ACE Industry Collaboration Roundtable Recording

There is no question the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) industries are facing unique challenges at this time. In a spirit of collaboration, the Virginia components of the American Institute of Architects, American Council of Engineering Companies, and the Associated General Contractors hosted a joint roundtable discussion for members on Thursday, July 23, 2020.

Check out the recording below.

Associated Thoughts: AIA Virginia Resources for Unlicensed Professionals

This is not the summer I was expecting—and I suspect I am not alone. I bike each day to empty rented office space, slide the door shut, and try to design via annotated snips, neverending chat boxes, texted photographs of sketches, and professional-from-the-waist-up video calls. Each week, I pray that my job as a designer is still viable when I show up to work—even as I feel that ever-present, low-grade anxiety that our firms can keep the lights on, get new contracts remotely, meet payroll, and manage to come out of this pandemic and protest-filled season. It is an anxious time to be a designer.

With so much out of our control, what do we do with our time when we as emerging designers are trying to find our way when faced with colossal uncertainty for the second time in the last 15 years? Whether we are students facing the most challenging job market in a century (something 2009 me could hardly have thought) or young designers trying to learn the professional ropes while working from your dining room table or even slightly seasoned professionals trying to take that next step—the opportunities for adding to our architectural foundations certainly look different than they did four months ago. 

No matter where you are at in your architectural career, developing new skills has never been more important. Below are a few tools from my (admittedly meagre) toolbox that perhaps you might find useful: 

  • Find a champion. A former boss asked me every week when my next ARE exam was, and the minute I told him I’d passed one, he would ask when the next one would be. Passing the ARE exams are difficult—more power to you if you think otherwise—and getting all your AXP hours requires not just effort and luck, but the scheduling, mentoring, and advocacy of the higher ups. Find a mentor who will not only support you when you need help, but will hold you accountable and push you towards your goals. 
  • Reach back to bring others with you. I am extremely privileged, and I have benefitted not just from the graciousness of mentors and colleagues, but from active systems of whiteness and patriarchy that get me further than any effort of my own could have. We begin disassembling these systems by kicking down doors for other people. Be one of those people who advocates for others to join you at the table. Or better yet, make your own table.   
  • Take aim at an actual credential.  Schedule the next exam. Take the night class. Block out two nights a week to study. Get new letters after your name.
  • Bring a non-traditional passion to work. You are a musician? Certainly useful in detailing an auditorium. Had a knack for economics? You might just be plucked for budgeting discussions. Bringing your whole self to work, with all the passions and hobbies you learned outside of studio, adds flavor that benefits your design work, and contributes to a broader expertise that might just get you promoted. 
  • Cultivate writing and speaking. Good design is communication, whether visual, verbal, written, or otherwise, and being an effective communicator means managers can trust you. Read good writing. Surround yourself with well-crafted words. Submit drafts to architectural publications. Ask smarter people for edits. Go to Toastmasters. Effective communicators get in the door, stay in the room, and bring in the work. 
  • Identify a gap and step into it. Look around and notice what tasks and roles are getting outsourced or underserved. Facilitation, spec writing, stair detailing, historic preservation analysis, or whatever it may be; being able to keep key services in-house ultimately benefits any bottom line, and those added value skills get you noticed for specialized expertise that exponentially increases your value as an employee. 
  • Ask to learn about non-design tasks. While less glamorous than elegant sketches or detailed renderings, learning the nuances of business development, staffing projections, financial statements, or marketing lingo builds a foundation towards leadership. Ask to look over drafts. Be curious about the behind-the-scenes maneuverings and decisions.
  • Build something. What wondrous insights—and humility—come from actually having to buy materials, measure, and assemble something into existence. Plus, you can always gift it to a non-designer if it ends up wonky.

An old mentor gave this advice—make yourself invaluable. Architecture is a big field with lots of ways to get crowded out when the projects run thin. Broadening your skills not only keeps you a step ahead, but keeps our creative minds from calcifying and retreating into what we already know. 

But perhaps more importantly, now is a time to also cultivate kindness and justice—attributes and skills that never fail to disappoint and elevate.

In solidarity and action,

Michael Spory, Associate AIA
spory@vmdo.com

Just a Few Fun Things to Click On

Something to Talk about with Your Boss and Coworkers: AIA has developed Guides for Equitable Practice, for resourcing architects to make the business and professional case for ensuring more equitable practices in our firms, particularly towards black and minority individuals and clients. This is an important baseline, especially the personal stories in this section. Ask your supervisors if your firm has discussed and implemented these guides. 

A deeply discounted Amber Book Subscription: AIA Virginia is offering a $50, 2-month subscription to the Amber Book. Sign up here.

Something to Sign Up For: AIA Virginia has formed a formal relationship with the newly launched Virginia NOMA Chapter. This is an important step, and is an effort that needs people of all skin colors to actively support minority architects. Fill out this form to show your support and interest.

Some Free Stuff for the ARE Exams: I just signed up for my last ARE exam–come join me! AIA National is offering their ARE prep course ArchiPrep FOR FREE for associate members until August 31. If you need a study buddy, please reach out! There are study groups in every corner of the state to get connected to. 

Some accounts to follow: Pascale Sablan is more than a rising star–she’s here to stay, and her design work and advocacy for Black architects are worth your Instagram follow. Also find Architecture Is Too White and BIPOC in Architecture and read the stories emerging from melanized voices in design. 

Something from AIA Richmond: AIA Richmond is partnering with Venture Richmond to launch “Picnic in a Parklet,” a program designed to assist Richmond restaurants and other businesses with Phase 2 of Forward Virginia. Through this new partnership with the City of Richmond, business owners can receive design and permitting assistance for their requests for more outdoor space, particularly parklets. If you know of similar initiatives elsewhere, please reach out.

Something to keep in your Google tab: This spreadsheet was started by designer Dong-Ping Wong, and it is a growing list of BIPOC firms across the nation. If you have a firm in Virginia that is not on this list–add it! He also specifically created it as a job-application resource for young designers of different races and ethnicities looking for BIPOC-led firms, so it also serves as a hiring resource.  

Board Status Update for Membership – COVID-19

On behalf of the AIA Virginia Board of Directors, we want to thank YOU for being a member of our organization. You, or a member of your firm, may have already received a personal phone call expressing this sentiment. Over the last three months, each of us in the profession has been navigating the unchartered waters of a global pandemic and its impacts on the economy. During these challenging times, being a part of our professional association can be most valuable.

Like many of your firms, AIA Virginia received federal funding made available via the CARES Act. This aid allows us to continue providing the service you expect and the resources you need despite the uncertain future we all face. Below is a list of AIA Virginia resources and programs we encourage you to explore:

  • AIA Virginia COVID-19 Resource Webpage organized into categories to assist individuals, firms, and your clients. In addition, the webpage provides access to our recorded webinars as follows:
    • PPP Funding Management + Getting Back to Work
    • Concisely Navigating the CARES Act
    • Uniting the AEC Industry: Construction Administration During a Global Pandemic
    • Remote Work During COVID-19: Best Practices and Lessons Learned
  • In partnership with AIAS National, connecting and engaging recent architecture school graduates in Virginia through a formalized mentoring program: Operation Reach, Retain, and Develop. Become a mentor today: https://www.aiava.org/student-mentorship-interest/
  • Increased frequency of our virtual Small, Mid-Size, and Large Firm Roundtable sessions
  • Increased frequency of our Emerging Professionals Roundtable sessions

AIA Virginia looks forward to helping you move through our current circumstances. Our hope is that you use the organization as a trusted resource. We are committed to being with you every step of the way. If you have any specific needs you would like to share, please email us at info@aiava.org.

Board Meeting Highlights

MEETING RECAP
AIA Virginia | 2020 Board of Directors
June 26, 2020
Zoom Virtual Meeting

Motions Made and Approved:

The Board of Directors of AIA Virginia voted as follows:

  • Approval of April 17, 2020 Meeting Minutes
  • Approval of June 16, 2020 Meeting Minutes
  • Approval of the AIA Virginia Member Endorsement Policy
  • Approval of the Architects Foundation Memorandum of Understanding and Operating Agreement
  • Approval of Appointments to the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee
  • Approval of revised AIA Virginia Public Policies and Position Statements
  • Approval of the FY2019-2020 Contribution to the Financial Contingency Fund
  • Approval of the 2021 Membership Dues Rates
  • Approval of the FY2020-2021 Budget

Written reports were provided for the following consent agenda items:

  • PAC Update                                                                                                   
  • Membership Update
  • Amber Book Update                                                                                                   
  • Emerging Leaders in Architecture
  • Nominations Committee Update                               
  • Operation: Reach, Retain, and Develop Update                                             
  • Branch Museum’s Statement on Racism                                                       
  • Candidates Endorsed for Gubernatorial Appointment                                               

Members may request a copy of these written reports by emailing AIA Virginia Executive Vice President, Corey Clayborne, FAIA at cclayborne@aiava.org.

The next meeting of the 2020 AIA Virginia Board of Directors will take place Friday, August 7, 2020.

What’s Your Mission Moment?

At the beginning of every AIA Virginia Board of Directors meeting, two Directors share their “Mission Moment” with their fellow Board members. It’s always interesting to hear how your colleagues are acting as citizen architects, or as mentors, or as advocates for our profession. Their stories are always different, and they inspire me.

(This is our AIA Virginia Mission: “AIA Virginia is the voice of the architecture profession in the Commonwealth, dedicated to serving its members, advancing their value, and improving the quality of the built environment.”)

Beth Reader, FAIA
2020 AIA Virginia President

I was thinking a couple of weeks ago about what my current Mission Moment would be. After working in the profession for over thirty years now, I’m having a “coming full circle” experience. In the late 80’s / early 90’s, my husband and business partner, Chuck Swartz, and I started volunteering for a local non- profit group called City Light Development Corporation. We had both done our architectural internships in an architecture firm that served extremely wealthy clients. For example, I worked on an exercise pavilion / guest house, with a hangar below it for our client’s private helicopter. We worked on walk-in closets that were almost the size of our entire apartment. I remember one project meeting, when the client’s construction estimate was more than he wanted to spend, he indignantly yelled at our boss, “What am I supposed to do, send my kids to PUBLIC schools?” After a couple of years of this, Chuck and I decided that we wanted to spend time serving economically disadvantaged, hardworking people who needed affordable houses that had dignity.

One of the first projects we did for City Light was a project called North Kent Court. It was in a neighborhood that many people in Winchester were afraid to walk or drive in. We designed nine small, single family houses for North Kent Court. They were one-and-a-half story, 24′ by 24′ square, single family houses (the size of a two-car garage). They were 935 square feet, and cost $40,000 each when built in 1992. We could have designed one house and had it repeat nine times. Instead, we designed a 24′ square module, and rotated the gable 90 degrees on each house. We gave each house a front porch, so there were “eyes on the street” and so neighbors were encouraged to interact with one another. We wanted each house to have its own identity. Each house had different elevations, depending on the orientation of the gable, the design of the porch, and the configuration of the siding. The exterior paint was donated, so the houses’ colors turned out to be slightly funky and unusual, which we loved. Many other building materials were donated, like ugly rectangular fluorescent ceiling lights (not so great), and white carpeting (not at all practical). That was okay, though. The project was published in Inform and Progressive Architecture magazines. It won design awards, including one from Fannie Mae. Ever since that project, our office has made a point of doing pro- bono work for the local non-profit groups that serve our community.

Fast forward… A local Habitat for Humanity chapter was formed, and it bought “our” old City Light houses. Habitat loves the houses, and shows them off to people. About three weeks ago, we met with leaders from the local Habitat chapter, and they told us they bought the land that completes the rest of the original North Kent Court block. This purchase provides them with five small new building lots. They told us they want the new houses to be in the spirit of the old ones, and to honor them. This is such an exciting pro- bono project for us. We can’t wait to design something that riffs off of, respects, and improves the original. And so, we’ve come full circle, after thirty years.

So, what’s your Mission Moment? Do you serve on a Planning Commission, City Council, or Board of Architectural Review? Do you mentor a young professional? Do you volunteer for Habitat or another civic organization? Do you teach or mentor architecture students? Do you work with K-12 students, introducing them to possible careers in architecture or construction? I encourage you to be engaged in your community. Be engaged in your profession. Be an advocate. Live your Mission Moment. And thank you for all that you do.

With best regards,

Beth

New Architects

We understand the dedication and effort required to study for and pass the ARE. Congratulations to the following members for passing their exams and gaining licensure. This is great news that thrills all of us and we are so proud to call you architects!

Miss Melissa T. Colombo, AIA (AIA Northern Virginia)
Jenine S. Kotob, AIA (AIA Northern Virginia)

Have you recently passed the ARE? Upgrade your membership to Architect using this AIA form. or send an email to your Member Services Director, Cathy Guske, cguske@aiava.org

New Members

We are always excited to welcome new members to Virginia. The following members recently joined the ranks of AIA Virginia.

New Architect Members

Ms. Christianna I. Raber, AIA (AIA Richmond)

New Associate Members

Ms. Justine Huang, Assoc. AIA (AIA Northern Virginia)
Mr. Hyung Jo, Assoc. AIA (AIA Northern Virginia)
Ms. Catherine Kanter, Assoc. AIA (AIA Hampton Roads)
Mr. Pratik Lohani, Assoc. AIA (AIA Northern Virginia)
Miss Olivia M. Marino, Assoc. AIA (AIA Richmond)
Miss Kathryn M. Waters, Assoc. AIA (AIA Blue Ridge)
Miss Marlene G. Canedo, Intl. Assoc. AIA (AIA Northern Virginia)

Transferred In

Mr. Joseph A. Darling, AIA from AIA Maryland (AIA Richmond)

AIA Virginia Allied Members

Dan Longenderfer, Director of Marketing, York Building Products
Kathy Blanchard, Sr. VP/Professional Liability, McGriff Insurance Services

View all of the AIA Virginia Allied members

Virginia NOMA Update

As you may recall, the NOMA Exploratory Committee was formed in the Fall of 2019 to do the following:

  • Evaluate the requirements and resources it would take to start a Virginia NOMA chapter
  • Determine interest in the minority community
  • Obtain insight on lessons learned from those who have undertaken such an initiative

We are proud to report that a group of dedicated individuals have been meeting regularly to advance this cause and the profession is in arms reach of having a statewide NOMA chapter!

The Committee has completed the following tasks:

  • Completed its first draft of the proposed Bylaws and received review comments from NOMA National
  • Obtained an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Department of Treasury Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
  • Executed a Memorandum of Understanding with AIA Virginia to solidify a unified partnership
  • Determined a banking institute and moving forward with its establishment
  • Established dues rates
  • Identified its provisional Officers to obtain a charter from NOMA National (names must be provided to get a charter and its inaugural Officers will be voted on by its membership)

A charter is expected to be granted to Virginia NOMA in 2020. Thank you to Joel Mieses for chairing the Exploratory Committee and demonstrating exemplary leadership. If you are interested in being a part of this professional community, please complete this interest form accessed at https://www.aiava.org/interested-in-a-noma-virginia/

Can You Hear Me Now?

An Open Memo to My Colleagues in the Community of Architecture

A cellular company once popularized the commercial phrase, “can you hear me, now?” For years, there has been a credible, audible but unheard plea from the depths of the soul of a segment of the American family that there is an injustice that has been perpetual and persistent. America has not listened because it only impacted a small number of our family members. Occasionally there was an uprising when tensions from the injustice rose to a boil, but they were quickly squashed.

Robert L. Easter, FAIA, NOMAC

In the struggle for equity, diversity, and inclusion, we must understand that the powerless will never be in a position to make real substantive change. Our American family, and my Architecture family, has a real problem with racism; it is an evil and ugly virus that has plagued our nation for 401 years.

Our nation was built on many principles, most of them laudable and admirable. But one undeniable fact is that America’s prosperity has been borne and continues to thrive on the idea that some lives are not valued as much as others. It is why Black men, women, boys, and girls can be brutalized and murdered with impunity, whether or not they present a threat to those who are better armed and better trained to address injustice or challenges to authority, whichever they chose to hear. Racism is real and unrelenting; unfortunately, those who are victimized by this insidious disease are not the ones infected by it. It is a family disease and its morbidity uncommonly impacts one segment of our family. It is in our genes, running unrestrained through our national DNA with no scientist seeking cures or treatments because those with power have the disease and those with the disease not understanding how they could ever suffer from it… until there is unrest.

Today, we are at another boiling point. Tempers are heightened, and the cry for justice is overwhelming. And America, our family, is watching with anxiety and concern. We deplore the violence; we are shocked at the level of unrestrained looting and destruction; we want something to be done to make things safe in our cities like we had become accustomed to. Our world is already reeling with COVID-19 and our businesses are suffering; this unrest is not going to help!

So, where do we go from here? I suggest that there are three priorities that must be embraced by our professional community: the architecture family. The first is the simple reality that one of the primary reasons that so few African Americans practice architecture is racism. That is a hard first step, but let’s examine racism by its definition. It is the active or inactive effort employed by a dominant race to exert its position of power over another race to subjugate or control the opportunities that the latter can participate in. It is using race as the marker to disenfranchise another race. It is not always done consciously and may even be unintentional. Race is the result of bias and bigotry. We are not all bigots, but we all have biases.

Overcoming racism requires that we acknowledge and confess our biases and explore how those biases may have adversely affected an entire segment of our community family. Much of the positive discussion in our profession was generated by a growing and prosperous economy that afforded the privileged the opportunity to be generous. But fighting racism isn’t how you respond in good time; it is what you do in the moments of heat, confusion, anxiety, and fear. It is how you respond when your commissions are in limbo and your profits are at risk.

Secondly, if we can identify those conscience and unconscious actions, we must make a determined, thoughtful, and committed effort to undo both the actions and their impacts. Our efforts must be intentional and embedded in the culture of our workplaces. Diversity, inclusion, and equity can’t be buzzwords. Empty rhetoric and pious platitudes created the chaos and unrest that we see on our streets. Those of our family who sit in more privileged seats at the table (meaning that those who are able to influence the political, social, and economic structures) must acknowledge that they have a responsibility to be advocates for immediate and substantive change. That change must be in policy and practice. We must be willing to hear the voices of the marginalized and victimized, but not just hear them, we must listen with open hearts, open minds, and open wallets. Change is never free, and it costs more than change.

We must demand that our Human Resource professionals embrace a sense of educational and cultural preparedness. We must train our staff to recognize and root out bigotry in the workplace, in all of its forms. They must employ measures to address the systemic concerns of their African American employees. Many of the large firms in our family are located in large metropolitan areas where the daily ritual of life can be a torment. As employees are relocating to our city, we must let them know that there is a network that they can depend on and go to for relief, support and backup when they are confronted with the adversities of being Black in America. Our place of business must be a safe haven, not a sweatshop; for young men and women who, right now, can’t always discern ally or enemy, friend or foe.

Finally, we must make it clear that we will always be advocates for justice, no matter how it impacts our bottom lines. We have to pick up our signs and march. We have to register and vote. We have to make our political contributions count; those who receive our support and must know that how they legislate will determine how we give. Justice isn’t black or white, it isn’t liberal or conservative, it isn’t even left… it is only right. Most architects are influential and respected members of the communities where we live and practice. We have to capitalize on our community status for the wellbeing of our family. We must make sure that the journey from home to work and back home is safe, and that there are no communities that our family members aren’t allowed to call home or journey to, without being harassed, targeted, or treated with suspicion.

Well, family, what are the streets telling you? What message do you hear from the broken glass and looted shelves? What are the ashes of burned-out buildings screaming to you? Are those shattered businesses telling you that they need protection? Are they suggesting that they need armed and militarized aid to keep them secure? What do the thrown bottles and bricks say to you about the struggle they are experiencing when flung through the air by mindlessness? Are they asking for our elected leaders and their agents to get tougher on the perpetrators?

That is what most of our family members hear. We continue to be deaf to the voices of those whose lives were terminated by injustice. We don’t hear the voices of the young marginalized men who feel We want justice; but, for who? Martin L. King, Jr. once said in a speech denouncing rioting, that “riots are the cries of the unheard.” And those who have been crying out for days, years, months… even centuries that have landed on deaf ears, want to know, simply, can you hear me, now?

I have a 27-year-old son who recently moved to Los Angeles. From his ancestors, he inherited a brilliant mind. From his mother, he inherited good looks and compassion. From me, he inherited a sharp tongue and brown skin. I pray every day that I did not confer upon him a death sentence. He has an occasion to speak his mind to people he has no influence over. Wherever he has lived in the past, be it his birthplace of Richmond, VA, or Boston, MA, where he received a stellar education, he has been confronted by those sworn to protect and defend him and treated like he doesn’t belong.

Many of my American family members don’t know that fear of wondering where your child is every evening or is he still alive each morning. They don’t understand how a young man graduating from a prestigious school with a 3.6 GPA, can be a threat to anyone. I can’t afford to be patient, because of my son’s life, and the lives of the students I teach to be of value to our profession, hang in the balance. My son needs you to be his advocate because his father is totally powerless to ensuring that he is heard, respected, and valued. My son needs to know that when he and his peers speak, you can hear him.

by Robert L. Easter, FAIA, NOMAC
Copyright 2020

Associated Thoughts

I had this month’s update for associates all planned out. Real nice and tidy. It was going to be about getting started—with your career, with your AXP record, with raising your hand and getting involved in your community—and simple ways for emerging designers to do that. And sometimes our nice and tidy plans get pushed aside, rightly so. As I type out these words, helicopters buzz low over my Washington DC neighborhood, and massive crowds stream through the streets in protest of the injustices perpetrated against George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so, so many in the black community over the last 400+ years. Injustices both outrageously specific and overwhelmingly systemic, and we grieve them.

And so we center these words from the May 31 statement by the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA):

The air in our nation is thick with a profound sense of grief and despair. Our collective air is so very thick that it’s literally hard to breathe. We struggle to grasp for air as we all navigate a global pandemic coupled with the deadly and pervasive virus called racism that has plagued America for over four centuries…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?

photo courtesy of Michael Spory

We as architects serve the public. Not just the paying, powerful, or polite public. The ENTIRE public, in all its messy, complicated, and challenging complexity. And in serving the entire public as designers, we imagine environments and worlds that do not yet exist, and we help make them visible. How can we, who care so much about the beauty in our built environments, imagine and act to bring that better world into being, a world that repairs the systemic injustices enveloping our black brothers and sisters for the last 400 years? How can we as professional architects address racial issues within our own profession? How can we hold this in our gaze, and not look away?

Ultimately, this newsletter is still about getting started (and you can certainly find links for job boards, AXP advice, and community service opportunities below) but with a renewed focus on racial justice in our design offices and in our neighborhoods in our diverse, complicated, beautiful Virginia. This work has been going on for a long time, but the pressing reality begs us as emerging professionals to partner with our elders in clear-eyed reckoning with how race and architecture are colliding, in this moment in 2020. 

In the coming weeks and months, there will be a variety of opportunities to sustain this priority, so watch out. Read things like the links listed below, and share them with your friends and supervisors. Listen to diverse voices. Listen to your black and brown friends and colleagues, who have to come to work every day and try and smile and finish their task list. Get involved in our newly-established NOMA chapter. Donate to our PAC, and to trusted organizations doing justice work in our communities. 

We will keep moving. 

In solidarity and action,
Michael Spory, Associate AIA
spory@vmdo.com

Just a Few Fun Things to Click On

Some Statements about Racial Injustice from AIA and Design Leaders: Read statements from the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA), the AIA, and AIA Virginia. Ask if your firm or institution has drafted any statement. 

Someone You Should Know: Jeffrey Butts is the Regional Associate Director for the Region of the Virginias for the 2019-2020 term. A graduate of Howard University and a designer at Hanbury (Norfolk), Jeffrey is an incredible resource between our regional chapter and AIA National. He’s doing big things, folks. 

Someone Else You Should Know: Robert Easter, FAIA is one of the newest AIA Fellows from Virginia (recently awarded in January!), the chair of the architecture program at Hampton University, and one of the most prominent voices for increased black and minority participation in Virginia and in the country. He serves as Hampton University’s representative to the AIA VA Board of Directors. 

Someone to Ask NCARB Questions: Michael Hammon, AIA is the NCARB Licensing Advisor for Virginia. He knows all things NCARB and is appointed by AIA Virginia to help you. Reach out to him at mhammon@glaveandholmes.com. He is happy to respond to big and small questions about how licensing works, how to navigate tricky situations, and how to help you get that stamp!

Something to Talk about with Your Boss and Coworkers: AIA has developed Guides for Equitable Practice, for resourcing architects to make the business and professional case for ensuring more equitable practices in our firms, particularly towards black and minority individuals and clients. This is an important baseline, especially the personal stories in this section. Ask your supervisors if your firm has discussed and implemented these guides. 

Something to Donate To: The Equal Justice Initiative, founded by Bryan Stevenson, supports criminal justice reform, racial justice, and public education about racial inequities and the residual structures and legacy of the enslavement of African-Americans. Based in Montgomery, Alabama, it’s National Memorial for Peace and Justice is a heartbreaking and architectural wonder to the legacy of lynching and racial violence. 

Something to Sign Up For: AIA Virginia is forming a joint and supportive relationship with our newly-launched NOMA Chapter. This is an important step, and is an effort that needs people of all skin colors to actively support minority architects. Fill this form out to show your support and interest; it’ll take less than 60 seconds.

Something Else to Sign Up For: Due to the loss of networking and internship opportunities, AIA VA is responding creatively to provide mentoring relationships between rising students and young professionals and working architects. I signed up–you should too! Only 2 hours per month. Forms for mentees & graduates are here, and forms for possible mentors are here

Something to Put on Your Calendar: Join other engaged folks for our Emerging Professionals Roundtable + Happy Hour. June 10 @ 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm. Register online

Some Free Stuff for the ARE Exams: AIA National is offering their ARE prep course ArchiPrep FOR FREE for associate members until August 31. If you’re taking your exams, or thinking about taking them, this should push you over the starting line. 

Something if You’re Looking for a Job: For those on the job hunt, take a look at the job board on the AIA Virginia website — with employment opportunities all across Virginia. And check out AIA’s resource for navigating the 2020 job market. 

Something Inspiring: Past winners of the AIA’s Whitney M. Young Jr Award, which distinguishes an architect or architectural organization that embodies social responsibility and actively addresses a relevant issue, such as affordable housing, inclusiveness, or universal access.