Maurice Woods and Jen Cotton, Inneract Project
"Yes, there could be more designers of color. But I think there are enough designers of color to be able to promote and provide leadership positions," says Maurice Woods, founder of the Inneract Project.
At Inneract Project, Woods and Jen Cotton, a member of the board, help kids learn about the field of design and then mentor them when they join the workforce. One of the biggest issues they see is that companies aren't willing to elevate the talent they already have.
"I know personally people who have been trying to get manager positions for a long time who can't get that promotion," Woods says. "One of the things I'd love to see is just more opportunity for designers of color to get paid and promoted. This is just making sure that's equal. To me, that's not a hard thing! If my white counterpart is making that, shouldn't I be able to make that?"
These disparities are especially pronounced in tech, Cotton says: "If we just leveled it off, especially in tech, that sets up BIPOC kids up for success. That generational wealth happening in tech is massive. The amount to change your life is really a lot. And I find a lot of my friends who are people of color in the industry end up supporting a lot of their family. For my white male counterpart, that check goes entirely into his bank account. I'm dealing with systemic and racial wealth inequalities. My money goes to my mom, my cousin, whatever."