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  • 1.  BLM and NYT

    Posted 10-27-2020 09:21 AM

    October 26, 2020

    Dear all, 

    I thank all of you for your support and donations toward the campaign for the New York Times page, which came out on Sunday, October 25. It was a long time coming, and, of course, it would not have happened without your help. It was clearly a community endeavor.

    The purpose for the NYT page, in addition to telling the world about our social responsibility as architects, was to raise funds for scholarships to architecture schools for minority students. I am pleased to announce that the fund drive yielded not only enough to pay for the NYT page but also enough for one scholarship, plus initial funds for a second one.

    We have a very important and challenging goal for this next stage of producing as many scholarships as possible, and we need all of your help to reach this goal. Over one million citizens will have seen the NYT page-a record number of the American population. So now I invite you to send the page that is included below, plus the link to the website Architectsfoundation.org/hbcu, to those you know who might donate to this scholarship drive.

    Keep in mind that this is only a beginning, not the end at all. Education is extremely important, and the scholarships are a huge step toward this goal. However, the issue is complicated, and it will take years for us to correct a condition that has existed for centuries. But we must start somewhere.

    Another step might be to enlist mentors to guide young minority architects. We could begin by having architects teach studios to blacks/minorities in their early years of education, such as high school, focusing on what it means to be an architect. Or architects could invite high-school students to their offices to explain the process of designing buildings, or even hire young minorities as interns. Out of these endeavors might come ways to mentor these students.

    Of course, this is not enough, as the issue runs deep. Finding a job or starting a firm, even in positive economic conditions, is very difficult, especially if you are a minority. And then, even after establishing an office, finding contracts that put the firm on the national stage adds to the challenge. Add to that our ultimate job as architects-to design buildings within the budgets of our clients, and to keep the roofs from leaking-the hardest task of all. For all of these endeavors, we need all of the support we can find, especially during these hard times.

    So mentoring is key to preparing young minorities and others to help them accomplish these and other daunting tasks.

    If we are invited to give talks to the public on what it means to be an architect, we could also talk about the importance of supporting and mentoring minority architects and architectural interns to help them become more visible in the community.

    And even the above is only a start.

    Thank you again for helping on this important journey.



    P.S. Below are the link to the website and a copy of the NYT page (please scroll down to see the page).



    Jan Wampler, FAIA
    Distinguished Professor, ACSA
    Markborough Endowed Professor, USF
    Professor of Architecture, Emeritus, MIT
    Jan Wampler Studio  Architecture/Urban Design
    Office 617 253 7904
    Cell     617 763 4908

  • 2.  RE: BLM and NYT

    Posted 10-28-2020 05:51 PM



    i think the blm nyt full page was a significant and important gesture.


    one which will require a determined commitment to expand our profession's inclusiveness and make lasting and permanent improvement in our society, work and culture.


    however, i was surprised to read hesitance in supporting black lives matters and their ideals.


    certainly, deep seated anger – when unleashed and given a platform - can manifest itself into ugly words and some actions.  but i would encourage us all to not let these raw emotions erode or distort our resolve on the blm's broader civic goals.


    yes, all live smatter.  but some have lived under crushing racism for centuries.  (finally) focusing on the greatest need does not diminish the existence of the needs of others.


    with the broader, nobler landscape in mind, last night a wonderful documentary on pbs aired focused on the immense amount of civic activism in the last 4 years.  everything from, #metoo, #timesup and #blacklivesmatter.


    the common link across all of these civic initiates; the leadership of women.


    all of these movements were founded by women, including black lives matter.


    i highly recommend viewing this program to help keep us all inspired by the potential and impact of grass roots activism.


    the activism of our time.



    Not Done: Women Remaking America








    Jim Prendergast  FAIA IIDA


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  • 3.  RE: BLM and NYT

    Posted 10-29-2020 07:51 PM
    I just watched the video Jim posted. It's worth an hour (especially when between now and Tuesday there is nothing much I want to see!).
    Very powerful.
    We're not done.


    Betsy del Monte, FAIA, LEED BD+C
    Architect & Consultant, CameronMacallister
    Adjunct Professor, SMU Lyle School of Engineering

  • 4.  RE: BLM and NYT

    Posted 10-29-2020 09:47 PM
    Yes, anger is occasionally bound to erupt in protests that turn to physically confrontation and looting. Remember that Blacks have been held back and mistreated physically in endless ways since slavery. I suspect if an equivalent number of Whites had been so brutalized, we see at least as much if not more pushback.

    This situation in no way means that we should tolerate civil violence, but we should be more circumspect in our condemnations.

    And yes, ALL lives matter, but compassion is needed for those dealt particularly lousy hands.

    I’m proud to be associated with this effort, which I hope continues.


  • 5.  RE: BLM and NYT

    Posted 10-30-2020 09:41 PM

    Jim Prendergast & Fellow Colleagues:


    The PBS program, "Not Done: Women Remaking America" ranks as one of the most powerful documentaries that I have watched (spellbound and tearful) in some time. Women from diverse backgrounds are confronting the reality of white male dominance [in everything] in the twenty-first century. The fight, the struggle, has been going on since the year 1619, which marked the arrival of slavery in North American.


    These struggles and the challenges of women in America, specifically, are a subtext of greater structural challenges for equality faced by Blacks and People of Color in America, too; as demonstrated in the Black Lives Matter Movement (BLM), for example. It is, indeed, a difficult challenge to disintegrate and remove forever primitive paradigms and usher in a new era of deeper understanding and enlightenment. We are just now beginning to understand the deleterious effects of human behavior on the planet, such that a dominance of one segment of society over another only retards critical and necessary overall human development on Earth and by extension the Universe. A new paradigm will better equip our nation to handle world pandemics, famines, and the most challenging and calamitous of all, climate change.


    That some would question or doubt the veracity of the "women's movement" or "BLM" is no surprise, because those doubters, in all likelihood, may be the ones most threatened by these important movements!


    Walter L. Wilson, FAIA




    Sent from Mail for Windows 10


  • 6.  RE: BLM and NYT

    Posted 10-28-2020 05:53 PM
    Thank you for organizing this Jan. As you say, we have to start somewhere and I think there are many starting points. This is one of them. Congratulations to all.

    T | 617.492.3532     M | 617.794.4600

  • 7.  RE: BLM and NYT

    Posted 10-28-2020 07:36 PM
    Edited by Gregory S. Ibañez FAIA 10-29-2020 09:52 AM
    Thanks Jan- very well done. It was an honor to be part of your effort.

    And I unless I missed it, I don't see any reference in the ad to the COF, so I don't understand the ongoing debate in this forum about the propriety of the associating with this particular anti-racism term. There was no COF endorsement nor was anyone forced or included against their will. For those that chose not to participate because of the BLM reference, I assume their expressions of support for increasing diversity in the profession will result in donations to the scholarship fund. I think that we can all agree our profession is stronger when it reflects our population.

    So it goes...

    Gregory Ibanez FAIA
    Ibanez Shaw Architecture LLC
    Fort Worth TX

  • 8.  RE: BLM and NYT

    Posted 10-28-2020 09:17 PM
    Thank you for your leadership and a public presence on this important issue

    Sarah Nettleton FAIA
    Minneapolis MN

  • 9.  RE: BLM and NYT

    Posted 10-29-2020 05:37 PM
    Edited by Steven Ellinger FAIA 10-29-2020 05:39 PM
    I think we need to rethink this entire issue.  The College of Fellows should not be supporting a hate group such as BLM.  Chants of "burn the city down", and "kill the police, fry em like bacon" are not something we should ever support.  The BLM anti-American and anti law enforcement positions are repugnant.  Instead, we should be focusing on eliminating discrimination and encouraging diversity.  The image of the College of Fellows, (and the AIA) should always be at the forefront of what we do.

    Steven Ellinger FAIA
    Cadco Architects-Engineers, Inc.
    Abilene TX

  • 10.  RE: BLM and NYT

    Posted 10-30-2020 05:25 PM



    You got to be kidding right?  A hate group?  No.  Some errant elements overstate in their frustration but it doesn't make the whole group null and void.





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  • 11.  RE: BLM and NYT

    Posted 10-30-2020 05:38 PM

    If the issue is supporting BLM, I agree with Steve.  This "anger" is not being promoted by locals, these instigators are shipped in from other states to create problems.

    We do care about our local black neighbors.  We shouldn't support organized outsiders who damage property and local businesses.

    Many of the people they hurt are black.  What's the sense in that?


    The College of Fellows should only promote positive change.





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    Diana M.H. Brenner, FAIA IIDA LEED AP






    This email should be considered confidential and should not be shared without the express written consent of the sender.






  • 12.  RE: BLM and NYT

    Posted 10-30-2020 06:32 PM



    Don't think that's an accurate depiction of BLM.  Maybe some misguided fellow travellers.  BLM is NOT a hate group.



              917.881.8750   FRANK@GREENEJUSTICE.COM




  • 13.  RE: BLM and NYT

    Posted 10-30-2020 07:17 PM



    on a somewhat tangent, but ultimately related, thread, i came upon this rather interesting article relating to the political stress index.


    in this case, "political" does not pertain to political parties - rather a political landscape.


    the article is from february of 2017, but i was struck how relevant the descriptions of societies and what contributes to their erosion and how the paths of change (to the extreme in some cases) can be mapped and anticipated.


    the "investor" part is only the last two sentence. 


    the article is really devoted to explaining the socio-economic theory behind what quantitative historians call "Structural-Demographic Theory"; a tool for explaining historical processes in society.


    see if in reading this, the real parallels to our national and global landscape resonate.


    it shares from whence civic crisis come.


    an interesting read.    











    Jim Prendergast  FAIA IIDA


    +1 312.386.2974 Direct
    +1 312.952.1986 Mobile

    11 East Madison Street
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  • 14.  RE: BLM and NYT

    Posted 10-31-2020 02:13 PM

    Steven –

    I've given a lot of thought to your post.

    I know people in my church and local community who are active in BLM and know some of the founders of the movement here in Los Angeles. BLM is not a hate group, period. I believe BLM can be understood as the recent manifestation of organizing (broadly) within the civil rights movement. And those earlier manifestations were also at times labeled as hate or terrorist groups.

    As design professionals, we should understand our historical role in oppression, and actively work to overcome systemic racism.  For context I would suggest The Color of Law, by Richard Rothstein for its direct connection to our profession, and for further reading, Stamped from the Beginning, The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, by Ibram X. Kendi.

    "Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed" Martin Luther King ,Jr. 

    We are not yet collectively on the side of the oppressed.



    Craig A. Hamilton, FAIA, Leed AP, NCARB




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  • 15.  RE: BLM and NYT

    Posted 11-02-2020 01:33 AM
    Sent from my iPad

  • 16.  RE: BLM and NYT

    Posted 11-04-2020 07:55 PM
    My connected architect is, Aishwarya Salvi at Boston in Massachusetts.

    Please send me.

    Kalavati Somvanshi, FAIA

  • 17.  RE: BLM and NYT

    Posted 11-02-2020 07:13 PM

    I too spent a long time thinking of how to respond to Steve Ellinger- and why I feel he has really missed the mark in his characterization of Black Lives Matter. 

    I also questioned the effectiveness spending time arguing with someone who I don't know and probably cannot sway through reason- but my daughter exhorted me to speak my conscience, so I feel I too need to rebut your email.


    BLM is so far from a terrorist organization that the comments must be meant as a provocation-  and it makes me wonder what Steve wants to provoke.  Labeling someone a terrorist is an age old means of minimizing a groups' agenda and dismissing their complaints while trying to keep a tight grip on power.  The British called the Continental Army terrorists- but we now view them as patriots fighting against an oppressive regime for our freedom. It all depends on who is in power and who's position of authority is being questioned.


    If your community had been subjected to on-going discrimination and abuse and living in fear for 150 years after supposedly being set free from bondage- I would venture that you would be pretty upset too. If you felt the rules governing society were not being fairly applied to you- I would think you might try to change those rules or see to it that they are exercised without prejudice. The Black community has finally gotten to a point of feeling empowered to say "enough" without fear of white vigilantism against "uppity" trouble makers.  We ought to celebrate this new sense of citizenship and this groups' exercising of their civic voice.  What is more American than speaking your mind and advocating for change?


    Research this group and read things published by them (not attributed to them by others) you will question the vitriol being dished out by the Tucker Carlsons of the world.  Certain media figures have a goal of riling people up to increase ratings and keep their favored leaders in power. The BLM group does not advocating burning down our cities or killing cops-  There are some people with those reprehensible opinions who have latched on to this cultural moment to stir up trouble- just like the white supremacists who marched in Charlotte or the Michigan yahoos who wanted to kidnap the governor.  There are crazy people of all stripes who will seize on a moment of change to sow discord and trouble for some diabolical ends. 


    BLM is a product of our time and it is a good thing this is happening now- and it is encouraging that so many people of many races, ethnicities and genders have joined in these mostly peaceful protests.  As Fellows of the AIA is important that we take a stand towards justice for all.  I believe the AIA did the right thing in making this statement.  It was symbolic, but necessary.  We as practitioners can do our part to join in helping build a more equitable and just society by asking ourselves what we are doing to help.  Symbolism is important, but action is more impactful. 


    I am sure I have not convinced Steve- but welcome a conversation.  Thanks for the provocation.


    Scott Hunter, FAIA, LEED AP
    Regional Director

    HKS, Inc

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  • 18.  RE: BLM and NYT

    Posted 11-03-2020 06:09 PM
    Thank you Scott, for your carefully and thoughtfully worded response to the Ellinger comment. I agree that he must be listening to provocative material that does not in fact characterize the peaceful Black Lives Matter movement. There are persons and groups committed to tearing us apart and inflaming discord by misstating the actual positions of others. Much of the violence has been fomented by individuals attempting to make BLM look bad. I'm glad the AIA has taken a stand on what I believe is the appropriate position.

    D. Kirk Hamilton, FAIA
    Texas A&M University
    College Station, TX

  • 19.  RE: BLM and NYT

    Posted 11-04-2020 05:37 PM
    I know you are all trying to do the right thing in your own minds but I will never forget the video image of a large mob of protesters blocking a major thoroughfare carrying a street-wide banner declaring BLACK LIVES MATTER while shouting "Pigs in a blanket, fry 'em like bacon."   I can't see how this can be looked at as a "good" thing; certainly not something I want to be associated with...  As one that lives in "Fly-Over Country" and one that has never seen nor cared to read the NYT, I will continue to support all manner of deserving minorities in my own way.  But as Doug has suggested, let's all move on and get back to what we know best... practicing Architecture...

    Jess Holmes, FAIA

    In GOD We Trust
    GOD Bless the United States of America

    Jess Holmes, FAIA, LLC
    consulting architect/planner
    524 W. Main. Street
    Artesia, NM  88210
    575.736.8621 (fax)
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  • 20.  RE: BLM and NYT

    Posted 11-04-2020 05:59 PM
    I will never forget the video image of a large mob of protesters blocking a major thoroughfare carrying a street-wide banner declaring BLACK LIVES MATTER while shouting "Pigs in a blanket, fry 'em like bacon." I can't see how this can be looked at as a "good" thing; certainly not something I want to be associated with...


    I have seen white supremacists wrapping themselves in the American flag trying to turn the stars and stripes into a symbol of hate. This is not a good thing either. Yet, my allegiance to the flag is unwavering.

    The perversion of an icon doesn't change what the icon stands for. I urge you to look beyond the optics and focus on the substance.

    Richard Buday FAIA
    Archimage, Inc.
    Houston TX

  • 21.  RE: BLM and NYT

    Posted 11-06-2020 09:25 AM
    And such is the invisible, unearned, and unrecognized blessing of white privilege: to move on and get back to practicing "architecture."

    Sharon Egretta Sutton, PhD, FAIA
    Distinguished Visiting Professor of Architecture
    Parsons School of Design
    New York, New York

  • 22.  RE: BLM and NYT

    Posted 11-06-2020 08:36 PM

    Sharon's response is right on point. This kind of dismissive attitude is a reason that our profession has made little progress in its inclusion, diversity and equity. As professional problem solvers we should seek to understand the underlying causes of an issue that is obviously deeply rooted in society before ignoring it and retreating to our comfort zones.

    The BLM movement is a call for help and respect from a segment of our society that has suffered systemic oppression for centuries. Architecture is not entirely benign in that scenario.  The country will continue to see protesters expressing generations of frustration in ways that some might disapprove of as long as those of us with privileged ignore these pleas for social justice.

    Our profession received a wake up call when Whitney M. Young, Jr. delivered his impassioned speech at the 1968 AIA Convention. Little progress has been made to address his criticisms of the profession because many practitioners decided that it was someone else's problem to solve and went back to business as usual. The world is changing and if architects want to remain relevant in the future we must begin to show that we care at least as much about the human condition as we do aesthetics. The AIA has been refocusing on EDI over the past 5 years but more can be done. We must all work on this. 

    William Bates FAIA
    Pittsburgh PA

  • 23.  RE: BLM and NYT

    Posted 11-07-2020 12:40 PM
    Edited by Thomas Fowler IV FAIA, NOMA 11-07-2020 12:46 PM
    I'm reminded of a quote attributed to the artist Rene' Magritte, "What we see hides what we want to see". So I thank you Sharon and Bill for providing a way of getting to us back to the 'seeing' the real issues at hand, the practice of "architecture" and the importance not ignoring the "human condition(s)" that are significance components of our craft.

    Thomas Fowler FAIA, NOMA
    Distinguished Professor, ACSA & Professor, Director of Graduate Architecture Program
    California Polytechnic State University
    San Luis Obispo CA

  • 24.  RE: BLM and NYT

    Posted 11-08-2020 04:02 AM

    I am in full agreement with your comments. As I wrote earlier: That some would question or doubt the veracity of the women's movement or BLM is no surprise, because those doubters, in all likelihood, may be the ones most threatened by these important movements.

    We people of color are changing, ever so incrementally, the imaginations of all of the American people of what an "architect" looks like. We are changing the imaginations of the American people of what an "architect" can do to address the deleterious affects of racism, bigotry, inequality, immobility, homelessness, sustainability, climate change and so much more.  And.....  even more profoundly, the architecture community is being impowered to imagine all the creative things they can and must do individually and collectively preserve of our planet and mankind.

    Certainly, a house divided cannot stand, according to Abraham Lincoln; therefore we must join hands as the profession of architects and get to work.


    Walter L. Wilson, FAIA, NOMA
    Glendale, WI

    Walter Wilson FAIA
    Glendale WI

  • 25.  RE: BLM and NYT

    Posted 11-10-2020 01:11 PM
    Thank you Sharon, Bill and Walter for your leadership in calling out the racism that is among us. 

    What racism must we ask?

    Trying to rationalize your non-support by perpetuating the monolith that black identities have created a violent organization when data and research shows the horrific results of anti-blackness, violence and inequity against our country's black identities in the 400 years history since the founding of our country.

    The continued use of words that perpetuate racism such as "deserving minority" frames a response and perpetuates the few that do not fit the norm of the anti-black and racist rhetoric that continues to devalues our colleagues. The continual use of racist terms such as "Minority" as a constructed monolith that has always meant to put people that are not the Majority in a place of "lesser than" and in their place.

    The continued denial of racist rhetoric in this forum - masked as righteousness, is disappointing and concerning. So, I kindly ask that we shift the discourse to a call for Antiracism - action and advocacy in calling out racism and anti-blackness in our profession. 

    Rosa. T. Sheng, FAIA

    "The only way to undo racism is to consistently identify and describe it - and then dismantle it," writes professor Ibram X. Kendi. That is the essence of antiracism: the action that must follow both emotional and intellectual awareness of racism.

    "There may be no more consequential White privilege than life itself. White lives matter to the tune of 3.5 additional years over Black lives in the United States, which is just the most glaring of a host of health disparities, starting from infancy, where Black infants die at twice the rate of White infants."

    "The most threatening racist movement is not the alt right's unlikely drive for a White ethnostate but the regular American's drive for a "race-neutral" one. The construct of race neutrality actually feeds White nationalist victimhood by positing the notion that any policy protecting or advancing non-White Americans toward equity is "reverse discrimination."

    Excerpt From
    How to Be an Antiracist
    Ibram X. Kendi

  • 26.  RE: BLM and NYT

    Posted 11-11-2020 06:01 PM
    Amen Rosa!

  • 27.  RE: BLM and NYT

    Posted 11-11-2020 07:38 PM

    How to be an Anti-Racist is essential reading.



              917.881.8750   FRANK@GREENEJUSTICE.COM




  • 28.  RE: BLM and NYT

    Posted 11-11-2020 07:40 PM
    Thank your Rosa for your passionate and on target statement.  How to be an AntiRacist is essential reading.

    Frank Greene FAIA
    Greene Justice Architecture
    Katonah NY

  • 29.  RE: BLM and NYT

    Posted 11-12-2020 07:22 AM
    Dear fellow Fellows,
    I have been reading contributions to this listserve and confess I am overwhelmed by the great majority of views expressed about the urgent need at this moment for we as architectural professionals and teachers to do something personally and professionally about the endemic racism in this country. Having the time to look at the bios and portfolios of some of the contributors to this discussion has shown me some exemplary lives and practices led in this struggle for social and economic equity and the possibilities explored that demonstrate that architecture can make a humanistic contribution to creating a better society. There is much here in our own community from which we can learn, and learn to act.
    Just last night I was forwarded a copy of the Biden-Harris Presidential Transition Agency Review Teams. There is a team of volunteers for each major agency, listing names and employers of those who have been chosen to review our national policy in various spheres of responsibility. I looked carefully through the list to see if there was anyone whose name I recognized, particularly of fellow architects or their firms or affiliations. I regret to say, I could not find any. I looked particularly closely at Housing, Education, Transportation, Environment and Small Business Administration and as far as I can tell, architects and architecture are unrepresented. Perhaps one of you can find something that I missed.
    I raise this in relation to the discussion about furthering the interests of Black lives and communities of color within our profession because I think the discussion so far has focused on architectural education and professional advancement within firms, i.e. it has been a somewhat inward-looking discussion, albeit (mostly) positive. Beneath the surface of the water there is a far larger part of the racist iceberg we have to deal with which is the racist inequalities in society at large which in the end is responsible for the commissions, the fees and our collective livelihood. To have a seat at the table to form policy on housing, on education, on transportation, on the environment, and even on the health of small businesses is as essential to our architectural lives and the promotion of racial equity as any HR policy in an office. 
    Scholarship funds are terrific and let us hope the ad in the NYT gave a boost to that fundraising effort. But the AIA needs to be at  the table if we are to make any headway at all in this urgent need for social progress.
    T | 617.492.3532     M | 617.794.4600

  • 30.  RE: BLM and NYT