Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

We are committed to broadening equity, diversity, and inclusion to create a stronger profession

Racial Equity


The American Institute of Architects, as part of the global community, champions a culture of equity, diversity, and inclusion within the profession of architecture to create a better environment for all. Achieving this vision has a direct impact on the relevance of our profession and the world's prosperity, health, and future.

Where We Stand on Racial Injustice, Equity and Inclusion:

Harnessing the passion of our members and the broader design community, AIA National is taking steps to advance racial justice and equality in our organization, in our profession, and in our communities.

In addition to the recent release of the AIA National Board Statement on Systemic Racial Injustice, read more about AIA National's Racial Equity Initiative HERE.  Please also read AIA Michigan's President's Message: We have an opportunity to lead change.


AIA Grand Rapids Statement on Systemic Racial Injustice

To our Members,

Black lives matter.

AIA Grand Rapids stands in solidarity with the protests to end economic injustice, racial injustice, and police brutality against Black people. We adamantly reject systemic racism against Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, a deeply entrenched part of our nation’s history. It is unfortunate that change rarely occurs without tragedy; in the case of racial injustice, the list of tragedies is long! It is time to stand together for change. We at AIA Grand Rapids encourage everyone to advocate for justice. Raise children to love all. Look within ourselves to be better. Learn about other cultures and strive to understand. Be empathetic and courageous.

Many of us became architects out of a desire to create environments that would make peoples’ lives better, believing that if we dreamed big enough, we could effect change within the world through architecture. Equitable communities are foundational to a better world. As Sekou Cooke writes, “We must, instead, directly confront the realities of the environments we seek to manipulate. If these spaces do not become painfully real for us as designers, they will remain virtual play spaces in our minds, to be gutted and destroyed at will.” Architects love to talk, but now is a time to listen. Listen to marginalized voices and overlooked narratives. Listen to the pain in our streets and our cities. We must all be accountable for the past and find sustainable solutions of reform to eliminate racial injustice. The AIA Grand Rapids Board of Directors believes we must take responsibility and take action.

We invite our Members to join us in these commitments:

  • Listen - Listen to our colleagues with marginalized voices. Listen to stories of overlooked narratives and histories. Read about race and inequity and the built environment's role in injustice.
  • Learn - Learn from our community here in Grand Rapids and the community of minorities in architecture. Seek out organizations or virtual events focusing on justice and come ready to learn.
  • Join - Support the AIA Michigan Justice Equity Diversity Inclusion Committee formed earlier this year and consider joining it ourselves. Find a local organization or event focused on justice and reach out, attend, or join a virtual event.

2020 AIA Grand Rapids Board of Directors

Matthew Christie, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP - President

Megan Feenstra Wall, AIA - Vice President | President Elect

Patrick Brechting, AIA, NCARB - Secretary

Neale Bauman AIA, CCS, LEED AP - Treasurer

Andrew Eckert, AIA, ALA, NCARB, LEED AP - Past President

Jenny Waugh, Allied AIAGR - Public Relations Director

John Rizor, AIA, CDT - Membership Services Director

Gary Gerber, AIA - Continuing Education Director

Daniel Colella, AIA, NCARB, NAR - Sponsorship Director

Elizabeth Bovard Strong, Allied AIAGR - Professional Affiliates Director

Nathan Lohrer, Associate AIA - Associates Director

*Please note that any third-party resources are provided for informational purposes and represent the views of the respective organizations.*

Image credits

Racial Equity