President’s Message – June 18

Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day
You fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way
Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town
Waiting for someone or something to show you the way
…”
“Time,” Pink Floyd

The first half of the year of my term as president has flown past and it’s been exciting.  I just returned from the “A18” – this year’s AIA Conference on Architecture in NYC. It was great to see so many of you there!  For those who have attended this or other conventions (this year rebranded as a conference) it’s a fire-hose running full stream of opportunities, tours, CEU’s, events and products on the expo floor.  If you have never been you should go next year!

At the conference I was struck by….

Keynote Speaker Marc Morial, President and CEO of the Urban League revisited the challenge to AIA to be more diverse, inclusive and equitable.  This challenge was given first by Whitney Young to the Institute 50 years ago when he delivered the keynote.  Mr. Morial spoke and re-issued the challenge in 3 parts.  1.  Inclusion – finding the space to continue to make our community equitable for all.  2. Infrastructure – Looking at our cities and throughout our country – encouraging us to support and make re-building and building anew our infrastructure to make our communities equitable for all. 3. Intersectionality – open our eyes and calling our attention to look at the complex, overlapping forms and mechanisms that allow discrimination to continue and to make reforms.

It is clear we continue to have much work to do.  See my notes below about the general business meeting.

This year’s Whitney Young award winner, Tamara Eagle Bull, gave voice to the need to encourage, recognize and support diversity.  She spoke of her background and her father’s limited options growing up and how her parents encouraged her to challenge conventions.  She spoke forcefully about creating well designed spaces and schools to encourage creativity and broaden the options for all.  She is walking the walk with her work in tribal communities.  We need to join her in this work.

Again I note – we have much to do (sensing a theme yet?)

At the business meeting there were a handful of bylaw items to be clarified and a host of resolutions thanking all for the hard work accomplished, thanking the hosts and thanking our own Carl Elefante for a great conference and a great year. 

Two resolutions bear mentioning.

Resolution 18-3: Diversity Pipeline and National Representation was sponsored by AIA Georgia.  Paraphrasing the Yellow Book – its intent is to “support the Institute’s commitment to diversity and inclusion… calling for the implementation of a plan to develop a national leadership pipeline of ethnically diverse women candidates for national governance positions.”  This resolution brought much discussion, clarification and many friendly amendments (some passed, some not).  Ultimately the resolution passed with clarifying amendment, strengthened by strong support from Suzanne Frasier, FAIA – President Elect of AIA Baltimore.

And we heard and passed another resolution from the floor regarding equanimity.  This resolution was authored by Frances Halsband, FAIA.  The resolution will have the AIA Board study and update our Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct.  Ms. Halsband initially circulated the proposal to 50 Fellows of the Institute seeking their support some 30 days ago. Ultimately (and quickly) it was endorsed by over 500 Fellows when it was presented on the floor.  The Institute will be taking a stand on harassment and taking it quickly.

Both these resolution passed with both an overwhelming and immense majority. 

And we have much work to do.

Lastly – It was exciting to see our own (unchallenged) Jason Winters, AIA easily win the race for 2019-2020 Secretary of the Institute.  Please join me in congratulating and wishing him success!

I hope you will attend an AIA conference – maybe next year in Las Vegas or in 2020 in Los Angeles.  Or join your colleagues at a local meeting, tour or event.  The AIA has a lot to offer.