Newsletter | Nov/Dec 2016
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|In this issue:|
Get to Know a Member in 5 Questions - Sandra Vivanco
After the Election, A Conversation - Naomi Horowitz, with input from the Steering Committee
Editorial - Naomi Horowitz
Get to Know a Member in 5 Questionsby Sandra Vivanco | Share #1166
Welcome New MembersShare #1168
We welcome these new members who recently joined the OWA+DP:
We hope you will get involved, come to events, and get to know your fellow members.
We also thank everyone who has renewed their membership in the last two months.
News from Our MembersShare #1169
After the Election, A Conversationby Naomi Horowitz, with input from the Steering Committee | Share #1172
Many of you are probably familiar with the controversy around the post-election statement released by Robert Ivy, CEO of the American Institute of Architects. There was outrage not only about the tone and content of the statement, but also about the lack of an inclusive process. Many felt that the national organization was not in touch with its members. If you’d like more information about this, we recommend the review by the AIA San Francisco chapter, which you can read here.
This newsletter is aimed primarily at our members, and not likely read by those in power. We are also limited, like other 501(c )3 organizations, in what we can say on partisan political matters. So rather than making a statement on behalf of our members, we would rather engage you in a conversation. This is your OWA+DP. Are there positions or actions that we should take collectively? Are there ways we can better support each other?
One place to start may be to revisit our mission statement. It currently reads as follows:
The Organization of Women Architects and Design Professionals supports and promotes women in design-related field in all phases of their professional lives. We seek to:
• Improve the professional standing of women in architecture and design-related fields.
• Promote networking opportunities among our members and related professional groups.
• Provide support for women entrepreneurs and business owners in the design industry.
• Advocate young women and students entering design-related fields through mentoring, education, and employment opportunities.
• Support women in creating a healthy balance between their professional and personal lives.
Is there interest in revising or expanding on this statement? Here are a few options:
1. We could be more explicit about our inclusiveness: “The OWA+DP supports and advocates for all women in the design professions, regardless of religion, immigration status, or gender assigned at birth.”
2. We could commit to resisting attempts to lower the status of women: “The OWA+DP is committed to standing together against words and actions by elected or appointed government officials that discriminate against or disrespect women.”
3. We could also focus attention more generally on amplifying women’s voices: “The OWA+DP acts to amplify the voices of women in public and well as professional spheres.”
To share your thoughts on the mission statement, suggest other actions, or share your thoughts and feelings on the current political climate, please join the new discussion thread on our Forum. We have posted this statement there and welcome your comments. This discussion will be open only to logged-in members.
For a more personal response to the election, please read the Editorial also contained in this newsletter.
Editorialby Naomi Horowitz | Share #1173
This organization was founded in 1973 by women beginning their professional lives who found a field and a profession that were often unwelcoming to them, that failed to take them seriously or treat them as equals. It has been sustained in the decades since by the involvement and dedication of its members.
The health of our democracy is similarly sustained by our participation, which does not begin or end with our vote on election day. Our voices matter. Our actions matter. I encourage us all to find the issues that we care about passionately, and act on them. Write, call, stand, march, teach. Be generous. Be brave. And remember that you are not alone. Reach out to each other. Inspire each other. Comfort each other.
I was inspired by the letter, signed by over 1500 tech employees (see neveragain.tech), pledging to resist the creation of discriminatory databases or registries. The areas where they commit to taking action include refusing to participate, advocating within their organizations, and addressing misuse of data. They commit to actions up to and including whistle-blowing and resigning from their positions.
We should also think about the role of our profession in serving the causes either of human betterment or of oppression. What is our equivalent of the Muslim registry? Where is our resistance relevant? I personally commit to resist in the following ways:
I will not participate in the design and construction of the following types of facilities:
- Border walls
- Facilities used for the detention of any group on the basis of anything other than criminal prosecution. This includes facilities for detaining groups based on immigration status, country of origin, religion, ethnicity, or any similar category.
- Facilities to be used for torture, no matter what it is called, and no matter where they are located
I will resist these by refusing to contribute my time and expertise, by speaking against them, and by resigning my position if necessary.
Do you have ideas for other types of work that should be resisted? Other methods of resistance?
Like the OWA+DP statement sbove, I am posting this editorial as a new thread on the Forum, to make it easy for everyone to contribute ideas.
This is my last issue as newsletter editor. However, I would also love to see more in-depth analysis of how our professions will be affected by the new administration. In addition to malignant projects to be resisted, we should consider broader implications for the building industry. If anyone has the expertise to write about anticipated impacts on affordable housing, infrastructure, or other areas, I am confident the incoming newsletter editor will be interested in hearing from you in the new year.
Please note that these are my personal thoughts, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the OWA+DP or its members.
Holiday PartyShare #1174
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