ATLANTA — March 23, 2021 — Unfortunately, we are all here again – confronted with another tragic episode of violent racism here in Georgia – this time in Atlanta against women of our Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. On behalf of AIA Georgia and AIA Atlanta, and leadership across the state we condemn these murders, and the systemic and cultural illness that is making this kind of violence, misogyny, and racial hatred more and more common.
The sexual objectification and misrepresentation of Asian women has a long and tragic history, and the associated violence against women and members of the AAPI community too often goes unreported. Last week’s hateful attack on the Asian community in Atlanta is an exclamation point on a nationwide increase in violence against the AAPI community, documented in nearly 4,000 cases this past year. It is also tragically true that misinformation about the origins and responsibility for the COVID pandemic is providing some of the fuel for this violence and dividing communities in our country. These divisions must be addressed urgently if we are to reverse this alarming trend.
AIA is working with other professional organizations to bring understanding to our members of the tremendous negative impact of this kind of hate, and to provide a direction for our collective efforts to make a difference in the fight against systemic racism and misogyny. However, much, much more remains to be done in AIA, our firms, our universities, and in our own hearts and minds.
Following many local and state initiatives that have focused on social justice in the profession in the recent past, in future weeks and months we will:
- Launch the Back to Work program, created to match female architects who have temporarily left the workforce with firms looking for contract design work.
- Heighten AIA’s work on K-12 outreach to minority students, working more closely with NOMA, the Atlanta Center for Creative Inquiry, and other groups through partnerships with minority schools.
- Finalize a new scholarship fund aimed at providing professional development and leadership opportunities to emerging professionals, especially female and minority members.
We invite AIA members belonging to the AAPI community to reach out and advise us on what further we can do as a profession to make their voices heard – and we want to listen.
With sadness but resolution,
Steve Stowers, AIA
President, AIA Georgia
Tracy Carusi, AIA
President, AIA Atlanta