It is time to pick a side. The Los Angeles Forum for Architecture and Urban Design takes an unequivocal stand against racism and makes a greater and permanent commitment to change. We commit to an examination of our own uncomfortable record of inequality and exclusion, with the understanding that only in self-examination will we diminish the racism present in our own organization. In this regard, the LAForum must strive to do better than it has in the past.
LAForum is saddened and deeply troubled by the recent deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and the many Black individuals before them who were murdered by police and armed whites. We acknowledge the recent protest actions against police violence, as well as the systemic racial injustice, that is rooted in our nation’s founding.
LAForum recognizes that this same systemic racial injustice has led to the inequities in housing, transportation, education, employment, and access to green spaces, which persist today in the Black community and other communities of color. The same communities of color are disproportionately affected by climate change and the COVID-19 health crisis.
We recognize that the profession of architecture itself is complicit in this systemic racial injustice, and that it is deeply entrenched in the market driven neo-liberal structures which are exploitative to communities of color.
We are aware that other non-profits, businesses, and professional organizations have offered similar words over the last few days. We too are struggling to understand how a small organization might address the enormous problem posed by hundreds of years of structural racism in our country and in the design fields.
As an organization, we are deeply grounded in our publications and in our belief in the power of the written word. In keeping with this, we share below links to the texts of Black voices who have inspired us. These voices are speaking here on the subjects of architecture, landscape, cities and the practice of design in contemporary life.
The resources are not shared as an attempt to provide a pedagogy of anti-racism.
These are texts that we are reading and texts from our archives which have been commissioned and published by the LAForum over the years. We are privileged to share them. But within our archive there is a shameful lack of Black voices. This shows us what work needs to be done. We need to study and promote these and many more voices as we educate ourselves and practice better listening, reflection, inclusion and allyship strategies. People and organizations can transform in moments of struggle. We know these commitments will make us better and stronger in our efforts to frame and challenge what architecture and urban design mean in our evolving city.
Wendy Gilmartin AIA
President, Los Angeles Forum for Architecture and Urban Design
Form the LAForum archive:
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