We are making a stand against systemic racism

With heavy hearts, we share the national pain over the recent, senseless killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and a depressingly long list of  black lives needlessly cut short.  The eradication of systemic racism in our nation requires the voice of architects, and unlike in the past, we must now speak loudly and clearly.Georgia, and particularly Atlanta, have important places in our ongoing civil rights struggle.  We were reminded of this over the weekend as citizens in Atlanta, Savannah and numerous other small communities protested these most recent injustices.

First, we encourage every AIA member to read and take to heart the public statement issued by the National Organization of Minority Architects earlier this week. Next, we call on our membership to act.

Equity, diversity, and inclusion is a now-familiar language, but it is only the starting point for meaningful change. It is paramount that our AIA leadership at all levels helps amplify and unify the profession for all who practice with us, as well as those who find shelter in the spaces we design.

Specifically, some of these efforts include advocating for inclusive legislation and policies at the state and local levels, partnering with and supporting minority design firms and organizations, promoting the work of the underrepresented, and diversifying our leadership and programs to be fully representative of all members. We have accomplished some small victories in these areas during recent years, but there is much more to be done.

We believe that the year 2020 will be a pivotal point in America’s story.  But to make it so this work cannot be a one-time act; we must strive for an ongoing conversation that relies on the unity of our membership, design firms, friends and families, and our clients. Instead of assuming that as architects we know what is right and jump in to demonstrate our knowledge and good intentions, we need to step back, listen, learn, and then be ready to act.

Let’s implement what we already know to be true: the best of any effort has always been the result of deep, meaningful collaboration. And the more diverse, equitable, and inclusive the collaboration, the more creative and lasting the solutions.

Let’s get to work.

Michael Tchouaffe, AIA
AIA Georgia PresidentKaren Jenkins, AIA
AIA Atlanta President

Carmen Evans, AIA
AIA Savannah President

Bill Palladino, AIA
AIA Augusta President

Karen Schmidt, AIA
AIA Golden Isles President

David Matheny, AIA
AIA Northeast Section Past President