In a year filled with challenges and uncertainty, we’ve found hope, positivity, and comradery in our community. We broadened our philanthropic efforts to stand in proud solidarity with those that are standing up against systemic injustice, and we hope to lead by example. Advocating for equality is indisputable and our commitment to creating a necessary, positive change is something we’re tackling with conviction now and will take that same gumption into 2021.
In June, we took our first decisive and important step by publishing, externally, our first calls to action:
- Launching an internal diversity and inclusion committee, comprised of a team from across all seniority, to spearhead this change.
- Officially recognizing two annual paid holidays Days of Social Action on our calendar going forward: June 19th for Juneteenth and January 15th (or the third Monday of January) for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
- Schedule mandatory office-wide training courses covering diversity and inclusion, and unconscious and implicit bias.
- Donate and provide support to BIPOC-oriented and founded organizations in our local communities and become active participants with the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA).
- Be consistently involved in and vocal about architecture focused BIPOC/Women/LGBTQ+ communities and initiatives.
- Diversify our current recruitment initiatives and look to expand mentorship and scholarship opportunities to capture middle/high schools.
Since June, we’ve made some fantastic progress:
- Our Diversity + Inclusion Committee is up and running at full speed with bi-weekly calls scheduled to make sure we’re achieving what we set out to do.
- Distributed an anonymous office-wide survey to discover and understand our firm’s success, opportunity, and overall perception as it relates to JEDI (Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion) initiatives.
- Donated $15K to local organizations that focus on the recovery, resiliency, and amplification of our local BIPOC communities in the Greater Bay Area and South Florida communities.
- Researched and tested a variety of diversity and inclusion training courses for all SB employees, which will be rolled out in early 2021.
- Enrolled members of our team into the ACE Mentorship Program, in both South Florida and San Francisco. ACE is a completely volunteer-run after school program that engages high school students into the professional world of Architecture, Construction, Engineering through discussion, hands-on activity work, and group projects.
- In August 2020, we hosted an industry roundtable conversation with our peers – HBA, Sherwood Engineers, Cumming, and EDSA – to see what initiatives they have in place and to brainstorm ways we can come together as a group to create a larger impact in the industry.
- Celebrated Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month in September. We took the month to spotlight members of our Hispanic/Latinx community and the incredible Latin American/Caribbean destinations we’ve had the privilege to work in, whilst placing emphasis and recognizing the work that needs to be done to support the community as we go forward.
- Sponsoring staff to be NOMA members and attended the NOMA Conference in October, which explored ways in which we can break down barriers to creating meaningful projects, share ways to remix the role of the designer, and unpack new approaches to the design processes of our built environment.
We still have a way to go, but we are committed to this cause and look forward to sharing our progress with you as we find the most meaningful and sustainable way to create and enforce positive, lasting change.