In celebration of Black History Month, the AIANY WIA February committee meeting featured Katherine Williams, AIA, architect, writer, educator, curator and community organizer. After committee meeting announcements, Katherine shared her personal journey and exploration into the data of African-American and women architects when she was completing her licensure exams. Seeking to increase the number of architects who looked like herself led to her path of advocacy and work focused on visibility, networking, and support for those who are underrepresented in the profession.

Katherine’s presentation was filled with valuable statistics, not only about the past and current state of representation for black women in architecture, but, equally as important, the statistical measure of parity. Defining parity in quantifiable terms provides a measurable goal for the profession to work collectively toward. Katherine left us with a call to action to ask questions about the statistics in our firms. The statistics help us see where we are and chart the path to where we want to be. Simply put, we cannot fix what we cannot see.

The discussion that followed was candid and profound, highlighting how we each have a role to play in advocating for ourselves and others toward the goal of parity. Prospective employees were empowered to leverage their talent to share their interest in Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion with their prospective employers. Firm leaders were reminded to track the measure of representation in their firms and to reference these measures often, using them as a guide. Please reference Katherine’s presentation here to see the statistics. Please see link here for the February committee meeting agenda.

A huge thank you to Katherine for her inspiring presentation and to all of you who attended!