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BCSLA Response to the Black Lives Matter and the Indigenous Solidarity Movement Updated: July 10, 2020

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

BCSLA’s Response to the Black Lives Matter and the Indigenous Solidarity Movement

 

We respectfully send you this message today to expand and enrich the dialogue between us.

 

North American landscapes have been historically, and continue to be, shaped by forces rooted in colonial systems of oppression. Here in BC, through the expanding interest and proactive persistence of many practicing landscape architects, some progress has been made towards understanding and making positive changes to these systems, while fully recognizing we have so much more to learn and achieve, working together.

 

In recent weeks, our membership has witnessed and experienced the outrage and impact of the brutal killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Regis Korchinski-Paquet, and Chantel Moore, alongside countless other forms of active hate and systemic violence transpiring across the continental landscape. These deaths are some of the many that have set our world in motion for a movement to have a global society that no longer idly accepts systemic mal-treatment of the Black community, the Indigenous community, and other marginalized peoples of colour. In recent months in BC, we have seen anti-Black, anti-Indigenous and anti-Asian racism occur in our communities, and the raw impact that is transforming society in front of all of us.

 

Amidst the movement, our design community is responding and continuing to express interest in connecting as professionals and across disciplines to understand where systemic racism issues exist in design, and how we can all work towards a more equitable future for everyone.

 

The BCSLA Board of Directors is engaging in on-going conversation, both internally and externally, to determine our actions moving forward. We at the BCSLA are committed to take action to support the membership in any way possible as a regulatory body. Between the BCSLA, CSLA, the academic community, public and private practice, and advocacy networks, we all have an important part to play in dismantling racism, colonialism, and discrimination within the field of landscape architecture and by extension the design community. What remains important right now is that we provide a platform for all bodies to intersect and communicate so that we are not duplicating, but rather completing a complementary series of actions and initiatives moving forward.

 

What we want the BCSLA membership and broader community to know is that we hear you and we are here to support members seeking to connect. We organized an introductory call with an organized voluntary group of members on June 22, 2020 to converse at a preliminary level the development of initiatives with our Board. The next virtual meeting is scheduled for July 20, 2020 at 4:30 pm.   If you are interested in receiving email correspondence from members engaging at this time and/or if you would like to participate in this initial conversation, we invite you to contact Devon Francis, Member Services Coordinator ([email protected]) so she may copy you into a distribution list and GoToMeeting Invitation. These conversations will help to guide our steps moving forward.

 

Below you will find some preliminary resources for learning and engagement. The Board commits to doing our own learning as individuals while developing solidified actions for the Society going forward. We encourage you to engage in your own learning as well. 
 

The BCSLA has been distributing weekly Wednesday Webinar emails to our members and subscribers with free online video resources related to race, equity, and landscape architecture. If you do not receive these emails and would like to subscribe, please email [email protected].

 

If you are seeking literature at this time for further self-education, our members have identified the following links as current good sources, recognizing this will expand over time:

 

Anti-racism design resources

Design and justice resources

The Planner’s Beginner Guide to the #BlackLivesMatter Movement

ASLA’s webinar series on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

 

If you are seeking information on where to donate or engage with other community groups, the following organizations are good starting places for the opportunities that exist:

 

Black Lives Matter Vancouver

Hogan’s Alley Society

Pathways to Equity

Creative Reaction Lab

Design Justice

 

If you have any thoughts or comments you would like to share at this time, please address them to Executive Director Tara Culham, [email protected], and President Jacqueline Lowe, [email protected]. The BCSLA will continue to share updates regarding the steps we plan to take as a Society while we continue to learn and work together.

 

Thank you for your attention to this important statement.

 

Sincerely,

The BCSLA Board of Directors

Click to view background photo & credits
Project: Centennial Beach
Landscape Architect / Firm: eta landscape architecture
Location: Delta, BC
Photo Credit: Michael Sherman Photography