If you attended Nashville Design Week last year, you will recall how impactful many programs were, as they focused on issues of equity and systemic racism in our city and the design professions.

Inspired by those discussions and the mandate that we all must do more to affect change, MZA’s Ana Smetana joined the AIA TN JE-DI (Justice, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion) committee. The group works on educating design professionals and the community on JE-DI issues, advocating for those who are in need, and empowering young people for success. 

“Our goal is to help identify and close any gaps of justice, equity, diversity and inclusion in our community and profession,” said Smetana. “For instance, our Wednesday Warrior subcommittee focuses on highlighting TN minority members of NOMA (National Organization of Minority Architects), NOMAS (Students) and/or AIA who have or are currently making a difference in their community.” The committee is also raising funds through grants and public fundraising events to help fund scholarships for minority students and organizations like NOMA Nashville Project Pipeline.

“I believe the work that AIA and NOMA are doing is crucial to our make a difference in our profession,” said Smetana. “After learning more about the impact that our profession has had in perpetuating systemic racism in our communities, I felt had to do something and get involved. Together we can help close that gap and make this world a better and more inclusive place for all.”

You can follow the efforts of the Wednesday Warrior subcommittee using #JEDIWednesdayWarrior.

Pictured above: Melody Gibson (Nashville Civic Design Center), Valarie Franklin, AIA (NOMA), and Ana Smetana (MZA)