Newsletter | Nov/Dec 2016


by Naomi Horowitz

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, 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.

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