AIA Seattle Statement on Racial Injustice

Dear AIA Seattle Members and Community At-Large,

AIA Seattle joins powerful community voices raised to condemn the murder of George Floyd and the broader system of racism, violence, injustice and inequity that it represents. We see the sustained anguish of Black people in our profession and in our broader community. Black lives matter. We know there is hard work to be done.

Social justice is inextricably linked to the built environment. It is evident in the racist history of redlining in Seattle and other practices that were put in place to undermine communities of color, and it remains evident today in the displacement experienced by communities of color. Leaders of National Organization of Minority Architects Northwest, Leon Holloway and Veronica Barrow, assert in their eloquent statement released today:

Architects are civic stewards who aim to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public through the built environment. As members of NOMA NW and of the AEC community, we believe it is our duty to design and build equitable spaces for all, without prejudice or bias, and to minimize the effects of racism within our profession. We must leverage our positions of privilege to help our most vulnerable citizens, neighbors, and colleagues – who too strive for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

As we experience daily images of pain and conflict, it is easy to feel powerless. But architects are not powerless. The work architects do matters, because it centers the experiences and needs of people. Cornel West says that justice is what love looks like in public. Architect Bryan C. Lee Jr. adds that design justice is what love looks like in public spaces.

Architects choose this profession out of a passion to make our communities better. Never has that urge been more important. We can and must act to make a difference — through our commitment to anti-racism, our design work, our intercultural understanding, our community leadership, and our workplace practices. We must begin by listening to the diverse communities we serve.

We accept the hard work ahead, and take it on with humility. Please help us. Add to our learning and our dialogue with your thoughts and ideas. Speak up where you believe we should be better. Let us join together in this somber moment, as designers and as human beings, to use our time and skills and voices in service to a better world.

Lisa Richmond
Executive Director
AIA Seattle + Design in Public

Meredith Everist
President, AIA Seattle Board of Directors