June 1, 2020
Members of the Architecture Community:
By any measure, the Colorado we live and practice in today as a community of architects feels less healthy, less safe and is not faring well. In this time of a global pandemic, racial injustice and economic loss, we must come together to address these critical challenges. Some we hope are temporary and episodic. Others we know are longstanding and systemic.
It was 52 years ago when the late civil rights leader Whitney Young, Jr. addressed the American Institute of Architects’ national convention and said, “You are not a profession that has distinguished itself by your social and civic contributions to the cause of civil rights, and I am sure this has not come to you as any shock. You are most distinguished by your thunderous silence and your complete irrelevance.”
The slow, halting and late-accelerating journey of the profession to move from silence and irrelevance must take on new urgency. Architecture is not neutral. Neither can architects be passive. The work is an instrument for good or ill subject to influence and agendas. The duty of those who shape our cities is to include every voice, design for universal human dignity and advocate for lasting change.
The year 1968 was a milestone in America’s story. The year 2020 feels like it will be, too. Though much time has passed, history seems to be repeating itself. Young concluded his call to action for architects back then by quoting an ancient Greek philosopher, “Justice will not come … until those who are not injured are as indignant as those who are.”
We can’t wait another half-century to achieve more meaningful progress. Everyone can play a part. And AIA Colorado will help amplify and unify the profession for the betterment of all who find shelter in the places we design.
Mike Waldinger, Hon. AIA
CEO, AIA Colorado
To take part and help broaden equity, diversity, and inclusiveness (EDI) in the profession, we invite you to join the AIA Colorado EDI Committee. Please contact co-chairs Larry Sykes, AIA, and Amy Dvorak as we work to strengthen representation in the communities we serve.