizations as a hands-on executive, strategist, catalyst/audience builder, educator and facilitator of enterprise change. Remarkable is a high bar and it's the only one that interests me!