In the past week, the reality of global inequity and systemic racism has served as a wakeup call for all of us. We have seen injustice so egregious, most recently with the killing of George Floyd, that it rocks the foundation of our society and compels us to stand up and act. Today, we commit to play a bigger role in effecting change.
To ensure that HKS better reflects society’s diversity, we will immediately increase our efforts and investment to create a more equitable, just and inclusive firm. Our Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) team led by its Director, Yiselle Santos Rivera, will guide these efforts and our executive leadership—beginning with our CEO—will support her with the resources needed to create meaningful, measurable change.
- We will increase the diversity of our Board of Directors
- We will promote more diverse candidates
- We will attract and retain a greater number of diverse design professionals
- We will increase our engagement and talent acquisition efforts with Historically Black Colleges and Universities
- We will increase our investment in firmwide education on unconscious bias and implicit bias
- We will fund NOMA (National Organization of Minority Architects) dues for all employees who would like to join
The diversity levels within design professions as a whole, and even within our own firm, are not where they need to be. Historically, design education and training have not been easily accessible to persons of color. We will increase our efforts and investment in identifying and removing the barriers that keep people from achieving their full potential. We have begun by hosting Virtual Career Days to draw attention to design careers within high school students. Additionally:
- We will work with our JEDI group to effect measurable change in underserved communities through our Citizen HKS program
- We will host a NOMA fellow this summer – and continue to do so annually
- We will fund our AIA Diversity Scholarship at a higher rate.
This year, we signed the UN Global Compact. In doing so, we pledged to collaborate with signatories and the United Nations to end extreme poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and protect our planet. We will focus our CitizenHKS programs on addressing Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.
We also stand with numerous professional organizations committed to justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI) practices. These include the National Organization of Minority Architects, the American Institute of Architects and the International Interior Design Association.
At its finest, architecture and design create community. Holistic, diverse, vibrant, eclectic community. Our best work comes from embracing diverse thought and perspectives. We recommit our firm to create healthier communities and a more equitable future. They are within our grasp if we intentionally and collectively stand up.
We will do more.