June 9, 2020

AIA Detroit Board Statement on Racial Injustice

Black Lives Matter.

AIA Detroit stands in solidarity with the protests that justly call for an immediate end to police brutality against Black people. We condemn the systemic racism that plagues our society and accounts for the senseless killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Aiyana Stanley-Jones and countless other Black victims who came before them.

For many of us, we became architects to make the world a better place. We cannot expect to be catalysts for more equitable communities without first acknowledging the need for accountability and the need to listen and learn from individuals who have first-hand experience with racial injustices.

In her May 31st statement, NOMA National President, Kimberly Dowdell urged us “to consider what’s happening right now as an American problem that we must all face together” and to leverage our positions of privilege to help marginalized communities.

It is an honor to work in Metro-Detroit, a region with rich architectural history and incredible diversity in people and cultures. It is also a region with a legacy of racial tension and activism. As such, AIA Detroit believes it is our responsibility to take action to better serve the community we call home and to empower our communities to harness design as protest and progress.


•  Advocating for local policy changes that dismantle design tactics that criminalize engagement in the public realm, and that improve and better-protect the health, safety and welfare of the public, especially Black people.
•  Amplifying the voices of Black people, providing a public platform for honest discussions about racial injustice in order to educate our members and inspire more empathetic design.
•  Devoting more resources in our organization’s professional development and youth mentorship efforts that specifically benefit Black people and other people of color.
•  Partnering more closely with local organizations who focus on empowering Black people and other people of color in the design community and making lasting change for our profession

If you are looking for a way to get involved and make an impact, consider the following:

•  Volunteer with or become a member of a local organization that is committed to the elevation and recognition of Black people and their inclusion in the design profession: NOMA Detroit, Noir Design Parti, 400 Forward, DESIGNCONNECT, NAWIC Detroit, and Design Core.
•  Donate to those working to progress racial equality through the justice system: Detroit Justice Center, Black Visions Collective, NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and the ACLU.
•  Vote in every American election. All Michigan voters have the right to vote by mail, so be sure to exercise your First Amendment right at every opportunity.

We recognize that these are just the first steps towards an equitable practice and profession. We are confident in the passion of our design community, and the dedication to become active voices in the fight for change, with the ultimate goal of creating stronger, inclusive and equitable communities.

From the AIA Detroit Board of Directors

Back to News