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Michigan ASLA stands in solidarity with the Black community in the fight against systemic racism, racial injustices, and police violence against Black people in America. We denounce the racially motivated killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and Elijah McClain, as well as the countless other Black lives in our country. 

 

We recognize that we have not done enough to understand our role in the systemic oppression of Black people in our daily lives, as well as within our profession of landscape architecture.  As landscape architects, we are uniquely situated with the ability to affect change on a scale larger than most and our profession can play a critical role in reversing these trends.  We recognize our responsibility and acknowledge that Michigan ASLA has not done our part in affecting change, and look forward to working together to help ensure a better, more equitable future for all People of Color.

As an organization, we recognize that we have much work to do and that these problems will not be solved overnight.  As members of Michigan ASLA and the greater community, we commit to action and support by:

Listening and learning from Black people and People of Color and pledging to take action against racial inequality.

We admit that we have not done enough to educate ourselves about our conscious and subconscious biases as they pertain to race and our practice.  We are committed to educating ourselves and we encourage our members to do the same.  We have created this Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) webpage, which will serve as a working document dedicated to sharing educational resources, news, and events, and amplifying the voices and contributions of minority landscape architects and designers.

Evaluating and improving our programs to assure that they align with our goals as a chapter. 

We will incorporate diversity, equity, and inclusion into our existing programs, ensure DEI is a focus of the Michigan Conference on Landscape Architecture, and provide new opportunities and programs to our membership and the public.  We will also assess our student and professional awards program to incorporate social equity criteria.  Planning for upcoming programs is underway - details to come.

 

Establishing the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee to encourage, promote, and celebrate diversity, equity, and inclusion in our profession. 

The committee will focus on initiatives aimed at recruitment, retention, mentorship, training, outreach, events, and community discussions for our students, members, and communities.  The committee is active and seeking members.  If you would like to get involved, please contact co-chairs Kyle Verseman (member@michiganasla.org) and Stephanie Onwenu (associate@michiganasla.org).

Promoting landscape architecture to young Black people and People of Color. 

As a chapter, we recognize real change must start with our youth and we are committed to providing financial resources to help young Black people and People of Color to discover the profession.  We are organizing a scholarship program to increase diversity within our profession and to encourage underrepresented groups to pursue a career in landscape architecture and related fields.  More details to come.  If you would like to donate to the scholarship fund or have ideas for fundraisers, please contact Kyle Verseman and Stephanie Onwenu.

Assessing the demographics of our chapter and targeting diversity among our membership and leadership. 

We recognize the lack of diversity with our chapter, which we strive to improve by more broadly publicizing opportunities and specifically reaching out to potential candidates for committee roles and leadership positions.  In addition, we are exploring the potential for a new DEI leadership position on the Executive Committee.  

Words are not enough.  We need to hold ourselves accountable.  We encourage all members to join us in taking action both individually and in practice.  For more information on how to commit to making meaningful change, please continue to visit this site for updates or contact Kyle Verseman and Stephanie Onwenu.

 

BLACK LIVES MATTER.

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Missed our recent panel on design justice and community engagement?  Check out the video here.

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Suggestions from the Michigan ASLA Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee:    

Do you have resources you'd like to share?  Contact us at administrator@michiganasla.org.

DEI Committee Co-Chair and Member At-Large

Kyle Verseman

Landscape Forms, Ann Arbor

DEI Committee Co-Chair and Associate Member At-Large

Stephanie Onwenu

SmithGroup, Ann Arbor

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