A Letter from the Presidents on Race & Architecture
Dear BSA Community,
Over the past few months, conversations about racial equity have stimulated new ways of thinking about diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice. As architects, we have substantial work to do within our own profession to include, mentor, sponsor, and provide leadership opportunities for BIPOC architects. Only three percent of U.S. architects are Latinx, and less than two percent of U.S. architects are Black. Our contributions to our clients, our communities, and our world suffer because of the narrow breadth of viewpoints and life experiences within our profession.
We understand that most firms recognize that lack of diversity is a problem and many don’t know where to begin to effect change. These problems are not new, and they will not be solved overnight. But creating a more diverse profession requires actionable and measurable work to make our workplaces inclusive and equitable. When leaders make issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion a priority, change happens.
The BSA’s Race and Architecture series encourages and provides necessary dialogue around race in our profession. In bringing Black and Brown voices to the foreground, we hope to make this work a priority and empower all architects with the tools to drive meaningful change. Throughout the remainder of the year, Race and Architecture sessions on the fourth Tuesday of each month will feature a variety of speakers who offer opportunities to listen and learn from the lived experiences of minority architects. Programs in 2021 will continue to highlight diverse voices and will offer more opportunities to engage and act.
The next Race and Architecture session will take place on September 22 at 12:00 PM. We are excited to announce that Ted Landsmark, past BSA President, distinguished professor, and director of the Kitty and Michael Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy in the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs at Northeastern University, will be moderating the discussion. Since the 1970s, Ted has been a leader in civil rights and community advocacy. His work in the Boston area and beyond addresses the intersection of racial equity with architecture, design, and urban planning. We also have the honor of hearing from the Mayor of Cambridge, Sumbul Siddiqui. Throughout her career, Mayor Siddiqui has been a strong advocate for affordable housing and has worked tirelessly to protect families from eviction and displacement.
Register for the session here.
We see a lack of diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice as the biggest threat to the architecture profession. Our ability to evolve and become more inclusive directly affects our relevance as architects. As Whitney M. Young, Jr. stated in his 1968 AIA National Convention speech, “we have a long way to go in this field of integration of the architects.” We need to act now. Please be one the voices to help us create meaningful change. Start by joining us as we continue to address these issues on September 22, 2020.
Natasha Espada AIA
2020 BSA/AIA President
Greg Minott AIA
2020 BSA/AIA Vice President/President Elect