The Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging works in partnership with various GSD and Harvard University offices, as well as experts in the field to provide programs that foster a design community that can hold multiple identities and conflicting perspectives in an engaging and respectful way.

Community Conversations

Community Conversation is an initiative for the GSD to informally engage with each other around topics that advance discussions about perspective, difference, and commonality. This ongoing initiative highlights one aspect of the intersecting quality of diversity, inclusion, and belonging at a time.

Reimagining Black Wall Street: Economic Stability, Mobility, and Prosperity (featuring Mavis Gragg and Segun Idowu)

In partnership with Mavis Gragg (Loeb Fellow 2024 and CEO of HeirShares, LLC) and Segun Idowu (City of Boston Chief of Economic Opportunity and Inclusion), we unpacked how Black business districts came to be in the U.S. context and what contemporary requisites are essential for building a Black Wall Street today. We discussed the necessary economic and legal opportunities to counter declining Black wealth and explored how to transition from short-term wealth accumulation to lasting intergenerational resilience.

Truth-Seeking: Restoring Incomplete Histories (featuring Ana María León Crespo)

“We can’t dismantle what we do not understand, and we can’t understand the contemporary injustice we face unless we reckon honestly with our history.” – Tomiko Brown-Nagin, Dean of Radcliffe Institute

“Truth-Seeking: Restoring Incomplete Histories” focused on the importance of truth-seeking as a vehicle to uncover and restore incomplete histories. Building on the themes from the Harvard & The Legacy of Slavery Report, we discussed the role of the canon in perpetuating contemporary injustice and explored avenues for restoration.

This Conversation featured Ana María León Crespo, the GSD’s Associate Professor of Architecture.

Creative Placemaking: Building Transformative Coalitions (featuring Kara Elliott-Ortega)

The Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging, in partnership with Boston’s Chief of Arts and Culture, Kara Elliott-Ortega, explored the healing power of coalition-building in the face of long-standing artistic displacement. This Community Conversation discussed the significance of creative placemaking and strategic partnership in addressing histories of inequity.

Voter Suppression in the Built Environment (featuring Kristen McCosh and Patricia Mendez)

Thirty years after the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 60% of polling places still have impediments that prohibit people with disabilities from accessing the polls. While the pandemic created inclusive voter engagement through absentee ballot drop-off boxes and curbside voting, there are currently more than 400 bills in 49 states that would restrict access to voting for people with disabilities. This conversation explored how the built environment disenfranchises disabled voters and what can be done to ensure all can participate in democracy.

“Voter Suppression in the Built Environment” featured Commissioner Kristen McCosh, the Disability Commissioner and ADA Title II Coordinator for the City of Boston.

Memory Institutions as a Site for Reckoning, Repair, and Reimagination (featuring Shamichael Hallman and Jerome Offord Jr.)

Building on the Harvard & The Legacy of Slavery Report, this event focused on memory institutions as a site for reckoning, repair, and reimagination. Participants explored the power dynamics of memory institutions as cultural knowledge sites, examined reparative approaches to disrupting homogeneous histories, and reimagined these sites as inclusive community spaces.

DIB Keynotes

DIB Keynotes serve as valuable opportunities for the community to enhance our understanding of Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging by connecting with experts from the broader University community and beyond.

“Why won’t you listen to me?”: How to Engage in Productive Disagreements

In” ‘Why won’t you listen to me?’: How to Engage in Productive Disagreements,” Harvard University Kennedy School Professor Julia Minson delved deep into the dynamics and psychology of interpersonal disagreement. Together, we uncovered practical strategies for engaging in conversations that are often difficult, avoided, and feared.

Access Ain’t Inclusion

Drawing from his book, The Privileged Poor: How Elite Colleges Are Failing Disadvantaged Students, Dr. Anthony Jack discussed how university policies and cultures (i.e., hidden curriculum) perpetuate and exasperate inequities in the student experience and success.

Town Halls

GSD Town Halls are dynamic public spaces for discussion and reflection. Prioritizing emotional and mental wellbeing, GSD Town Halls promote collaborative relationships among faculty, staff, students, and researchers around current issues of policy and social inequity impacting our community at the domestic and international levels.

2020 Election

In advance of the 2020 presidential election, the Office of DIB hosted a town hall to create a space for community members to share their thoughts and concerns around the political landscape of the United States and the impact a shift in the leadership could have on the country and world.

Anti-Asian Racism

In the wake of several attacks against Asian Americans, the Office of DIB hosted a town hall focused on addressing Anti-Asian Racism by reaffirming our community values as an act of solidarity and providing an opportunity for the GSD community to connect, listen, process, and better understand each other.


Other DIB Programs