The news of late is heartbreaking, drawing attention to the ugliness of systemic racism in our country. Standing on the sidelines is not an option. It is past time for a mindful critique of society and our community, for us to challenge ourselves, and to live up to our values. As a firm, we believe that diversity is a strength, that allows us to understand, empathize, and communicate with people whose experiences differ from our own. This tenet of who we are is why MWA cannot stay silent. We must stand with all communities of color and all moral people in condemning racism, racist behavior, and all bias.
We are standing in solidarity with those who are working to build a respectful and just world by committing ourselves to the design of equitable spaces. We are calling on all of our colleagues, employees, partners, and clients to join us in advocating for equality.
MWA Architects was founded in 1988 by Michael Willis, a person of color. This pioneer pushed for affordable and available housing throughout his career which left a lasting legacy on the firm. Had he not done so we would be lesser for it. His color of skin should not be the focal point of his story, however, we work in a predominantly white profession. We must promote diversity and push for change. We support the effort by the National AIA to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion. Architects are responsible for shaping communities for better and we must strive to understand those communities. We must approach design inclusively and embrace social equity as a foundation of our work.
While we have always worked to improve our firm’s representation of the demographics of our population, we can always do better. We pledge to support the efforts of the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) in implementing their new mission statement.
Sadly, we acknowledge that the events of this week are not new and that the violence that took the lives of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd is not unique but is the result of systemic racism that has plagued our country for centuries. MWA chooses to stand with Ahmaud, Breonna, George, and the countless others in our call to end acts of racism, inequity, and social injustice.
We know that this blog post is not enough, it is just a first step.
We vow to learn. We vow to be allies. We vow to be better.
Artwork by Caroline Reichel