Mary Ann Badavi
Mary Ann is a UX designer, content expert and noodle lover based in Washington D.C.

MAB does DT

Question everything

How can effective storytelling by and for underrepresented groups create cultural movements?

Recent films that center and are created by people of color, such as Black Panther and Crazy Rich Asians, show that stories about non-white people can sell in Hollywood. As a result, more mainstream superhero films and romantic comedies featuring minority groups at the center are coming out. I’m interested in how these groundbreaking films utilized technology and storytelling to literally change the face of entertainment.

How can the use of old physical spaces—instead of tearing them down—enable local businesses and artisans to sell their products?

This past spring in Washington D.C., an entire block of old buildings in a popular neighborhood was set to be demolished. Before it happened, though, a local artists collective called No Kings Collective set up a free pop-up gallery for a week, featuring artists from the city who work in a variety of mediums. The gallery was hugely successful, drawing thousands of people, including Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Instead of destroying historic buildings for the sake of new businesses, how can we repurpose them so that local community members can utilize and enjoy them?

How can catering to people who have been marginalized by structural injustice improve the quality of life for everyone in a community?

Too often, neighborhood improvement boards cater to their most privileged residents, putting in new businesses tailored to them. This leads to stores that are not accessible for those in wheelchairs, restaurants that don’t let people in based on their clothing, and streets that are unsafe for those with hearing or visual impairments. I believe that neighborhoods designed by and for these groups of people would also benefit people not within those groups.

Mary Ann Badavi