Over the past couple weeks, more and more lighting businesses and nonprofits have taken to social media to speak out against racial injustice and to pledge their commitment to diversity and equality. These posts follow the killing of George Floyd and the subsequent protests across the country.
An overwhelming number of companies participated in Blackout Tuesday on various social media outlets, from global manufacturers like Acuity to award-winning lighting design studios like elluminét. The support for the movement extended internationally, with ERCO Lighting in Germany, WSA in Canada, and fortheloveoflight in Denmark all participating in the social media blackout.
Various IALD and IES chapters participated as well, including IALD New York, IALD San Francisco, IES Houston, and IES Los Angeles. A week later, the IES Board released an official statement in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, and IALD released a statement on June 10.
Some companies simply posted a black square along with the hashtag #blackouttuesday, while others listed resources and nonprofits that support the Black Lives Matter. Environments by LE wrote: “Be part of the change. Listen, learn, speak up and act” and provided the Instagram handles of the NAACP and The Bail Project.
Since Blackout Tuesday, numerous companies have taken to Instagram to condemn racism and show their support for diversity and equality. Among them was Hubbell Lighting:
“Hubbell is a global company committed to fostering an environment that respects and encourages individual differences, diversity of thought, and talent” said Jil M. Littlejohn, Director of Inclusion & Diversity at Hubbell, Inc., “Everyone at Hubbell has an opportunity to be successful while bringing their whole selves to work.”
WAC Lighting showed their support as well, posting an official statement and quotes from iconic African-American trailblazers Martin Luther King Jr. and Maya Angelou:
They also released their “3 Point Plan for a Better World” to EdisonReport:
Often we are asked what we mean by Responsible Lighting. There is the obvious environmental impact side of how we provide energy efficient products that reduce the carbon footprint of our lights, from fabrication to operation. But those who know us best, know that there’s much more to how we shine in our communities. We believe that with the opportunities we have taken advantage of to build a wonderful business, there comes a responsibility to make choices that help improve our community for others. We humbly offer our commitment to make the world a brighter and safer place for all.
We love our country where there’s nothing more American than the Big Dream. Yet growing a minority and women owned business has allowed us to recognize the premise of white supremacy that systemically makes it more difficult for people of different races to achieve the American Dream.
We are committed to eradicating the inequities we see by promoting diversity in our community, workplace, and industry while valuing merit above all else.
1- Our corporate giving will continue to be focused on access to community education on cultures and science.
2- We will continue hiring a workforce that is more diverse than that of our country and emphasize promoting from within.
3- We will keep listening to our community and invent solutions to their problems, thereby demonstrating the ingenuity and compassion made possible from combining different perspectives.
Some have taken this time to educate the lighting community on actionable steps toward inclusion. Lightology, tightrope, and numerous other lighting designers have reposted a “Designer Ally’s How To” from the Black Interior Designers Network detailing ways in which designers can address inequality in their line of work:
Lighting businesses are not staying silent; as events continue to unfold across the country, it will be interesting to see the responses from the lighting community.