Designing Ourselves for Racial Justice

Who am I?

My first name “Teresa” comes from my dad’s mom, while my middle name “Charlyn” comes from my mom’s mom. My parents always intended for me to go by “Tess” in the typical tradition of Irish Catholics recycling names so often that nicknames are required to reduce confusion. Ironically for justice work, my last name “Hegarty” derives from the Gaelic word meaning “unjust”.

What fuels me?

Sometimes the work can get a little messy, both literally and figuratively.
This is the personal manifesto I created.

What is my mission?

This was a quickly generated “star map” that I created during class in order to organize my goals and focus areas for equity work.

Who are my people?

Design mindset shifts, the first of which was from “solo astronaut” to “space team”, encouraged us to think about how we can scale up our efforts to design for racial justice (drawings by Louie, developed by the teaching team).

What have I tried?

Framework for testing a prototype (drawn by Louie).
We used Zoom breakout rooms to break into groups of two or three. Each person had three minutes to answer as many of the above prompts as possible. Afterwards, I gathered feedback on how people felt about doing community building during our meetings, and how frequently they thought it should be incorporated.

What have I learned?

Slide reads: Why Synthesize 1// to organize, shape, and filter gathered data into a cohesive structure to inform your design 2// a motivated, continuous effort to understand connections (slide design by Jess).

What’s next?

This is most of our class: sam, Louie, Jess, Sharon, Gabriela, Andrea, Awoe, Carmen, Simcha, Lourdes, and myself (Betty and Aarya are not pictured). Getting to know all these inspiring people was the highlight of my quarter.
Image reads: “There’s no single answer that will solve all of our future problems. There’s no magic bullet. Instead there are thousands of answers-at least. You can be one of them if you choose to be.” — Octavia Butler (slide design by Jess)




(she/her/hers) PhD student in civil engineering at Stanford. I care about combating climate change and working toward racial justice.

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Tess Hegarty

Tess Hegarty

(she/her/hers) PhD student in civil engineering at Stanford. I care about combating climate change and working toward racial justice.

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