Commitment to Anti-Racism

Dear colleagues and friends,

We stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as the communities and organizers who are fighting racial injustice.

Reforming and restructuring law enforcement is essential—but can only be one part of the solution. The larger focus must be to dismantle the systemic racism that undergirds our nation’s history and touches all parts of our culture, institutions, economy and society.

During this time of national concern—and beyond—we believe all organizations, including SITU, must reflect on our values and take responsibility for building a racially equitable future. As a firm, we have not done enough to address these issues, and we are committing ourselves, now, to make this a top priority.

Over the past month, we have been reflecting on how SITU can meaningfully respond:

1. By publicly committing to fighting systemic racism.

We acknowledge our own complicity and inaction. We commit to deepening our understanding of the ways that systemic racism shapes our practice and our industry. Movements gain traction and wane, but to become an anti-racist organization, we must continue to keep equity at the forefront of our mission, values and work.

2. By supporting our staff.

We cannot ignore how recent events have affected our staff. We recognize the burden of being professionals and carrying on with “business as usual” amidst the palpable and violent antagonism against Black lives and the broader BLM movement.

We are seeking a range of ways to support our team—offering more flexibility so that staff members can protest and engage in political action; providing access to additional mental health services for the ongoing trauma; lending our supplies and opening our space as a resource for this movement.

3. By getting our house in order.

Architecture, design and construction are industries where people of color are dramatically underrepresented. Going forward—through a steering committee of SITU leadership and staff members—we must become a firm that dismantles this status quo. We will be redesigning:

- How we recruit, hire and promote staff members
- How we use our internship program to reach & equip people of color for careers in design & architecture
- How we choose vendors, suppliers and partners
- How we sustain and increase awareness of our nation’s Black community—through the holidays we participate in, the references we use and the voices we uplift

This is just the start.

4. By pivoting our work.

We have tools to help. Our research division has long worked on bringing accountability to police violence, excessive use-of-force and the abuse of power—but almost all of this work to date has focused on the international context.

We believe that we can be helpful by expanding this work, adding a focus to U.S. cities and protests. We are working to bring these tools to domestic legal and advocacy groups, to support their work and the thousands who are peacefully participating in protests across our nation.

In solidarity,

Aleksey, Basar and Brad