Sarah Martinez, Bronze Medal Nominee (2016)

Reflection on “Equity”

Equity: Spark Action

The meaning of equity within a given society has not existed within a clearly defined, and consistent framework as proved throughout recent and distant history. What is perceived as equitable evolves as culture evolves. For example, it was once deemed equitable amongst a portion of society for men and women of color to be enslaved to those not of color. It was once deemed equitable amongst society to deny the man a place within the home and the women a place within the working field. In each case, a cultural revolution exploded within the society that cultivated leaders to redefine what they believed to be equitable. Equity is only as transformational as a society and its leaders dare to see it as reality. Once the dysfunction between morality and societal behaviors are realized, then the drive behind equity should spark action.

I believe that our moral compass drives equity; therefore, a moral responsibility should spark action amongst leaders in our society. It is incredibly clear that we are in the midst of a cultural revolution, specifically within the field of architecture. Even today, minorities are not consistently given equal opportunities, they are not always compensated justly, and are often marginalized within the workplace. So what does this call to action look like? It looks like students, both men and women, gathering at events like The Deborah Circle to talk about faith and equality in the workplace. It looks like groups such as the AIA’s Equity by Design Committee where leaders spearhead research amongst women and minorities in the architectural workplace. And it looks like hundreds of AIAS members gathered at conferences across our nation year round discussing what equity should imply to the current and future profession. Judson, the AIA, and AIAS are few of many circles who are initiating this conversation in an effort to root the field in the talents they so passionately wish to see impact our world.

Ultimately, equity strips society of a mentality filled with prejudice, and equips it with forward thinkers, visionaries, and, most importantly, doers. If the current generation of architecture students are the future of the profession, then our words, our actions, and our vision should be anchored in cultivating leaders who seek to facilitate change. By no means will change conclude “the answer” or an absolute solution to the problem; however, it will spark minds within the profession to recognize the value and the need for the women, the African Americans, the Latinos, the young, and the old. Only then does the conversation of equity truly gain power and momentum amongst not only leaders, but even amongst everyday participants within a society.

Exhibits of Coursework (click to expand)

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