Hi! I'm Sandra Camacho (aka Sandra By Design)

Harnessing our changemaking power to design a more just world

Published 4 months ago • 3 min read

Digest #3

Harnessing our changemaking power to design a more just world

November 1, 2023 | Read in your browser

If you're reading this digest, it's likely that you aspire to use design for good.

But sometimes it can feel like we don't have the power to fight oppression when it's so big and overwhelming.

This is how I have felt in the past few weeks.

Big changes in my personal life — moving apartments all on my own — had thrown me off course.

In the midst of that, violence erupted in Israel and Gaza. As an equity-centered practitioner, I felt the pressure to do something.

But what could I possibly do? I felt I didn't know enough about the conflict. I was emotionally and physically recovering from a very stressful period. And I didn't see how "design" could fit into such a complex, multi-layered conflict.

I turned to Octavia Butler's words for inspiration and guidance. She once said:

"The only way to prove to yourself that you have power is to use it."

And so I started carving out moments for reading and listening. I sought connection with other practitioners to grow and learn. And after several weeks, I chose to speak publicly about it — even if it's still a "learning-in-progress" perspective.

That's how I started harnessing my power, even when I felt powerless.

Harnessing our power as changemakers can take on multiple forms.

Harnessing our power can look like activating equitable design practices on a series of projects. Or engaging in collective dialogues on oppression and taking an anti-oppressive stance. Or even instituting an ethical code of conduct and a set of non-negotiable requirements for our design decisions.

But it can also be smaller in nature and even internal.

It can look more like observing oppressive patterns, norms and systems before ever taking any action or saying any words.

This is especially relevant when you're starting from a place where you're removed from a rich understanding of lived experiences, sociocultural context and history. Here, listening is your biggest power.

I encourage you to see changemaking not as a set of daunting actions that are high in visibility and large in scale. But rather as small stepping stones of growth and change that can start within ourselves.

This shift in perspective can move us from a state of disempowerment to empowerment. From "I don't have power to change anything" to "I can use my power to evolve my understanding and perspective — and prepare for future action."

An update on our platform launch

With everything that's going on, the launch of the Design Changemakers platform is unfortunately delayed until later this month (I'm only human!).

For those of you who signed up for early access, please expect some news in the coming week.

In the meantime, I welcome you to join me for our launch party on Wednesday, November 15th!

You'll discover the different tools and offerings of our platform, get a deeper understanding of our changemaking philosophy and frameworks and check out our future roadmap. You'll also get a special gift for attending 💝

And if you want to give a helping hand for the launch, don't hesitate to reach out!

Sandra By Design

Who am I? I'm Sandra Camacho (she/her), an independent inclusive & equitable design strategist and educator working under the alias Sandra By Design. I'm also the founder of Design Changemakers and the Inclusive Design Jam.

About this newsletter: You're receiving this email because you subscribed to my Design Changemakers Digest. Every week (or so), I share insights, tips and resources on designing for equity, inclusion and justice and activating change. You'll also get news on learning opportunities in the Design Changemakers platform.

Update your subscription preferences: Unsubscribe from the Design Changemakers Digest (sorry to see you go!) or manage your subscriber profile.

30 North Gould Street Suite N, Sheridan, WY 82801

Hi! I'm Sandra Camacho (aka Sandra By Design)

I write about designing for inclusion, equity and justice, covering strategy, culture, mindset, practices and day-to-day behaviors.

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