Public Announcements

 

President's Message Summer 2020

It is now well into summer 2020 and I hope you all are doing well in what are now trying times for everyone.

In this second message to Newark and Suburban membership I wish to address how things have changed since mid-March.

The Newark and Suburban section had its last face-to- face meeting in March shortly before the state shut everything down and we were thrust into what is now the new “normal”. The COVID-19 pandemic has put our state and our nation into the unknown with a virus that knows no race, age or gender and is merciless. So many have been affected by COVID-19 that most of us know of someone who has been affected by this virus.

The Newark and Suburban Board has been affected but has also made the commitment to be there for our membership. We are still holding board meetings via Zoom and also set up preliminary Zoom chats amongst the Board to discuss issues. We have begun rolling out as “Mini-Roundtables”, which, while size is limited, allow our membership to see and engage with one another to discuss current issues. We expect more to come--stay posted!

Newark and Suburban has cancelled most of its in-person general membership events for 2020. This section has followed suit with the state chapter and the national organization by cancelling or postponing events in the near future.  We are committed to maximizing whatever events can be digital and remote, whether that is Design Awards or Canstruction.  We have stood by our sponsors and have held webinars with Anderson and Pella. We welcomed new organizations such as, Loewen, with their recent  webinar. It is daunting as you have received multiple emails from various sources for webinars. We ask that you periodically check our website- www.aians.org , and look for our latest online events.

2020 has also been a year in which our country watched as a member of the Minneapolis Police Dept. took the life of George Floyd. This moment in history has ignited the discussion on race relations in our country and the ongoing problems of police brutality, and that we as a nation--The UNITED States of America-- stand by our name and show the world that we will not tolerate injustice.  We value each other not based on race but as  human beings. I thank the Board and the  members who have reached out to me describing how this moment in time has upset them and suggested what we should do about it. As an African American growing up in East Flatbush Brooklyn, NY, I have faced this problem head on – often blindsided by it  - and have been frustrated on what to do myself.

I thank my brothers and sisters of Newark and Suburban for standing up and thinking about what the next steps should be. I have been in discussion with AIA-NJ and we are looking to formulate initiatives to be inclusive. Our K-12 Program begun by John Fallon, AIA in the Newark public schools last year is a a good example. The membership will be updated as additional opportunities to participate develop.

I ask that, as we are all concerned about how we will come through these crises, you let us know how the Newark and Suburban section of AIA NJ can be here for you.

Stay safe and healthy. I look forward to seeing everyone in the near future.

Andrew E. Thompson, AIA, NOMA LEED AP BD+C 

[email protected]