This summer, ASLA will inaugurate an effort to tackle the
stubborn issue of the lack of diversity among landscape architecture
professionals. In particular, African Americans and Latinos are seriously
underrepresented in the field and have remained so despite the best efforts of
concerned landscape architects and educators.
To better understand why this persists and how the tide might be turned, ASLA will convene a Diversity Summit July 12–14 in Alexandria, Virginia.
The goal of this gathering of minds is to identify
real-world obstacles and opportunities as experienced by those who have
overcome them: African American and Latino practitioners with three to five
years of experience. They have navigated the issues of awareness, study,
employment, and sometimes licensure to become valued members of the profession.
In sharing their stories, we hope to map some actionable tactics to help knock
down some of the barriers. Following the summit, participants will act as an
advisory group as ASLA tests their ideas.
We need your help in identifying potential participants. We
are hoping you will submit candidates’ names and, if possible, résumés for
consideration, or you can urge your colleagues to nominate themselves. The
attendees should represent a variety of backgrounds, but we are particularly
interested in those who came new to the profession on nontraditional paths. We intend
to keep the education community apprised of everything we do, but at this time
we are not including students in the mix. As this first year is a beta test of
sorts, and the size of the event will be limited, we may not be able to accept
all nominations. However, all submitted candidates will be kept apprised
through the year of actions and, hopefully, outcomes.
You can submit candidate names, résumés, and contact
information to ASLA Director Terry Poltrack at firstname.lastname@example.org. As mentioned,
candidates ideally will be African American or Latino, three to five years into
practice, and valued colleagues who have unique perspectives to share. The summit
will be facilitated by Juanita Shearer-Swink, FASLA, but this will be the
attendees’ meeting. They will share their perspectives and ideas with us. We
are there to learn.
Thank you in advance for your time and consideration. If you
have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Terry. His phone is