The Voice for Texas Architecture

Justice, Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion Resources

The TxA Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Committee has compiled these resources to assist individuals, firms and organizations as they develop their anti-racist practice and advance justice, equity, diversity and inclusion within our profession. We encourage folks to commit to doing additional research, as undoing white supremacy requires dedicated effort.

Justice, Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion Resources

The TxA Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Committee has compiled these resources to assist individuals, firms and organizations as they develop their anti-racist practice and advance justice, equity, diversity and inclusion within our profession. We encourage folks to commit to doing additional research, as undoing white supremacy requires dedicated effort.

Contribute to This Page

If you have resources you’d like to share with TxA, please contact us and we will periodically update this page.

Getting Started

As with any learning process, there may be words or phrases related to anti-racism that are new to you or your organization. Racial Equity Tools has a great glossary that people might find helpful. We’ve used this glossary to provide the definitions of a few key terms that appear throughout this compilation of resources:

As with any learning process, there may be words or phrases related to anti-racism that are new to you or your organization. Racial Equity Tools has a great glossary that people might find helpful. We’ve used this glossary to provide the definitions of a few key terms that appear throughout this compilation of resources:

  • Anti-Racism: Anti-Racism is defined as the work of actively opposing racism by advocating for changes in political, economic, and social life. Anti-racism tends to be an individualized approach, and set up in opposition to individual racist behaviors and impacts.
  • Implicit Bias: Also known as unconscious or hidden bias, implicit biases are negative associations that people unknowingly hold. They are expressed automatically, without conscious awareness. Many studies have indicated that implicit biases affect individuals’ attitudes and actions, thus creating real-world implications, even though individuals may not even be aware that those biases exist within themselves. Notably, implicit biases have been shown to trump individuals’ stated commitments to equality and fairness, thereby producing behavior that diverges from the explicit attitudes that many people profess. The Implicit Association Test (IAT) is often used to measure implicit biases with regard to race, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, and other topics.
  • Racism: 
    • Racism = race prejudice + social and institutional power
    • Racism = a system of advantage based on race
    • Racism = a system of oppression based on race
    • Racism = a white supremacy system
    • Racism is different from racial prejudice, hatred, or discrimination. Racism involves one group having the power to carry out systematic discrimination through the institutional policies and practices of the society and by shaping the cultural beliefs and values that support those racist policies and practices. 

White supremacy: The idea (ideology) that white people and the ideas, thoughts, beliefs, and actions of white people are superior to People of Color and their ideas, thoughts, beliefs, and actions. While most people associate white supremacy with extremist groups like the Ku Klux Klan and the neo-Nazis, white supremacy is ever present in our institutional and cultural assumptions that assign value, morality, goodness, and humanity to the white group while casting people and communities of color as worthless (worth less), immoral, bad, and inhuman and “undeserving.” Drawing from critical race theory, the term “white supremacy” also refers to a political or socio-economic system where white people enjoy structural advantage and rights that other racial and ethnic groups do not, both at a collective and an individual level.

Practice 

If you’re a firm leader and are looking to advance your work as an anti-racist practice, here are a few of the many steps you and your organization can take:

  • Understanding What An Anti-Racist Organization Looks Like
      • This helpful chart outlines the different stages an organization might go through – from an exclusionary organization to a fully inclusive anti-racist multicultural organization. Identifying where your organization is in the process might help identify what next steps might need to be taken. 
  • Conduct Unconscious Bias/Anti-Racist Training
  • Everyone has biases, oftentimes they’re ones we’re not even aware of and they unintentionally have an impact on our actions. Our unconscious bias influences decisions in hiring, promotions, performance review, giving raises, and more. Unconscious bias training can help us recognize what our unconscious biases are so we can begin to take steps to undo them. Racial Equity Tools, which is a great resource on anti-racism in general, has assembled a list of resources to help with the process of selecting a racial equity training, how to prepare for training, steps organizations can take on their own, and more. Working with local trainers can support racial justice work being done in your community, the previous resources can help guide how you might select individuals or organizations to work with. There are also national organizations that do training, including Race Forward, The Racial Equity Institute and The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond
  • Conduct a Pay Equity Audit
  • Analyze and Change Your Hiring Practices
      • The idea that there are no qualified candidates of color is false and insulting, and is a crutch many firms have leaned on to justify a lack of diversity in their office. The candidates are out there – you may not be reaching them or there may be a reason they don’t feel comfortable or don’t want to apply to your firm. 
      • People often hear about jobs through personal networks, it is natural for folks to reach out to friends and former colleagues about job openings. However if a firm is predominantly white, it is likely that their networks will also be predominantly white. Firm leaders and those involved in hiring can expand their networks, working with, and cultivating meaningful relationships, with organizations like NOMA and HBCUs, as well as the LiA, WiA, and EDI committees within the AIA, to broaden their recruitment strategies. 
      • Don’t ask for salary history when hiring, it perpetuates the salary inequality described above. 
      • “Merit” is a word often used to describe why someone is hired for a job, or selected for a promotion – people evaluate merit through things like what school someone went to, what firm they worked at before, and what awards they have won. But merit is often seen through the lens of white supremacy. There are many ways in which “meritocracy” promotes bias and upholds white supremacy, we’ll only describe a few here. First, people generally aren’t actually being evaluated based on merit. Meritocracy depends on the evaluators familiarity with, and the value they place on certain achievements – this knowledge is inherently limited (see point above re: networks) and influenced by unconscious bias. Second, unconscious bias can be so pervasive that people of color whose achievements are identical to white people do not advance professionally because of something totally unrelated to their talent or skills, like their name. Third, systemic racism increases barriers to people of color, narrowing access to institutions and opportunities that are deemed “meritorious” by (white) establishment. For more on some of the problems with the evaluation of merit, check out the book “The Tyranny of Merit: What’s Become of the Common Good?”. 
    • Anti-racist practice will also change how we work and what kind of work we do. The Design as Protest collective has issued a set of demands to transform the way architects practice: “Our obligation to each other, to the built environment, and in solidarity with black lives is to hold all complicit actors in these systems accountable, including organizations, schools, industry leaders, and legislative bodies.” Demands include: 
      • Reallocate Police Funding/ Divest from Designing 
      • End CPTED Tactics
      • End design of prisons and police stations.
    • You can sign on as an individual and as an organization and then take action within your organization to implement these demands.

Profession

In addition to being members of our firm or office, we are also part of a larger community of architects and designers. The field in general had a lot of work to do, here are a few ways to engage in transforming the profession:

  • Resources from the AIA
      • The AIA has many resources and opportunities to get involved with justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion within the architecture profession. 
        • AIA Guides for Equitable Practice: These guides will help you make the business and professional case for ensuring that your organization meets the career development, professional environment, and cultural awareness expectations of current and future employees and clients. Each chapter includes real-world-derived best practices, relevant research, and other tools to help you address a variety of employment and personnel issues about equity, diversity, and inclusion. 
        • Women in Architecture & EDI Events: A current list of EDI and Women in Architecture virtual events from across the country. 
        • TxA Black Lives Matter statement: Over the summer of 2020, after the murder of George Floyd, TxA released a statement in support of Black Lives Matter. The statement included action items that the TxA Board adopted with the support and accountability of the EDI Committee and many other members. 
  • Join an AIA committee
    • The AIA has many committees focused on EDI efforts; you can get involved at the city, state, or national level. Many Texas AIA chapters have Latinos in Architecture, EDI, and Women in Architecture committees. 
    • Local AIA Chapters: Reach out to your city or region’s AIA Chapter to see what opportunities there are to get involved with Committees. Many Committee meetings are open for all members to attend and volunteer.
    • State AIA: TxA started a Call for Interest to volunteer on Committees to increase inclusion and transparency. Join the TxA email newsletter and be on the lookout for the Call for Interest in late Fall. Check out this blog for more insight on how to get involved and you can find a list of TxA Committees and Commissions here. 
    • National AIA: If you’re interested in volunteering on an AIA Committee, every Fall you have the opportunity to submit a resume and a letter of interest. The deadline is typically in early November. There is an Equitable Practice & The Future of Architecture Committee and many other committees.
  • Support the work of the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA): “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.”
    • NOMA Central Texas
    • NOMA Dallas/ Fort Worth
    • NOMA Houston

Other Ways to Get Involved in Anti-Racist Work

There is more we can do as firms, as a profession, and as individuals. A lot of time and effort, mostly by people of color, has already been put into community organizing and developing anti-racist materials, including resources specifically for designers. Please check out the links below to learn more about the work being done and how you can get involved/support it:

  • BIPoC Led Design Organizations and Groups Working to Address Racism in Architecture to Support/Follow/Join:
  • Getting Active in the Fight for Racial Justice
    • The Movement for Black Lives“The Movement for Black Lives (M4BL) formed in December of 2014, was created as a space for Black organizations across the country to debate and discuss the current political conditions, develop shared assessments of what political interventions were necessary in order to achieve key policy, cultural and political wins, convene organizational leadership in order to debate and co-create a shared movement wide strategy. Under the fundamental idea that we can achieve more together than we can separately.”

Showing up for Racial Justice (SURJ) – “SURJ is a national network of groups and individuals working to undermine white supremacy and to work for racial justice. Through community organizing, mobilizing, and education, SURJ moves white people to act as pa

Place-Based Understanding

As architects and designers, our work is place based, places that have complex current and historical contexts. No site we work with will ever be a “blank slate”. Having a better understanding of race and racism in the places we’re working in, can help us become better architects. Below are a few books suggested by the EDI committee. This is a growing list. If you have other suggestions, please send them our way.