With you, MHTN Architects stands in solidarity against systemic racism. We commit action in our day-to-day practice, voices, and simple human interactions to design and plan together to end institutional injustice and create real positive change. We’re listening and we’re committed to do our part in making a more just world.
June 5th, 2020
Current events in our nation warrant MHTN Architects to stand in solidarity against systemic racism. We live in a state that is a racial/cultural bubble, where only 1.5% of our community identifies as black, 81% as white, and only 17.5% other races. This fact makes positive impact a challenge, but it does not mean we are relegated to passively watch how others move the needle.
Sadly motivated by tragic events, today it is imperative that we pledge action in our day-to-day practice, voices, and simple human interactions to design and plan together to end institutional injustice and create positive real change. This is a moment for the design industry, as a whole, to commit to a better future, and for MHTN to join other national architecture firms in taking proactive steps to do so.
In expressing our solidarity, we must be sincere and respect what our peers at the National Organization of Minority Architects are saying:
“…architects who expressed solidarity need to back it up with action, according to the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) in its own statement this week. Founded in 1971 by 12 black architects in Detroit, the organization grew out of the Civil Rights era and has long been a resource for best practices in minimizing the effects of racism on the profession. There is no more authoritative voice than NOMA on how non-black architects should help.”
– from Dear White Architects, Be B.R.A.V.E. Not Sad. Love, NOMA, Metropolis Magazine
With this letter, we want to recommit and amplify MHTN’s Firm Value of Social & Environmental Responsibility: recognizing our connection to this world – its inhabitants and natural environment.
We are asking your support to follow through and improve our awareness and positive impact, tangibly, together. Here is what we have started:
- UU Community Partners Scholarship – MHTN was first in the field of architecture to support the University of Utah’s Community Partners Scholarship. The program pairs a student, in an underrepresented demographic, with a community mentor to ensure the completion of their degree. This enables a mentor relationship for someone who has few role models in their community. We are in our 6th year of this program. Support of and Cultural Lessons from North Carolina Central University -design and workshops to enable the possibility of their new Student Union at this HBCU.
- Diversity Advocates – Associate Principal Randy Knight is Co-Presenter at ACUI on Diversity in the Student Union.
- Design of the Meditation Space and Inclusive Restrooms at the University of Utah Olpin Union.
- Volunteers of America Homeless Youth Center- Design for empowerment of one of Salt Lake City’s underserved communities.
- 2019 introduction of United Way charity portal allowing each employee to individually select meaningful organizations for which they would like to donate.
- Women In Design – founded 2019 with the mission to recruit, retain, and advance women professionals in architecture and the design professions, and widen the broader inclusion discussion.
- Diversity and Inclusion – the 2020 MHTN Board of Directors is in the process of defining this role for the firm.
- Implicit Bias Training 2020 – MHTN will conduct this training when the right leader consultant is found.
- Pursue JUST Certification
It begins with awareness of ourselves and how we can flip problematic patterns, including our own passivity. We have work to do, we will report progress as we go – and this is just a start. Thank you for committing, MHTN, as we move forward.
Peggy A. McDonough Jan, AIA
Chad Nielsen, AIA