Letter from a Chair
Welcome to our first (and only) Journal of 2020!
I think it is safe to say that this year has been a challenge. First a global pandemic has made us put our lives on pause and forced us to re-think what it means to gather and to examine the implications of sickness on design and community. We are still figuring out how to navigate this new normal while doing our best to study and investigate best practices to keep our built environment COVID safe. We are also navigating the uncertain economy this virus has also spread. Then the death of George Floyd at the hands police officers has brought the systematic racism in our societies forward as a meaningful and powerful point of protest and change. This journal and our upcoming virtual fall conference do not shy away from these ongoing and troubling issues. I am impassioned by the voices of my colleagues that struggle and advocate for change.
In this journal, I would like to introduce you to Drew Hustedde—he is profiled as our latest emerging professional. He is committed to the study of justice architecture, leading other emerging voices and has a passion for social justice and sustainability. I will also disclose that we have a shared admiration for Jimmy Carter—an unlikely hero who has impacted community and social change in many ways.
It is also important that you meet the latest member of our Leadership Group, Kristine Bishop Johnstone, who is now mostly through her first, yet eventful year, on the LG committee. I think you will agree she is up for the challenge and brings good energy to this thoughtful group of initiators. You might remember Kristine from her role as conference chair when we were in New Jersey.
Of course, travelling for the conference is not part of the plan this year. Instead Erica and Graham have curated an excellent list of high-caliber speakers that will present virtually this year. Appropriately, the theme of this year’s conference is Resilient Justice: Design for Purpose, Power and Potential. We are currently looking for powerful and promising ideas for us to contemplate as we close out 2020. The registration is open and online – do not hesitate to sign-up. I hope to ‘see’ you there.
Last of all, please read and consider the Leadership Group’s statement addressing on our role as architects and our contributions to the discourse on social injustice. They ask, and answer, how we can more effectively advocate for real change.
If you are interested in joining our committee, please reach out. We meet monthly to investigate and discuss relevant issues impacting Justice Professionals like you.
Chair – AAJ Communications Committee 2018