Firm Commitments on Justice, Equity, Diversity, + Inclusion

02.20.22 | ABIGAIL SMITH, DASHA MIKIC, + ALICIA DRUMM | Social Justice

At William Rawn Associates, it is our professional responsibility to create safe, healthy and inclusive environments where all people can share common ground. As such, we condemn all forms of violence, discrimination, and racism. All too often we learn of a tragic event that compels us to reflect on the pervasiveness of xenophobia, stereotypical rhetoric, and institutional racism that impact large swaths of our fellow Americans. To address ongoing acts of discrimination, we acknowledge that we must take meaningful and sustainable action to support our community including those who have been recently targeted: Asians and Pacific Islanders, Black lives, people of Muslim and Jewish faiths, the Latinx community, Indigenous people, women, LGBTQ+ individuals, and immigrants. We commit to move beyond words into tangible actions.


OUR WORK

WRA commits to incorporate language in our General Conditions of Engagement so that every client and peer who engages our firm, understands our firm’s commitment to addressing racism, sexism, and inequality by designing spaces that value the open exchanges of ideas and beliefs.

In addition to revising our General Conditions of Engagement, our firm is utilizing the JUST Label as a means to initiate conversations about equity in the office across a broad spectrum of categories. We have also re-examined our Employee Handbook as a way to formalize more equitable and inclusive practices within our firm.

PHILANTHROPY

WRA commits, as an office, to donating annually to a cause that helps fight inequality and bias in our community.

In the winter of 2020, our firm made its first big charitable donation to the Greater Boston Food Bank to combat the food shortages experienced by thousands of Bostonians in the wake of COVID-19. With this donation as a precedent, we have committed to make an annual donation to an organization working directly in our community that lifts up those marginalized by social injustices.

In 2021, WRA donated to the Massachusetts Affordable Housing Alliance, an organization that helps break down barriers for first-generation home buyers and close the racial wealth gap.

EDUCATION

WRA commits to facilitate educational workshops for our entire staff focused on increasing racial literacy and fighting injustice. We have taken numerous steps to introduce firm-wide education.

We have partnered with YW Boston, a woman-led organization, to provide the firm with multiple educational workshops.

Our first workshop “Understanding Social Identities” had 100% participation. We are actively engaging in symposiums, webinars, and workshops that focus on bias, diversity, inclusion, and equity in and around the design field.

We have introduced a steering committee representing all levels of leadership, to identify ongoing education topics for discussion and partnerships. This committee is charged with developing educational programming centered on combating discrimination, exclusion, and traditional power dynamics.

ACTION

WRA commits to providing our employees with opportunities to volunteer within our communities in ways that provide positive solutions to systemic inequality.

WRA has pledged to provide staff with a paid day of service each year. In the fall of 2021, the firm volunteered with Habitat for Humanity in communities across Boston. In addition to volunteering, the firm provided a $7500 donation to the organization. We have also partnered with Boston Cares and the Charles River Conservancy.

Additionally, the Brookline High School Expansion project team has joined forces with the BHS Architecture Club to provide site tours of the new school buildings and a workshop focused on the design process for their new school to young prospective designers.

Our Volunteering Committee meets regularly to discuss more ways to positively impact our community through firm-sponsored action.

INCLUSION

WRA commits to building a diverse and inclusive firm that reflects the civic clients we serve through recruiting, retention, mentoring, and leadership by providing equitable opportunities for all our employees.Our commitment to expanding our recruitment scope has led to the firm reaching out to dozens of diverse universities and HBCUs from which it has not recruited before.