August 9, 2017
Greetings friends and family; I’m a little over 6 months into my position as NOMA President and I’ve seen progress for our organization. I’ve assisted The NOMA Foundation with the help of some our members (Richard Franklin NOMAC, AIA, Oswaldo Ortega NOMA, AIA and Prescott Reavis NOMA, AIA) put in place a process to streamline the dispersal of funds awarded through grants received by chapters. I’ve also seen interest in the revitalization of chapters in Birmingham, Orlando and long dormant Baltimore. The life blood of this organization is the health and growth of our chapters.
I’ve seen the world change and not always for the best. Issues that have been around since before I was born are now just as prevalent as they were 49 years ago. How do we deal with these problems as an organization? I tend to look for answers from within and lessons taught us to move forward. Architects are problem solvers by nature; however we alone cannot be a cure-all for the multitude of current injustices. NOMA’s relevancy amidst the continuing social issues is undeniable. The founders made it clear that NOMA would be the group that would stand up to discriminatory practices in the profession as it relates to getting an equal share of projects. The fact that the number of African American and indigenous natives of this country being involved in the practice is still minute after 40 plus years shows that the system is broken. How do we change this? We need to look no further than the educational system that continues to fail us at multiple levels with constant budget cuts. Programs like project Pipeline are doing their best to expose our students at younger ages in middle school. This is a viable tool to change numbers. But it doesn’t end there; ACT-SO and ACE mentoring pick up the slack in High school. NOMAS is that viable lifeline for our college students. This is where my journey began as a student at UIC. NOMA professional members reached out to me and molded the architect that I am today. Amos W. Hudson Jr., my father, and Wendell J. Campbell FAIA and NOMA Founder laid the path for me to follow to this point in my life. There are countless others that raised/supported me on this journey.
As a child there was a saying that it takes a village to raise a child. I wholly believe it to be true! Unfortunately it is not fully practiced anymore. I’m hoping to build relationships to make that happen. Revisiting existing MOU’s with groups like AIA, NCARB, USGBC can continue to help leverage our place of equity in this field in light of recent societal changes that we are all experiencing. Looking to reconnect with historic groups like the NAACP, EPA, APA (Planning in the Black community) and Urban League can help give us a voice in our own communities. There is a synergy that exists but is not fully leveraged. Looking at the current administration and their stance on the environment and our infrastructure it is inherently clear that these alliances must be created and groomed to help our communities strive in the near future. The engine to any community will be based on economic development, acknowledgement of our civil rights and the much needed environmental justices that are all under attack. Architects are the experts that can help tie all of these things together and move us forward.
Mentoring our future leaders is one of many things NOMA does well. We have many of our own solutions internally but improved execution will come with working partnerships. A goal of mine is to utilize the strengths and resources of NOMA to fully realize our strengths and objectives. The NOMA Foundations will be integral to the growth of NOMA programming. I am a witness to the NOMA Foundation successfully processing the largest donation to date for the I-NOMA Project Pipeline Summer Camp and programming.
It is my hope to eventually create an endowment in the name of the Founders to continue our mission to be a voice for the voiceless and underserved communities that we live in and represent. All of our members should have the opportunity to mentor and be mentored similar to my experiences. We are continuing a mentoring program for our non-licensed members; that was started in 2008. This group works with members on an electronic and physical interaction to support them down the path of licensure. Many of our past presidents serve as mentors and motivators to this group. This is considered a valued perk by our members. I want our younger members, who may feel that they don’t have adequate financial resources, to engage the existing membership and realize that NOMA is their career insurance policy. Since I’ve been a paid and active member of this prestigious organization I’ve always been cared for. You cannot easily survive this profession in its current construct and not need the support and guidance of a group like NOMA. At the same time NOMA needs new young members to step into leadership roles in chapters around the county. NOMA can fully meet its potential when all of our chapters are engaged. Past board members and chapter presidents Timothy Johnson – Orlando and Creig Hoskins – Birmingham are examples of maintaining viable chapters in the south region. When our Chapters are not active NOMA suffers. Baltimore is seeing a resurgence and is working to reestablish a professional chapter sorely missed in that region. Minneapolis-St. Paul and Cleveland are our newest chapters. These groups, again, will help us engage and support communities where no NOMA chapter previously existed. It is a privilege and honor to continue to serve our membership, which I consider my family, for the next two years and beyond. Thank you all for the opportunity to lead this organization into the future.