NCARB's Commitment to Combating Racism

In this time of deep pain across our country, the NCARB staff and leadership stand with all who seek a more just America, including African Americans present in the greater architecture community ranging from our licensing board members, our colleagues at the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA), and the greater practitioner community, to aspiring architects of color whether they be pre-college, attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities, studying elsewhere or already pursuing licensure while they work in firms. We condemn racism, and we mourn the loss of life due to instances of injustice and hatred.

Even as NCARB promotes a regulatory perspective, we see the results of a biased and imbalanced system in our own profession.  Here is how we at NCARB commit to combatting racism in our profession: 

  • Partnership with NOMA: In the past year, we have partnered with NOMA to conduct a joint survey regarding disparity on the path to licensure. We look forward to furthering our partnership with NOMA in the years ahead and supporting their efforts to combat racism and improve diversity in our profession.
  • NCARB Programs: NCARB is committed to evaluating our programs, including the Architectural Experience Program® (AXP®) and the Architect Registration Examination® (ARE®) to assess unconscious bias and disproportionate impediments on the path to licensure, especially for candidates who are Black or African American. Our resurgent emphasis on ethics and mentorship will further position our community to confront areas of neglect, insensitivity, and discrimination.
  • NCARB Leadership: In recent years, NCARB members, leaders, and other volunteers committed ourselves to encouraging greater diversity in our volunteer community. We renew this commitment as we work to ensure that our participants reflect the diverse communities we serve.
  • NCARB Staff: Our diverse staff also commits to deeper, sustainable internal work and external prioritization regarding the basic tenets of equity, diversity and inclusion.  We also commit to the pursuit of new approaches that will deploy our voice to impact our local, diverse DC community.

As we go about our work, interacting with our colleagues and our customers, a cloud hangs over us as Americans.  That cloud that has stained our nation since its inception—racism—is always there, ever present for many and something others too often choose to ignore. The protests in the streets borne out of a longing for peace and frustration with social norms that are clearly evil and bigoted are causing much reflection for those of us who live comfortably in our white privilege.  As allies against racism, we must confront the imperfect nature of our democracy, the disparate enforcement of justice based on the color of one’s skin, and the blindness that the privileged employ when it suits the situation. Let us each take time to speak truthfully and humbly with each other, about what is missing and what needs to change.    

Only through sustained attention can we turn this issue from unspoken to spoken so that all can hear, and all can own, and all can start—start to explore a higher ground in our attitudes and actions, and start to do the necessary work as co-workers, as neighbors, and as people. While we take the time to be introspective, we are redoubling our corporate priorities to further advance issues around diversity, equity and inclusion.

The best first thing we can do is access our own circles of influence. As an organization, we will continue to teach each other as we focus on our mission. The days can overwhelm, but demonstrating—and celebrating—outstanding character lifts all of us up.

Editors note: This page was updated on June 5.