Kimberly Dowdell, the 2019-2020 president for the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA), has issued a statement on behalf of the organization regarding racial injustice.
She writes: “As architects, how can we protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public if our country is not properly including Black Americans as full members of our society? Black Americans and other people of color have been subjected to injustice and inequality for far too long. NOMA was founded in Detroit by 12 Black architects in 1971 on the heels of one of the most racially challenging eras in American history. Born out of the Civil Rights Movement, NOMA was formed for the purpose of minimizing the effect of racism on our profession. Today, NOMA must call for more. As an organization, we must BE more.”
Dowdell writes that a recalibration of NOMA’s mission has been in the works for some time, but the national board has voted to enact the new mission statement, effectively immediately: “NOMA’s mission, rooted in a rich legacy of activism, is to empower our local chapters and membership to foster justice and equity in communities of color through outreach, community advocacy, professional development, and design excellence.”
“To be clear, there is power in words and we did not simply rush to react to the current state of affairs. We have been in the process of adopting a new strategic plan for the past several months. In the near future, we will engage our local chapters to establish a revised set of aims and objectives to support our updated mission. NOMA’s mission had not changed in over a decade, and we are doing so today in order to better equip our members to be the change that we seek to design for our society. We are taking a stand, and we hope that you will stand with us,” she says.
Dowdell also calls on people to be BRAVE: banish racism, reach out to those who are grieving, advocate for the disinherited, vote in every American election, and engage each human you meet as you would want to be engaged.
Photo: Courtesy of National Organization of Minority Architects