Today, we remember George Floyd. One year ago, his murder sparked a movement in the fight for equality that reverberated around the world. The tragic loss of his life and many other Black lives left us heartbroken and showed us how much work we have to do to combat racism in our own industry. Over the past year, we doubled down on supporting grassroots organizations, mentoring and encouraging young Black architects and designers, and listening closely to the communities we work with.
Here is the progress we made this past year:
- As part of the AIA Large Firm Roundtable, we co-created and co-funded a scholarship in 2020 to support the professional development of two Black designers. The LFRT ARE scholarship covers the full cost of the designers’ Architectural Registration Examination, study materials, and Associate AIA membership.
- We put the finishing touches on a pilot mentorship program for Black students at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. In collaboration with Harvard’s African American Students Union, Perkins&Will design staff mentored Black GSD students, and those GSD students, in turn, mentored Black high school students. Read a recap of the pilot program.
- The Nagle-Johnson Family Fellowship from the Harvard Graduate School of Design, which was established three years ago by our Global Design Director Ralph Johnson and his wife Kathleen Nagle, provided financial aid to a Black student for the 2020-2021 academic year.
- Last October, we were a proud Platinum Sponsor of the NOMA Conference, which—although virtual—afforded us the opportunity to engage aspiring Black designers for future recruitment opportunities. This year, we will once again be a Platinum Sponsor.
- We hosted and moderated a globally live-streamed panel discussion on issues of race and equity in design. Then, we shared the key takeaways publicly. Our goal was to open people’s eyes and ears to difficult, but necessary, topics that affect us all.
- We made Juneteenth an official holiday for staff in the U.S. Juneteenth commemorates the end of slavery. Just as we celebrate American independence from England on July 4, so should we celebrate the emancipation of our fellow Black Americans on June 19.
- We authored and published, in collaboration with the AIA, a Best Practices Guide for establishing Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (J.E.D.I.) programs in the architecture profession. By creating a clear road map for architecture and design firms to follow, the industry can collectively make a difference.
Our thoughts are with George Floyd’s family and loved ones today as we honor his memory. At Perkins&Will, we will continue to do our part every day to design a more equitable and just world.