June 8, 2020 / Member News

June 2020 Presidents Letter: Respect | Dignity | Equity

As architects, we are dreamers, problem solvers, consensus builders. We are community builders. AIA Baltimore is appalled and outraged over the latest acts of violence against Black Americans. We are also cognizant that these acts are not outliers, they are just the most recent examples of systematic racial injustice.

Although these words are true and heartfelt, they could have been written many times over the past 400 years. To help move forward, individual architects, our firms, and AIA must be willing to have honest conversations. These conversations start with the fact that our profession is still predominately white and male. We have a responsibility to use our privilege to stand against pervasive racial injustice that affects the daily lives of so many people of color in America. We also have the responsibility to listen instead of assuming we know what is right. We must be ready to learn, unlearn, and adapt. We will take an active role in supporting our minority members and take an active role in increasing minority representation in the profession.

We have seen and are inspired by the words of NOMA President Kimberly Dowdell, who implores us to be B.R.A.V.E. and by Rosa Sheng, founder of Equity by Design who challenges us to understand that equity matters for everyone. The new AIA Baltimore Center for Architecture and Design was conceived to hold and further these causes through conversations, exhibits and programs. We remain committed to education and training opportunities for our members, as well as the communities we serve. We commit to openly and honestly discussing the inequities within our profession and taking action to address them. We pledge our support to organizations working towards the same goals.

As we move forward, we will continue our longstanding relationship with Morgan State University’s School of Architecture + Planning, including our annual international research scholarship, and Fellows’ leadership award. Our AIA Baltimore committees will continue to organize important workshops, such as Equity Committee’s three-part “Implicit Bias in the Workplace” series. We will continue with AIA’s first Social Equity Design Award that specifically recognizes community-driven projects that promote equity through design in our communities. We will continue to build the next generation of architects through the Future Architects Resources (FAR)/Kids in Design, in collaboration with design professionals and educators of local middle and secondary schools in predominately underserved communities. In January, we expanded our Board of Directors to include ex officio positions for BMore NOMA and NOMAS to aid collaboration among our organizations.


Scott M Walters, AIA, LEED AP Hord Coplan Macht