ASLA Northern California Members,
Today, the Executive Committee of your Chapter writes to you in a time of grief and despair.
The murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd have ignited outrage over the deadly assault of racism against Black people in America.
We acknowledge the suffering, injustice, and systemic racism that has occurred in our nation for years. We stand united with supporters of justice and the end of police violence against Black people.
As an ASLA Chapter, how can we collectively come together to create change?
We recognize our previous inaction and are resolved to no longer be silent. We acknowledge the lack of diversity in our profession, and as a Chapter, we actively seek to eliminate the racial biases that have led to systemic racism and a lack of social equity experienced by Black people and People of Color in our profession and nation.
Today as Chapter leadership, we commit to take the following actions:
First, we commit to listening, understanding, and taking action against the injustice faced by Black people and People of Color throughout our local community and nation.
Second, we commit to use the financial resources of the Chapter and the financial support of our members to strengthen the movement and organizations working to expand access and increase diversity in our profession. The Chapter will be making a donation of $5,000 to The Urban Studio, an organization dedicated to expanding how students of color are educated in design, increasing access to design professions and creating green cities for all people. We encourage all Chapter members to join us and take action by donating if they have the means.
Third, we commit towards taking steps to eliminate racial bias and inequality in our profession. Per ASLA data, only 3% of landscape architects are Black. This needs to change and collectively we need to create equal opportunities for Black people and People of Color to enter and advance in landscape architecture. The Chapter will create and release an action plan by June 30th to provide concrete, sustainable steps towards equality in our Chapter and profession.
Fourth, we commit to providing resources to educate our membership on the historic and current injustice perpetrated against the Black community, to uplift the successes and contributions of Black landscape architects and to provide best practices surrounding diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace. Please see the link below to find reading and resources to educate yourself on the history and impact of Black landscape architects and Black people across the nation.
These four steps will not solve the systemic problems in our community and our nation overnight, but they stand as a symbol of this Chapter’s commitment and solidarity with Black people and the Black design community.
As landscape architects and members of our shared community, we compel you to take similar actions both individually and at your respective practices. We invite you to engage in a dialogue with each other and the Chapter and to consider this a call to action. We as landscape architects are charged to protect health, safety, and welfare and we believe we are responsible to create not only equitable public spaces, but also an equitable profession and community.
With humility and solidarity, we commit to action and support,
The ASLA-NCC Executive Committee