Updates from the Justice & Equity for Diversity & Inclusion Council

Who serves on the AIA Seattle JE:DI Council?

Michele Hill AIA (co-chair) | AIA Seattle President
Matthew Hagen AIA (co-chair) | Workshop 315
Whitney Lewis Assoc. AIA (emeritus chair) | GGLO
Anna Leach AIA | Amazon
Rania Qawasma | Koz Development, Daarna
Rio Namiki AIA | Miller Hull Partnership
Sarah Burk AIA | Johnston Architects
Susan Frieson AIA | Weber Thompson

Priorities and Accomplishments from 2023

Diversity in Leadership Fund
JE:DI Council supported the rollout of the Diversity in Leadership Fund, which provides funding to alleviate the potential barrier of the membership cost, which is required for prospective committee chairs. Proposed co-chairs whose employers do not cover their AIA dues and who are from historically marginalized backgrounds (due to disability, gender identity, class, race/ethnicity, immigration status, sexual orientation, or other factor) have the option to request the chapter cover dues as a new or reinstating membership for the duration of the chair’s service to the committee (generally two years).

AIA Seattle wrapped up our JE:DI IRL (In Real Life) series this last year. The series was started by the Justice and Equity for Diversity and Inclusion Committee and AIA Northern Virginia (NOVA) Women in Design. The series covered topics ranging from barriers to licensure, leadership, and diversity within the experiences of all attendees.

This free series is being expanded this year to include many chapters across the United States which will bring more backgrounds and keep the conversation progressing. Keep an eye out for more details in the coming months!

Advocacy for Accessibility at the National Conference 
All events should be accessible, particularly events delivered by our organization. Last year many members expressed concerns about the lack of virtual access at the AIA Conference on Architecture. In response, JE:DI Council penciled a letter to the conference planning committee advocating for remote access. The Council also emphasized the need for increased transparency,  communicating considerations and decisions made regarding virtual delivery to members at the time of registration.

We are continuing to monitor the status and hope to see results with the tickets for the event going on sale this week, on February 28.

New Justice and Equity for Diversity and Inclusion Board of Directors Seat
The Board of Directors has approved a petition to bring a new seat who will represent our Justice and Equity for Diversity and Inclusion goals. We are excited that AIA Seattle has agreed to bring in more voices to the conversation and look forward to the future representative being on the Board of Directors next year.

Vetting AIA Seattle Leadership + Local Award Winners
After meeting with a representative from National, the JE:DI Council has put forward a recommendation that a National Ethics violation review be officially adopted as part of our review process for AIA leadership and local individual award nominees. The hope is that this a demonstration that our members are committed to following the highest standards of professionalism, integrity, competence, and ethical practice. The Member Advancement Committee has approved this recommendation, and JE:DI Council will be facilitating the process for our current board nominations.