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Community News

Mar 02, 2020

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Town Hall furthers a dialogue

Kuttner Chan others small group

Naming it. Claiming it. Changing it.

Photo courtesy BSA Staff

Diversity statistics within the profession are both shocking and easily observable, leading AIA National to ask what it could do to help its members champion equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Even though women make up 51 percent of architecture students, only 20 percent of licensed architects are women. African Americans represent only one-to-two percent of licensed architects and Hispanic/Latinos represent four percent. These statistics, both shocking and easily observable within the profession, led AIA National to ask what it could do to help its members champion equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI).

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On February 25th, the BSA invited members to join its first ever EDI Town Hall to learn about national and local initiatives taking place around EDI and, in turn, to hear from members about what they think the BSA can and should do to address these urgent matters. BSA President Natasha Espada AIA kicked off the evening, speaking to a crowd of over 80 people. She highlighted the work of the EDI Task Force and BSA Knowledge Committees; BosNOMA, WiD, OAC and Women Principals and introduced two new BSA Knowledge Communities; EDI and LGBTQ.

The conversation then turned to Lumumba Seegars (PhD candidate in Organizational Behavior) to facilitate break out groups to help identify the EDI issues members most want the BSA to address. The groups were charged with naming specific issues, examining how the BSA and its members can claim ownership of these issues and identifying the next steps needed to create meaningful change.

View slides here.

Throughout the breakout sessions, attendees voiced concerns, opinions, and hopes. The breakout sessions were so enthusiastically attended that time for reporting back was relatively short. Some common themes did emerge around mentorship, scholarships, and other resources. The BSA staff will synthesize all the comments and publish the results later this spring.

Photo courtesy Peter Kuttner FAIA

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The AIA's
Guides for Equitable Practice is a nine-chapter manual that gives architects and firms tools to help address employment and personnel issues about equity, diversity, and inclusion. The BSA will be hosting chapter-by-chapter reviews of this guide starting March 25th at the BSA and host firms throughout the area. For details, read Currents, or write Jennifer Effron at [email protected] .

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