ASLA's 2019 Diversity Summit Report
Black Landscapes Matter
(LAM Interview with Kofi Boone, ASLA)
Connecticut ASLA acknowledges the significant gender and racial disparity among our chapter membership. At present, our community of practitioners is composed overwhelmingly of middle-aged, Caucasian men. Less than a third of our members are women; and just 3% are non-white. This is in contrast to the demographics of Connecticut as a whole, which is 51.2% female and 33.5% non-white.
We recognize that there are immense structural barriers to inclusive participation in our chapter and we are fully committed to breaking them down as soon as possible. As part of our Strategic Plan adopted in 2019, CTASLA developed an approach to support and encourage diversity that has several discrete actions to implement:
In 2020, we will be aggressively advertising our chapter scholarships to a wide range of nonprofit organizations across the state, particularly those serving diverse urban communities in Stamford, Bridgeport, New Haven, and Hartford.
Outcome: This effort was unfortunately disrupted by COVID-19. We are continuing to identify community partners to work with for next year.
Action #2: In reviewing scholarship applications, we will be more aware of privilege and implicit bias, and how our scholarship awards can support our goal of promoting diversity in the profession. Reviewers will be given training materials on unconscious bias prior to the application review period.
Outcome: We extended our application deadline by one month due to COVID-19 which resulted in a more diverse applicant pool being included.
In the coming year, we will have program topics and speakers that better reflect our state's demographics. Individuals planning the events will be asked to seek gender and racial parity in soliciting speakers and documenting their good-faith efforts to do so.
Outcome: We are adjusting our efforts to reflect our new webinar programs. We hope to use this different medium to reach different speakers and audiences.
CTASLA will work with Women in Landscape Architecture, the Black Landscape Architects Network, and other peer organizations to establish meaningful connections to practitioners here in Connecticut.
Outcome: We worked with The VELA Project to provide an article in our Spring 2020 issue of The Connecticut Landscape Architect. We plan to continue collecting data about participation of women in the profession as volunteer time is available.
Outcome: We are planning an engagement event with BlackLAN. Additionally, we are reaching out to chapter members to let them know how to join. To learn more about this vital community of landscape architecture professionals or sign up to receive the BlackLAN newsletter, contact BlackLAN at firstname.lastname@example.org.