Working Together to Respond to Systemic and Institutional Anti-Black Racism
During the last week, as the world continued to face a virus that has upended the lives of many, we saw another all-too-familiar virus rear its head in communities in the United States and Canada. In the wake of the tragic and unjustifiable killing of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Regis Korchinski-Paquet, among many others, we’re confronting systemic and institutional racism across North America.
We are horrified and stand with Black communities, asserting that this is not acceptable and that change must occur. We stand by all who are protesting in America and around the world, risking their lives in the midst of a global pandemic to speak out against systemic injustice and in support of the Black community, which has been more impacted by COVID-19 than any other. We are deeply dismayed that nothing seems to change and acknowledge that we need to step up and do more to effect meaningful change.
The statement issued by the LA chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA|LA), shared below, eloquently and concisely reflects IBI Group’s position. It also speaks to what we can do as a firm, addressing head-on the under representation of Black architects, engineers, landscape architects, interior designers and the many other disciplines that make up our profession.
We feel strongly that our words must be backed up with actions, and that the time for action is NOW. Therefore, we are committing to the following:
- IBI Group currently sponsors the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) LA County summer camp program. Our LA staff devote their time to leading these camps. We will expand our relationship and support of NOMA to a national level, with the view to sponsor these programs in other US cities where the firm has a presence.
- IBI Group has a scholarship program awarded to students in programs related to the firm’s core areas of practice. While this scholarship is available to all students, for the 2020 academic year it will be awarded to Black students in each of our three sectors – Intelligence, Buildings and Infrastructure.
- IBI Group will expand its internship program and make available positions specifically for Black students in offices across the firm.
- IBI Group has offered our COVID-19 Rapid Response Parametric Modeling capabilities to the National Medical Association (NMA) at no cost. We are committing to work with Dr. Oliver Brooks, President of the NMA, to expand our relationship with this organization, and will explore other opportunities to assist in fighting the global pandemic in underprivileged areas.
- IBI is reaching out to our staff, seeking their views on initiatives we can take as a firm to fight racial injustice and social/economic inequities in Black communities where the firm has a presence. We will be collecting resources and compiling a toolkit for staff with reliable anti-racist sources of information to support in their further education and awareness of these pressing issues.
There is no place for racial injustice in the cities of tomorrow that we aspire to. We encourage you to read Becoming a Parent in the Age of Black Lives Matter, written by the Black American poet, Clint Smith, about the conversation he will one day have with his children. This is a conversation we should all have with our children.
George Floyd and Racial Injustice
A Statement from the AIA|LA Board of Directors
June 2, 2020 – We are appalled by and condemn the unjustifiable killing of George Floyd and offer condolences to his family, friends and community. We condemn all acts of racial violence and injustice, including the recent killings of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many others who have been senselessly torn from our communities. We acknowledge that this violence and injustice has targeted Black Americans more often, and more viciously, than other communities, with roots that go back centuries, to the founding of our country.
We support and offer solidarity to those who are raising their voices against the unjustifiable killing of Black Americans. As architects who believe in the power of public space and free assembly, we decry the growing militarization of the public realm in our cities. We cannot ignore that there are legacies of past and present-day inequities in our own profession and related fields, including land-use and lending discrimination and the underrepresentation of Black architects in firms of all sizes. Finally, we concede that statements are easier than action and commit to doing the work of confronting barriers to racial justice and striving to dismantle them.