Voices Of Our Community: Ayrïd Chandler

By: The Unsettled Team 

Photos by: Kibwe Brathwaite 

As we stand in solidarity with our Black community, in words and in deeds, we also continue to listen. Diversity, perspective, and the inner wisdom that every person holds is ingrained in what it means to live Unsettled. 

We are going to continue to ensure that we elevate all voices from our community, and right now, in this moment, it’s important that we give a voice to our Black alumni around the world. 

They share with us how we all can do our part in the fight against racial injustice at home and on our travels. May we all have the strength to listen to these tough truths. Only then can true change begin to manifest. 

We are listening. 

Ayrïd Chandler

Photographed by Kibwe Brathwaite

Name: Ayrïd Chandler

 Current Location: Trinidad

 Tell us about your work background

I am a graphic designer although recently the term doesn’t seem to accurately describe what I do. I run a design studio, Ayrïd by Design. It used to be a one woman show but now I have an assistant and an intern! My niche is branding design so a lot of my clients are people who are just starting their businesses/companies or need a rebrand. However, I also work with existing brands and create designs for them ranging from things like annual reports, to promotional design for events and festivals to press ads. When I’m not working on client based work, I design greeting cards for my local line Trini Lyrics where I literally design the lyrics from Trinidadian songs (mainly Christmas cards for now).  My B.F.A. in Graphic Design from SCAD Atlanta also allowed me to be a part-time lecturer at the University of West Indies St Augustine, where I teach year two design students.

What is one way you’d like to share with our community for how we can support racial justice in the US?

It’s such a loaded question, right? What can we do? I think there is a power in stories, and many voices coming together as one. As much as I wish I could donate $20 Billion to fund the people who can change laws, and policies, etc. I can’t, but what I can do from my island in the Caribbean is have conversations about our own systemic racism which looks completely different from what exists in the US, I can amplify stories via social media, making sure that we don’t back down as global, digital citizens. Things tend to pop up in the news and trend for a while and then we move on, right? We go back to normal, we forget, but I think globally we’ve arrived at this moment where there is no more moving on without serious change, and we can contribute to that online, sharing information, reposting messages, checking ourselves and our privileges, educating ourselves and being there for others, as an ally, friend, resource, etc.

What is one way all travelers can support racial equality when they are traveling?

Don’t judge people based on their appearances. It seems straightforward and you may be thinking no, I don’t do that, but sometimes we unconsciously ask questions that to us are innocent but are loaded with biases or prejudice or stereotypes. While traveling, I almost always have to talk about Bob Marley and say “No, I don’t smoke weed”. While I am definitely a Robert Nester Marley fan, because of my hair, there are assumptions automatically made before people get to know me (the fact that I have locs is also why I don’t smoke, just so I don’t fall into a stereotype). So don’t judge or assume and if you have privilege, use it for those who have less than you.

 

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