AIA Santa Fe Statement on Racial Equity
To our Membership and Northern New Mexico Community:
The 2020 Executive Committee of the Santa Fe Chapter of the American Institute of Architects acknowledges the pervasiveness of racist structures in our society and within our practice that cause harm to Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). These structures have led to a community of architects that are disproportionately white and supportive of policies which benefit those in power over the needs of the community. We must examine our role as architects and how we may be unknowingly contributing to racist agendas because we are accustomed to the status quo. Normal is not ok, and we must use our power and responsibility to consciously build a more just and equitable community.
Police brutality against BIPOC is only the most obvious act of racial violence; these acts are bolstered by innumerable and insidious racist structures that we must also seek to dismantle. First, we must acknowledge that we not only reside on stolen land, but as architects we actively and continuously profit from it. We have appropriated cultural construction typologies and commoditized indigenous building styles. Once we acknowledge our role in these and other issues, we must not only cease to create more harm, we must help to heal the wounds that are created by these actions. We have an obligation as conscious community members to stand against bias, and as architects to design conscientious and inclusive environments. Here is where we stand:
We agree with the AIA National 2020 Board of Directors’ statement that “It is our responsibility to work together to break down the barriers that start in architecture school and continue into the firm and workplace that exclude far too many.” Representation matters, and the ethnic makeup of licensed architects in Santa Fe should reflect the diversity of our community. NCARB has identified a clear gap in the number of people of color who graduate with a degree in architecture and those who pursue and achieve licensure. AIA Santa Fe will work to close this gap by supporting the education of a more diverse group of young architects during their AXP and ARE process through caring mentorship.
We support the actions defined and demanded by Design Justice for Black Lives, including the reallocation of police funding toward the needs of disenfranchised neighborhoods, actively opposing the carceral state, and allowing self-determination of communities over their built environment through community engagement.
We know that pay equity and advancement are tied to an employee’s race and gender. We implore firm owners to identify and rectify pay disparities among their staff. We support the development of transparent pay and promotion policies, as well as recompense for any prior services extracted for less than their value.
We are conscious of the dearth of affordable housing for all income levels in Santa Fe, which results in the physical removal of those less affluent from our community. AIA Santa Fe will be working with the city to help visually communicate Affordable Housing strategies and initiatives to the broader community. We believe affordable housing does not equate to cheaply built construction, and we will advocate for quality housing that brings holistic value to the community.
To remain silent on the issue of systemic racism in itself speaks volumes; we want to make it clear to our membership and community that we are decidedly on the side of recognizing and rectifying racist policies and actions. We encourage you to educate yourselves on racial justice, use your voice to advocate for the empowerment of historically disenfranchised groups, and support the Black Lives Matter movement. This statement is only the first step in a long but necessary process; we will continue this crucial conversation with membership, develop and refine our list of action items, and IMPLEMENT initiatives that help to build a more diverse and inclusive Santa Fe.
The 2020 AIA Santa Fe Executive Committee
Conrad Skinner, AIA 2020 President
Kristen Fox, AIA 2020 Vice President / 2021 President
Beverley Spears, FAIA
Sibylle Mueller, AIA
Marissa Campos, Assoc. AIA
William Neuhaus, FAIA
John Padilla, AIA