AIA Seattle Members Have Been Heard

Dear AIA Seattle Members,

I wrote you on Friday to share our chapter’s renewed commitment to our core principles of equity, diversity and sustainability, in light of the significant political changes underway in our country.  Since sending that message, I have heard from many of you, expressing the value you place on our community and our core principles, as well as your anxiety about what the future might hold for gender equity, racial equity, LGBT people, vulnerable populations, and the future of our planet.

Many of you also wrote me to share your concern about statements from AIA National issued immediately following the election on behalf of the membership, which constituted a “business-as-usual” approach and overstated and misrepresented member sentiment. Those statements were issued without input from our chapter or members. I contacted AIA CEO Robert Ivy on Saturday to express our concern and request an apology for the post.  This recognition has now occurred and an apology has been issued.

Let me be clear: AIA Seattle will vigorously champion inclusion and stand against bigotry, racism, sexism, and discrimination. Today, our staff discussed concrete steps to ensure that our Center for Architecture & Design is a safe space for all who are interested in design.  We renew our commitment to ongoing efforts of our many member-led initiatives that seek a profession that reflects the demographic diversity of our state.

AIA Seattle will continue to champion climate action.  We will advocate for local and state policies, such as carbon taxation and stricter energy codes, that help make buildings part of the solution. If new federal policies step back from action on the environment, we will lead by example in our city and our state.

AIA Seattle will redouble our commitment to advocacy on issues our members care about, from housing and homelessness to livability and place-making. Finally, AIA Seattle will continue to find new ways for our members to engage directly in our community.

Now is the time for action.  Each year our volunteer leaders set priorities for advocacy, continuing education, and programming. In light of our shifting political landscape, the staff, board, committees and members of our strong, regional chapter will work to be as agile and nimble as we can to respond to threats and opportunities within our spheres of influence. Some of our current efforts are already extremely relevant, and some things we committed to may fall away in the face of more urgent priorities. Over the coming weeks, we invite all AIA Seattle members, committees and volunteers to refocus and align our efforts to respond to our new political landscape.

On the heels of a campaign shaped by divisiveness, we cannot fall into the trap of arguing among ourselves.  Our organization must bring people and communities together, and shape (and defend) the physical and cultural realms we hold dear. Such significant national change opens the door for our generation to lead, and AIA Seattle must step up into that leadership.  If we spend our energy on disagreement within our community, we won’t have the energy left to address the very real challenges we face.

We are in uncharted political territory. Each of us will be called on to stand by our core values, to contribute to solutions, and to lead by example. Your involvement now, as members, is more critical than ever.

We welcome your ideas for how we can accomplish that – together.

Lisa Richmond
Executive Director
AIA Seattle

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