We have been striving to find adequate words to express our stance against racism in any form, and against all prejudice, all oppression. We are struggling with the pain in our own hearts, the pain among our friends and colleagues, and the pain felt throughout our communities, and our nation.
In the days since the brutal killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor at the hands of the very people sworn to protect them, and the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, we have been listening deeply to many voices: to the young people of color leading marches in cities and towns across America, to our Massachusetts elected leaders of color, to friends and colleagues, and to organizations we trust.
All raise their voices to express the pain we share, and the shared commitment we make to use this terrible moment as a moment of reckoning to reshape our nation and our communities into the richly diverse and equitable places in which we want to live.
“…Everyone deserves to live in a community that is healthy, equitable and resilient….Yet these past few weeks have painfully illuminated once again that this vision is out of reach for millions of Americans, for reasons that go beyond ongoing police violence. Decisions we have intentionally made about land use, transportation, and the built environment for decades have produced a system that is inherently unequal; where black and brown Americans are more likely to be struck and killed while walking, are less likely to own a home, are more likely to suffer from transportation-related air pollution that increases their chances of death from COVID-19, and—as we’ve seen again—are often targeted by the police in public spaces that are supposed to be for everyone. As a country, we need to do better, and we are committed to doing our part.” – Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance Statement, June 3, 2020
“Boston is not immune nor absolved from its own insidious lineage of racism, bias, and violence. The racial inequities, injustices, and disparities in our city are extreme and persistent. They are even codified in the policies and planning measures of architecture’s “health, safety, and welfare” mandates. This cannot continue. We encourage all in our community to stand together in dismantling systems of discrimination and to amplify the voices of those most directly entangled in its grips.” – Boston Society of Architects Statement, June 3, 2020
We agree. Studio G has always stood for social justice, equity and inclusivity. As architects we shape the learning environments of children from infancy to graduation; the living environments of families in need of affordable housing; and the rehabilitative environments of substance users in treatment. We create welcoming, equitable, supportive places that boost health, well-being and self-esteem. Yet we are asking, what more can we do to build the just and equitable world we want to live in?
“Last week in an interview, State Representative Russell Holmes said that white people need to really listen to Black people. I was reminded of a young Native American man telling me more than forty years ago a fundamental difference between white and Native American people, ‘White people walk into a room and immediately talk. We walk into a room, listen for a few days, and then we talk.’ It was profound learning for me – and a lesson I have to learn again and again,” said Gail Sullivan.
We need to listen…. to the lived experience of people who experience racism, inequity, and injustice.
We need to act… to actively stand up against racism and inequity; to support policies which dismantle it; to consider our daily decisions from a lens of equity and justice; to follow the lead of those who have had enough and are reshaping the public discourse in America. As a start, Studio G Architects commit to be B.R.A.V.E., following the statement made by National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA).
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